How Can An Experienced Social Security Disability Attorney Help Group Long Term Disability Claimants?
Group Long Term Disability insurance is often provided for employees of large companies. Applying for Social Security Disability is generally a requirement of the Group Long Term Disability insurance policies that employees receive, or are seeking.
If someone is receiving Social Security Disability benefits and also has a Group Long Term Disability insurance policy, the insurance company that provides the Group Long Term Disability policy can reduce the benefit amount it pays out by subtracting the amount of Social Security Disability a claimant is already receiving.
Because applying for Social Security Disability is required of most employees receiving Group Long Term Disability insurance, the group insurance companies try to expedite the application process by referring people to Social Security Disability law firms or non-attorney representatives. What the group insurance companies don’t tell you is that they repeatedly refer people to the same law firms and non-attorney representatives, thus creating a major conflict of interest. And unfortunately, most group disability insurance claimants don’t think to seek independent representation outside of these pre-determined referrals.
This conflict of interest is problematic for a number of reasons related to the relationship between Social Security Disability and Group Long Term Disability. The problems created by this relationship include: (1) It is nearly impossible for an insurance company to say that someone who is receiving Social Security Disability (and has therefore been found disabled by the SSA) is not disabled according to the group insurance policy. (2) For the same reasons, a group disability insurance company will likely be unable to cease paying group disability benefits to anyone already receiving them. The receipt of Social Security Disability is a major factor when courts review denials or terminations of long- term disability. (3) The denial of Social Security Disability negatively impacts a long-term disability insurance claim. If a Social Security Disability claimant loses his claim, a group disability carrier can much more easily deny or terminate benefits. Herein lies the heart of the conflict of interest that the Group Long Term Disability insurance companies create when they regularly refer people to the same set of law firms and non-attorney representatives.
So, the question is, who are these pre-selected Social Security Disability law firms and non-attorney representatives actually representing: the disabled claimant, or the referring group insurance company? Are these regular referrals a product of the great job the law firms and non-attorney representatives do on behalf of their claimants, or are they a form of mutual backscratching between the referring companies and their chosen firms and advocacy groups?
The fact that these questions even exist should be enough to convince disabled claimants to look outside their group insurance company’s referral for Social Security Disability representation. A disabled claimant needs a representative who will act on behalf of his or her best interests, not those of a referring insurance company.
In short, if you’re a group long-term disability claimant, do not blindly accept a referral from your group insurance company, which may have ulterior motives. The Constitution of the United States guarantees you the right to hire your own attorney. Exercise that right, and place your long-term disability and Social Security Disability benefits in the hands of an experienced professional who has your best interests at heart.