If you have a disability insurance policy through your employer, chances are it is governed by a federal law called the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). This law sets the rules and procedures for filing and appealing disability claims, your rights as a beneficiary and remedies if your claim is denied.
When navigating the complex world of employee benefits and insurance, it’s important to separate fact from fiction. Unfortunately, several widespread myths surrounding ERISA claims can mislead you and hinder your ability to access the benefits you deserve. Below are some common misconceptions that you should be wary of.
A medical diagnosis entitles you to benefits
While receiving a medical diagnosis is an important step in making a claim under ERISA, it does not automatically guarantee benefits. ERISA requires meeting specific criteria and demonstrating a disability affecting your ability to work. In addition, each plan defines a disability in its own way, and your diagnosis may not meet the definition.
You must accept the insurance company’s decision
If your ERISA claim is denied, the decision is not final. You have the right to appeal the decision. Appeals typically involve submitting additional evidence, documents and arguments to support your case. It’s crucial to understand the specific appeals process outlined in your plan and to seek legal guidance to increase your chances of a successful outcome.
ERISA claims always end up in court
While litigation is a possibility in some cases, many ERISA claims can be resolved through negotiation, mediation or settlement discussions. Going to court is not always necessary, and alternative dispute resolution methods can often lead to favorable outcomes without the time, expense and stress of a trial.
ERISA claims are easy to handle on your own
Filing for benefits under ERISA is not a walk-in walk-out affair. The claims process involves legal complexities, strict deadlines and the need for thorough documentation. It can be challenging and overwhelming if you do not know what to expect.
Understanding the truth behind these ERISA claim myths is crucial for asserting your rights and pursuing the benefits you are entitled to. If you encounter challenges or denials, seek legal representation to guide you through the process, protect your interests and help you navigate the complexities of ERISA claims.