In New Jersey and around the country, employees rely on disability benefits to financially sustain them should they become injured or sick and unable to perform their duties at work. However, for many applicants, applying for disability benefits can take years to process, and they are often denied several times.
This can be especially true if you are applying for benefits under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, or ERISA, which establishes law to govern disability payments to employees. Here are a few things employees should know about ERISA.
Definition of disability
The way that your company’s plan defines types of disability can have a tremendous impact on how your case is treated. Plans with broader definitions are easier to work with while plans that have more precise definitions can make it more difficult for the employee to prove that their disability qualifies.
Use of surveillance
In some cases, insurance companies will hire a private investigator to watch someone who has applied for disability. If the investigator catches the employee performing activities that they should not be able to do based on their disability filing, the disability request will likely end there.
Are benefits taxable?
Your current disability payments may not be taxed if they are paid with after-tax dollars. However, if you paid your disability insurance with pre-tax dollars, you can be quite certain that your benefits will be taxed as you begin to take payments.
How much will you get?
If you are approved for disability benefits, you will not receive your whole salary each week. Instead, you will receive a percentage of your weekly income. That percentage will be determined by how your plan is written.
Since your disability approval will be decided by your company’s plan administrator, it is important that you understand every aspect of the application process. Consulting an experienced disability claims attorney may help to make filing a claim simpler and might increase your chances of winning your case.