Benefits of a Virginia ERISA Lawyer

When you sustain an unexpected injury or become ill, looking to any short or long-term disability insurance coverage that you have available through your employer is a smart first step.

However, disability insurance policies can be complicated, difficult to read and understand and vary widely from one employer to the next. Oftentimes, you may be unsure whether you qualify for coverage or even how to apply. This situation is one in which you should consider the benefits of a Virginia ERISA lawyer. Reach out to an experienced ERISA attorney today and set up a consultation.

ERISA Basics

The Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA), 29 U.S.C. Chapter 18, is a federal law that governs short and long-term disability programs offered by some employers to their employees.

ERISA has a number of strict requirements that are not always employee-friendly, so getting the help you need from an experienced attorney to navigate the disability claims process can be essential to ensuring much-needed coverage.

Definitions of Disability under ERISA

ERISA does not require that disability insurance policies contain a standardized definition of disability. As a result, the definition of disability in one policy may be completely different in another policy. For example, some policies tie benefits to individuals’ ability to perform the task involved in their specific jobs, but other policies examine individuals’ ability to perform any type of work.

Some policies even change the definition of disability over time, first basing eligibility on individuals’ ability to perform their normal work, but after a certain time period has passed, basing eligibility on the ability to perform any sort of work.

These varying definitions illustrate one of the benefits of a Virginia ERISA attorney, in that individuals may need assistance meeting and understanding the required definitions of disability in their ERISA insurance policies.

Gathering relevant medical records to meet an insurance policy’s definition of disability is no small task. All too often, individuals may have a diagnosis that qualifies them for disability, but their medical records do not sufficiently reflect the facts supporting the diagnosis. In this situation, an ERISA attorney may be able to assist individuals by working with their healthcare providers to get them any disability benefits to which they are entitled.

Limits on Disability Benefits

ERISA-governed disability insurance policies also differ in their duration of coverage. Some policies cease coverage after a certain time period has passed, or after individuals have drawn a certain dollar amount in benefits. These policies routinely limit the amount of benefits available to a certain percentage of individuals’ salaries.

Furthermore, disability policies often contain elimination periods, meaning that individuals are ineligible to collect benefits for a certain length of time following the date that they became disabled.

These policies routinely contain offset provisions, which reduce benefits, often dollar-for-dollar, based on individuals’ receipt of other types of disability benefits, such as Social Security or worker’s compensation benefits.

For unwary consumers, these unexpected loopholes can result in significant periods of time with no benefit coverage, and even overpayments of benefits that individuals cannot afford to repay.

These situations also highlight the potential benefits of a Virginia ERISA lawyer, who can potentially work to enforce individuals’ rights under these policies and avoid ineligibility for benefits.

Consult an Experienced ERISA Attorney Today

Understanding the nuances of ERISA disability insurance policies is often essential to getting the benefits that you need to replace your income when you are unable to work on a temporary or permanent basis.

Since the process of filing a claim under these types of disability insurance policies is not always straightforward or self-explanatory, there many benefits of a Virginia ERISA lawyer.

Experienced legal counsel skilled in ERISA insurance benefits may be able to assist you through the application process and with any difficulties that you have along the way.