Tag Archives: disability claim forms

How Long Does It Take to Get Benefits? – Part 2

In an ideal world, you’d receive a favorable decision and your first benefit check shortly after your policy’s elimination period is satisfied.  Unfortunately, even wholly legitimate claims get scrutinized, questioned, delayed, and in some cases, denied.  Below are a few common reasons benefit payments are delayed, particularly at the outset of a claim.

1. Improperly Completed/Partially Completed Forms

If your initial claim forms are missing information, unreadable, or incomplete, your insurer will likely issue additional forms for completion or use the missing information as an excuse to delay processing the claim.  This applies to both the forms that you are required to complete and sign and the forms the insurer gives you to give to your doctor to fill out, so it is important to follow up with your doctor and make sure that all of the necessary forms are completed and returned in a timely fashion.  If you do not carefully document your claim, and you do not promptly respond to requests for follow-up information, most insurers will delay making a claim decision until you provide them with the requested information.

2. Pending Requests for Information

At the outset of your claim, your insurer will require you to sign an authorization that allows them to request a wide range of information from a wide range of sources, including your doctors and employer.  Oftentimes, the insurer will request information from these other sources (without telling you) and then will delay making a decision on your claim if any of these requests remain pending.

This means that even if you provide the insurance company with everything they requested from you, there may be other information that the company is waiting that is holding up the claims decision.  Consequently, it’s important to ask the insurance company to find out if there are any pending requests, adn then follow up with your doctors, employers, etc. as needed to ensure that the information is provided.

It’s also important to keep tabs on the pending requests, to determine whether the scope of the insurer’s investigation is appropriate.  An experienced disability attorney can advise you on whether a particular request for information is warranted under the circumstances of your particular claim.

3. Failure to Schedule Medical Examinations/Interviews

When you file a disability claim, insurers will almost always require that you participate in a detailed interview and/or undergo an independent medical examination (IME).  While the stated point of these requests is to confirm or verify your disability, they can often be an attempt by your insurer to discredit your own doctor or medical records and generate fodder to deny your claim.  Depending on the nature of your condition, your insurer might also request other types of interviews or exams—such as a functional capacity evaluation (FCE) or neuropsychological evaluation.

Some claimants (mistakenly) believe that if they keep putting off these exams, then they’ll be able to avoid the exams.  However, most disability policies contain a provision that expressly requires the policyholder to submit to exams, and states that failure to do so is grounds for denying a claim or terminating benefits.  So if you put off these exams, it’s only going to delay the company’s claim decision, and possibly result in a claim denial.  However, keep in mind that going into a medical examination, IME, or interview unprepared can be just as bad for your claim, so it’s very important to prepare beforehand.  Once again, an experienced disability attorney can advise you regarding the proper scope of an interview or IME, and can also be present for the interview or IME, if desired.

 

Flagstaff Holds Disability Awareness Banquet

Flagstaff, Arizona’s City Commission on Disability Awareness held its annual banquet on October 22, 2010.  Music was provided by a Latin jazz band and an introduction was given by Dr. Katrina S. Rogers.  The Arizona Paralyzed Veterans of America were recognized for their contribution in improving the quality of life for veterans and citizens with disabilities.

Comitz & Beethe, disability insurance attorneys, refers its clients in Flagstaff to the The Flagstaff City Commission on Disability Awareness website, where the monthly meeting agenda and minutes from previous meetings are available:

http://www.flagstaff.az.gov/index.aspx?nid=1884

Tucson Candidates’ Forum on Disability Policy

On October 15, 2010 at the Tucson Marriott University Park, Secretary of State candidate Chris Deschene and 19 Southern Arizona state legislative district candidates participated in a forum on disability policy.

Peri Jude Radecic, the Executive Director of the Arizona Center for Disability law, said:

Persons with disabilities have been hard hit by recent state policy and budget decisions.  Voters want to know where candidates stand on critical issues faced by Arizonans with disabilities and we are delighted to see so many candidates reaching out to the disability community.

Further information about the 2010 Southern Arizona Candidate Forum on Disability Policy is available at www.azdisabilitylaw.org/voting.html, and information about resources provided by the Arizona Disability Advocacy Coalition are available at their website at www.azdac.org.

2010 Tempe Mayor’s Disability Award Winners Announced

The City of Tempe Commission on Disability Concerns, in partnership with the Tempe, Arizona Community Council has announced the winners of the 2010 Tempe Mayor’s Disability Awards.  The Tempe Community Council works in partnership with the City of Tempe, Arizona and community organizations to serve as a planner, advocate, and resource to improve the funding and policies affecting human services in Tempe, Arizona and the surrounding communities.

Among the individuals being honored at the 23rd Annual Tempe Mayor’s Disability Awards are:

Outstanding Student Employees:  Ashley Hutts, Al Castillo, Anthony Soto, Emanuel Ford, Kyle Christy, Jake Rinalo, Logan Baker and Tyler Hubbard.  These young people will be awarded with scholarships for their exceptional dedication and performance as part-employees or volunteers while participating in the Workbridge program at their high schools.

Outstanding Employee of the Year:  Valencia Grimes, a sales associate at Duty Free Americas in Sky Harbor Airport.  Ms. Grimes works over 30 hours a week despite having suffered a traumatic brain injury in a rollover car accident in 2008.

Outstanding Employer of the Year:  Arizona Cardinals, for exemplary employee relations and willingness to provide accessible workstations and accommodations to employees with disabilities.

Pride of the City Award:  Dr. William McMullen, a longtime supporter of The Centers for Habilitation.  Dr. Mullen has a daughter with a disability and supports her and others with disabilities by providing healthy interactions and education to the community.

This year’s award ceremony will be held on April 29, 2010 in Tempe, Arizona.