If you have a disability that's preventing you from working, long-term disability payments may help you stay afloat financially. However, you need to avoid making costly mistakes where the application process is concerned. Here are four steps that will help you avoid those costly mistakes.
1. Don't Postpone Filing
If you're unable to work, don't postpone filing for long term disability. The longer you wait to file a claim, the longer you'll wait for the approval. Not only that but the longer you wait to file that initial claim, the more likely it is that your application will be denied.
The insurance company may decide that your delay shows that your disability isn't as bad as you say it is. To avoid a denial, file an application for benefits as soon as your disability interferes with your ability to do your job.
2. Don't Start a New Job
There may be a delay between when you can no longer work and when your application is approved. During that time, you may have a difficult time making ends meet. It's important that you avoid taking on a new job.
The insurance company may decide that your ability to take on a new job means that you were able to perform the duties required for your previous job. If that's the case, they may deny your application for long-term disability benefits. If possible, don't start a new job -- even a part-time one -- while your application for long-term disability is being processed.
3. Don't Forget About Surveillance
While your application for disability benefits is being processed, you can't let your guard down -– even for a moment. You could be under surveillance by the insurance company. Most insurance companies utilize surveillance tactics as a way to determine eligibility for benefits.
Some of the surveillance tactics they may use include the following:
If you have social media accounts, the insurance company may watch them for signs that your disability isn't affecting you as much as you claim it is. For instance, they may watch for pictures of you participating in activities that you shouldn't be able to perform.
Insurance companies may also conduct a background investigation to see if you've filed previous disability claims, or if you have specific licenses that you could use for other business ventures.
If you venture out of the house while your application for long-term disability is pending, be prepared to be photographed. Insurance companies often employ private investigators to try and get pictures of applicants participating in activities that are precluded, such as carrying heavy loads.
4. Don't Proceed Without Legal Assistance
If a disability is preventing you from working, and you plan to file for long-term disability, don't proceed without legal assistance. The insurance company will be looking for any and all reasons to deny your claim. A long-term disability attorney can help level the playing field for you.