If you are receiving STD or LTD claims and your claim gets denied, you will usually have 180 days from the date you receive the denial letter in which to submit an appeal that includes all of your supporting documentation. If you miss that deadline, you will likely lose your right to claim those benefits permanently.
Many people wait too long to seek help with their appeal from an attorney. Some probably figure they can handle it on their own, some are in denial, and still others are just slow movers. No matter the reason for waiting to get help, the longer you wait, the harder it is for an attorney to give you advice, or even to agree to take your case. Sometimes, it may turn out you don’t need a lawyer. You may learn during an initial consultation that with just a few additional steps you can handle the appeal on your own. Or, you may learn that the matter is far more complicated than you expected, and legal help is well advised. The point is, don’t wait. Among the many things necessary to adequately support an appeal are medical records and letters from treating physicians. Doctors are extremely busy and so are their offices. It can take months to obtain copies of records and to reach your doctor to enlist his or her help in writing a response to the insurer’s medical reviews. Often, there are also other types of evidence needed to help support an appeal: New imaging diagnostics, updated physician vists and exam notes, Functional Capacity Evaluations, Vocational Assessments, Neuropsychological Testing. These records and tests take time, as do the reports that follow.
The longer you wait to enlist the help of an experienced ERISA attorney, the less time he or she will have to guide the process and help you to obtain this necessary documentation. Six months pass by very quickly, do not hesitate to seek counsel as soon as your benefits are denied. You’ll be glad you did.