Will My Employer Help Me with My Long Term Disabiity or ERISA Claim?
If your employer is self insured for short term disabiity, the money to pay you is coming from your employer’s pockets. If you have a good claim and were a good employee, you might be paid your short term disability benefits. I have had cases where the employer has overridden a short term diabiility administrator’s decision to deny benefits because the employer liked the employee. I have seen cases where just the opposite took place!
Rarely will an employer work with you so you can keep your job after you have become disabled. Your employer provided you with a disability policy to help you if you became disabled, but your employer did not promise you a job if you became disabled. So, don’t expect much from your employer.
Some employers will make an effort to help a disabled person return to work. If your attempt to return to work is not successful, you should document why you could not do the job and make sure your doctor comments in your records about your attempt and what problems you had. Don’t quit unless the doctor says you cannot do the job.
Give your employer that documentation and any other material you think shows you made a good faith effort to return to work. If you can get a co-employee or better yet, a supervisor to write out what they saw you do, how your job was changed to help you with your problems and what diffculites you had, that would help your claim.
The reality is that, at some point, you will either return to work or you won’t. If it is likely you won’t, you need to look for an alternative source of health insurance.
Your disability carrier will be talking with HR about your claim. If you don’t cooperate with your employer’s efforts to assist you in a return to work, the long term disability or ERISA carrier will know about it!
You may be set for a huge reduction in your disability benefits by being placed by your employer in a lower paying job before you stop working. Your disability benefit are paid based on the job you were doing at the time you placed the carrier on notice of your claim.
If you try to hold on by changing to a less demanding job at a lower pay, you may be changing your “own occupation” so that your disability benefits are paid based on the lower paying job and not the one you were really doing at the time you became disabled.
Your employer will also want to replace you or even eliminate your job depending on the finances of the busienss. You need to do what is in YOUR best interest and not your employer. After all, our employer is most likely not going to be paying your mortgage, car payment… you are… so think long and hard before you take a lower paying job with your employer.
Don’t be afraid to call contact an ERISA or long term disabiility lawyer like Nancy Cavey to give you advise about your options before you make a mistake the your employer won’t let you fix and one that could cost you your job or disability benefits.
Answering these broad-based questions isn’t easy. Help is a phone call away. You can contact Nancy Cavey, an experienced long-term disability attorney at 727-894-3188.