How do you make the decision to apply for benefits
Making the decision to apply for and to go on disability is often very difficult when the condition causing the disability is not acute, that is does not require an immediate application for benefits as for example the result of an accident. When you consider this prospect, you need to have several things in order before initiating the claim process with the HR department of the employer.
First, you should make sure that the doctor(s) that are treating the disabling condition agree that you are disabled due to that condition. If possible have the doctor(s) record the symptoms in the medical records, and also recommend that you stop working and you apply for disability.
Second, you need to know the date that you will go on disability. This is not always an easy date to determine. Even if you have a disabling condition, you can struggle through day to day. You are disabled when you finally decide that today is the day that you can no longer do the material duties of your job. This day should be chosen in the context of the policy terms. For example, if there is a preexisting condition issue, one would not want to go on disability until that clause has been satisfied.
Third, you need to have the finances in order as the claim process could last anywhere between six months to more than two years before a decision is finally reached.
Fourth, you need to decide if legal representation is required. For the initial claim process, the less sophisticated you are about such things and the more devastating the disease/symptoms you have, the more you should consider hiring an experienced ERISA attorney. If you are experienced with administrative type procedures and the cause of disability is acute, such as an accident, the more you may think about handling the initial claim process by yourself. For the appeal of any initial denial, you should always consider seeking the help of an experienced ERISA attorney.
You should call a reputable attorney experience in ERISA claims and discuss this further. This attorney should be able to tell you about the company involved, the type of disability condition you have together with the anticipated difficulty in proving the disability, the likelihood that you will successfully navigate the initial claim process and the attorney fees that would be charged in that situation. From this discussion you should a have a better feel for whether you want to try to file the initial claim.