It could be a car crash or cancer that negatively affects your health. Whether you suffer a head injury or have to undergo debilitating medical treatments, you may no longer be able to work. As a successful professional, your family has a standard of living that Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits simply would not maintain.
It is common for employers to offer supplemental disability benefits as part of their benefits package for professional employees. If your employer provides you with long-term disability insurance or partially covers the costs and allows you to buy into a policy, you will have more protection if you find yourself unable to work for an extended length of time.
There is a federal law that creates a system of accountability for such benefits.
What is ERISA?
The Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 is crucial federal protection for workers that rely on benefits provided by their employer. Obviously, it governs retirement benefits and pensions, but this law also applies to other financial benefits provided by a business to workers, including disability insurance coverage.
The company managing the benefits has a duty to the employees, and the workers who need those benefits have certain rights. Those rights include the option to appeal the denial of your benefits that you believe was unfair. You can also take action when someone managing such benefits breaches their fiduciary duty to the beneficiaries.
Long-term disability claims can be expensive
ERISA does impose stricter regulations on employer benefits and the companies that manage them, but issues can still arise when you make a claim. Although insurance companies have a legal obligation to operate their businesses in good faith, they make the most money when they don’t have to pay out major claims.
If the person managing your claim refuses to give you benefits or offers you far too little based on your needs and the coverage you have, you may need to appeal. Sometimes, these situations can lead to litigation.
ERISA helps provide a second layer of protection from financial misconduct by both employers and businesses that manage benefit programs, like long-term disability insurance. Learning more about ERISA long-term disability benefits can help you ensure an acceptable standard of living for yourself and your family when you suddenly find yourself unable to work due to medical reasons.