Good health means more than exercise, diet and preventive care. That’s because we’re all getting older, and as time passes, we’re more likely to sustain a disability of some sort. Left untreated by medical professionals, your disability could worsen and lead to further complications such as accident-related injuries and even death. We have many good options for coping with disabilities today and handling our daily life. If you’ve been disabled — or even if you haven’t been seriously disabled yet — keep in mind the following guidelines for filing a disability claim with an insurance provider.
First of all, you must carry disability insurance. This policy can come through your insurance plan at work or through Social Security. Social Security coverage will take the form of either Medicaid if you’re on Supplemental Security Income (SSI), or Medicare, if you’re retired or you’ve established disability before age 65 through Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). If you have the means, you also have the option of purchasing your own independent health care plan with disability benefits.
Don’t hesitate before filing your claim. Not only will your needed services be delayed due to processing time, but most disability insurance policies require that you report your claim within 20 to 30 days of the event that caused or revealed your disability. If you can’t find the filing date requirements in your plan documentation, contact your insurance provider and ask.
Once the claim process gets underway, each step will also carry a deadline. Your insurance company will send you paperwork, either through the mail or online, for you to fill out and also for you to pass along to your doctor. On each form, you will find a deadline for returning upon completion. Be sure to follow-up with your doctors to make sure they’ve completed and returned these forms in a timely manner.
If you’re working and receiving insurance through your employer, you’ll need to fill out a proof of earnings statement and return it along with supporting documentation such as bank statements, tax returns and pay stubs. You’ll need to take into account all sources of income, including such things as child support and veterans’ benefits.
Consult with your doctor to establish proof of your injury or disability. Your insurance company will require this proof before they can complete your claim and begin paying out. Again, doctors tend to be busy people, so make sure you follow-up on this process to get these forms back to your insurer promptly.
Make copies of all the forms and documentation you and your doctor send your insurance company, document your communications with them and save all the communications you receive. Since continued care is often required to properly treat disabilities, this paperwork could become crucial if your claim ever comes into question in the future.
For information, check out these tips for completing long-term disability claim update forms. Going through this process can be nerve-wracking, especially if your health is suffering. When working through all the forms, keep in mind that you can always request extensions to deadlines, and be sure to get their approval in writing.