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Disabled man in wheelchair, Tampa Disability Attorneys

State & Private Disability FAQs »

Private Long Term Disability Cases: F.A.Q.S

1. If I am receiving Long Term Disability Insurance Benefits from an insurer, how will Social Security disability benefits affect my Long Term Disability benefits?

If you are approved for Social Security disability benefits, your disability payments from your Long Term Disability Insurer probably will be reduced by the amount you and any dependents receive under Social Security.  In other words, you will continue to receive the same total amount of monthly benefits, but the money will come from two sources.

Typically you will receive a large retroactive payment from Social Security shortly after your claim is approved.  Your Long Term Disability insurer considers this money essentially to be money that the Long Term Disability insurer advanced to you while you were awaiting Social Security’s decision.  Usually you must pay it back to the Long Term Disability insurer immediately after you receive it from the Social Security Administration.

While your disability benefits from the Long Term Disability carrier probably will be reduced once you are awarded SSDI, the Social Security Cost of Living increases will be yours to keep.  Over time, the value of those increases can be significant.  For example, an individual earning $50,000.00 a year who became disabled at age 40 and remained disabled until retirement would receive over $238,000 in additional benefits.  Ultimately, Social Security cost of living adjustment adds money to your pocket each year.

2. If I am receiving Long Term Disability benefits, how do I apply for Social Security benefits?

Go to the following websites and click on:

  • Social Security Online: www.ssa.gov
  • Office of Employment Support Programs – Information about work incentive programs: www.ssa.gov/work
  • Office of Disability – Comprehensive information about Social Security disability benefits programs: www.ssa.gov/disability/

3. If I have been found to be disabled by my Long Term Disability Carrier, what are my chances of receiving Social Security benefits?

Your chances are excellent.  More than 90 % of individuals receiving long term disability (LTD) benefits from some long term disability insurers are eventually awarded Social Security disability benefits.  However, Social Security initially denies more than 60 percent of the applications it receives.  But, it pays to be persistent – most of those applicants are awarded benefits through the appeals process.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Your initial application for benefits will be reviewed within three to four months.
  2. If your application is denied, you may request a Reconsideration.  This is a review by a different person at the Social Security Administration and it generally takes less than two months.
  3. If Social Security continues to deny your claim, you can appeal to an Administrative Law Judge.  Don’t be intimidated by this prospect.  Nearly 60 % of claimants who take this step are awarded benefits.
  4. Plus, you have 60 days to appeal any decisions, so do not wait.

4. Should I send Social Security a copy of the LTD Carrier’s medical evaluation and my treating physician’s monthly disability statements?

Yes.  These documents will show that you were at least unable to engage in your prior occupation, which is part of the battle in getting your social Security Disability benefits.

5. Do I need to hire a lawyer to help me through the LTD application process?

Beware if your long term disability case manager believes legal assistance is necessary. Even though your long term disability carrier may provide it, and may claim to pay for it, in general, we recommend retaining an attorney, especially if your case will be heard by an Administrative Law Judge. You should not hire anyone but an attorney who is a member of the Federal Bar and is certified by a United States Court of Appeals and the United States Supreme Court so that attorney can represent your interests all the way. Qualified attorneys are very reluctant to take on cases other attorneys or representatives have handled because of the Federal fee cap and having a share or split limited fees with unsuccessful or unqualified representatives or attorneys.