Tennessee Residents – Get Assistance from Expert Long-Term Disability Insurance Lawyers
While Abell & Capitan is not licensed to practice in Tennessee courts, our long-term disability lawyers assist disabled Tennessee citizens with ERISA-governed disability insurance claims. As discussed in more detail below, ERISA is federal law. If you have a claim that is governed by Tennessee law, please contact a local attorney licensed to practice law in your state to assist you with that matter.
Facing a non-work-related injury or illness can threaten your financial stability. Let Abell & Capitan Law, your experienced long-term disability insurance lawyers, guide you through the application process of disability insurance via your employer’s ERISA-governed policy. Be aware that this process is complex, with insurance companies often attempting to minimize or deny benefits owed.
Differences between LTD Insurance and Workers’ Compensation
The main difference between long-term disability and workers’ compensation is that LTD benefits provide a partial-wage replacement for someone who becomes injured while doing something unrelated to their work, while workers’ comp is for job-related injuries and illnesses. If you are injured at work, you may still be able to apply for disability insurance benefits depending on the specific language contained in your policy. However, if you are eligible for both types of benefits, LTD benefits are usually offset by any benefits received through the workers’ comp claim.
Both insurance policies can come from your employer; however, not all businesses in Tennessee have a legal obligation to provide long-term disability to their employees. If your employer does not offer LTD insurance, you may have purchased your own individual disability plan and paid the monthly premium. It is also possible to have a policy you purchased yourself and one provided through your employment relationship. If you sustain an injury or get sick, you’ll be able to collect benefits based on your policy type. The attorneys at Abell & Capitan can help you understand the options available to you and are well-equipped to help you navigate these complex issues.
Long-Term Disability Laws in Tennessee
At the intersection of federal and state regulations concerning disability benefits lies the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). Established in 1974, ERISA is a federal law governing most private industry pension and health plans, including long-term disability insurance plans.
A key feature of ERISA is its “pre-emption” power, a principle signaling that ERISA’s regulations take precedence over state-specific rules, even those crafted by Tennessee lawmakers. This ensures that individuals across the U.S., whether from the Smoky Mountains or sunny California, are under a consistent set of standards when it comes to long-term disability insurance.
Eligibility Requirements for Long-Term Disability in Tennessee
In Tennessee, as in other states, the insurance companies are generally the ones who set the eligibility rules for long-term disability. This is because employers and government agencies can select their preferred insurers, and these insurance giants establish their own eligibility requirements.
While eligibility criteria differ across insurance providers, a common thread exists: Most full-time employees are eligible to purchase a long-term disability policy if their employer offers them. So, if you’re a full-time worker in Tennessee and your employer offers long-term disability insurance, as long as you purchased or opted for the employer-provided long-term disability insurance, you can tap into those benefits should the need arise.
Tennessee’s Definition of Long-Term Disability
The term “long-term disability” might seem straightforward, but it has specific connotations when it comes to insurance policies and coverage in Tennessee. Typically, for insurers to classify an injury or illness as a long-term disability, it must be expected to keep you completely off work for a minimum of three to six months. For instance, 90 days is the minimum waiting period for Tennessee public employees. Some insurers stretch this timeframe even further, requiring the disability to last for at least a year before recognizing it as “long-term.”
However, some insurance providers make exceptions for terminal health conditions. In such cases, they’ll provide benefits even if the condition might not span the stipulated extended period.
It’s also essential to be aware of exclusions, as insurers don’t cover certain disabilities. Some conditions commonly excluded from disability coverage include self-inflicted injuries, disabilities arising from riots or wars, and those resulting from criminal activities or substance abuse.
Long-Term Disability Benefits in Tennessee
Given the discretion employers and insurers have in shaping these policies, there can be considerable variation in the benefits offered. But while the specifics can differ, most policies include a handful of similar benefits, including:
- Replacement Income: These policies provide a significant portion of the disabled employee’s salary (typically between 50-70 percent), ensuring financial stability despite being unable to work.
- Cost of Living Adjustments (COLA): To account for inflation and rising living costs, some policies offer COLA, ensuring that benefits maintain their purchasing power over time.
- Waiver of Premium: Some insurers waive premium payments while the individual is receiving disability benefits.
Contact our ERISA Benefits Claims Experts
At Abell and Capitan Law, we comprehend the urgency of receiving LTD benefits. We work tirelessly to protect your rights and ensure fair treatment during the claims process. If you’re unable to work in Tennessee, call us at (267) 419-7888 for assistance with filing for benefits.