How Different Policies Determine If You Are Disabled Under ERISA

14 March 2017
 Categories: Law, Blog


A long-term-disability (LTD) policy is one in which you receive monthly disability benefits that are 50 to 80 percent of your previous earnings, and it is a type of Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) policy. This plan is either purchased by your employer or is purchased over the market. You will need to understand how the policy defines disability because this can affect whether you are able to collect benefits under a certain situation and how long you are able to collect benefits.

Disability For Any Occupation

To receive ERISA disability benefits with your LTD policy, you will need to know what is considered to be a definition of a disability. There are some policies that require that you be unable to perform the duties of any occupation. This is a problem if you have a job that has requirements that would lead to you being unable to perform your current job, but there may be other jobs that you would be able to perform. Therefore, it is important to look for work that you would be able to perform if the plan requires that you find a job that you are able to perform.

Disability For Your Current Occupation

Another situation is when disability is defined by you not being able to perform your own occupation substantially. Ask your employer about whether there are accommodations that can be made in order to allow you to perform the work. In some cases, there is simply nothing that will allow you to do your job and you can claim disability. 

To determine if you are able to perform your occupation substantially, one thing you can do is show that the disability you are suffering from is a part of the Social Security Disability's list of disabling conditions. These conditions are so severe that they always indicate that someone is disabled. Additionally, there are conditions that are not as severe and that would require a note from a doctor attesting to your inability to do your job as a result of the injury.

How Your Policy Might Change

When disability is defined as your inability to perform the work of your own job, the requirement may later change after 24 months to you losing the ability to perform any job. Under this circumstance, you may be expected to find more work at some point, and this may limit how long you are able to collect benefits. 

To learn more, contact a lawyer from a firm like Iler and Iler.