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Bolt Keenley Kim LLP
Representing Clients In
The San Francisco Bay Area
 
 
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Protect Your Disability Benefits When You Need Them Most

Disability benefits are often the main source of financial stability for the person who needs them. If your insurer denied or canceled your benefits, the financial stress you feel may already be severe.

Thankfully, the law provides important protections in these matters. At Bolt Keenley Kim LLP, our attorneys offer trusted guidance and personal attention throughout the process of asserting your interests.

The Causes Of Disability

We have helped clients who have dealt with a wide variety of medical conditions, including:

  • Fibromyalgia
  • HIV/AIDS
  • Chronic pain
  • Schizophrenia
  • Lyme disease
  • Early onset Alzheimer’s disease
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Multiple sclerosis

This list is far from exhaustive. Disability policies cover a large number of serious conditions. If you have questions about whether your insurance provider has wrongfully denied benefits in your health care case, please contact us.

The Role Of ERISA

Many disability benefits are governed by a federal law called the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, commonly known as ERISA. Among other things, ERISA establishes minimum requirements for voluntary short-term and long-term disability policies that are through a person’s employer, as well as procedures for what to do if your disability claim is denied.

Not every disability policy is covered by ERISA, so it’s important to consult an attorney when strategizing over a denied claim.

Short-Term Vs. Long-Term Disability

Insurance plans differ on the amount of time they will provide disability benefits. Policies tend to include short-term disability coverage, long-term disability coverage or both. Short-term policies typically cover a condition that keeps someone out of work for three to six months. Long-term disability benefits would apply after that, possibly extending until a person is of retirement age if the disabling condition is permanent.

Disability Insurance And Your Occupation

When it comes to disability insurance, especially disability for professionals, the term “disabled” is fairly nuanced. So-called “own occupation” policies will provide benefits if you are unable to perform your chosen occupation with reasonable continuity. Under this definition, an injury to your dominant hand would not be disabling for many professions, but if you were a surgeon, it certainly could be.

It is important to note that California has a specific, state-wide definition of what “own occupation” insurance should cover, regardless of the terms set forth in the actual policy. This overriding definition can be a key factor in claim determinations.

Disability policies also sometimes have “any occupation” provisions. These tend to set a higher bar, as they will not pay benefits unless the claimant can perform no occupation at all, not just their chosen profession. The surgeon in the scenario above might be expected to find other work under an “any occupation” policy, assuming it was reasonable.

SSDI: Parallel Claims

As part of the disability claims process for private insurance, most insurers require that you simultaneously apply for federal benefits as well. Our clients are typically engaged with both an ERISA claim and a Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) claim. Though SSDI is an essential element, our firm focuses on the ERISA portion of your benefits.

Dedicated And Experienced Professionals

Our lawyers have been helping clients protect their disability benefits for years, and we have significant experience. We know that each client’s situation is unique, which is why we only proceed once we have the full details in hand. The success of your claim may depend on a subtle legal distinction, which we need to prepare for. We know how critical these cases are, and we will defend your benefits tirelessly.

No matter what stage you are in with your claims process, it is never too late to get assistance. Protecting disability benefits is never easy, but we will be at your side from beginning to end.

Get Highly Skilled Representation

The key to success in a disability claim is a seasoned, dedicated legal team. Our lawyers focus on a small handful of cases to maximize the chance of a favorable outcome. These matters have incredible impact to those affected, and we treat them as such.

To discuss your situation, please contact our Berkeley office. You can reach us through our online contact form or by phone: 510-284-5662.