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Legal Options for Long-Term Disability Claims in Iowa

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Long-term Disability: A Multi-faceted Approach

Suffering a serious injury or developing a debilitating medical condition can change a person’s life forever. In most cases, they’ll face the prospect of growing medical bills — and this is often at a time when they can no longer work. This is why it’s important for these individuals to understand the legal options for long-term disability (LTD) claims in Iowa.

Fortunately, there are various options available. Certain individuals will qualify for benefits based on their employment or former military statuses. For the majority of those who have worked during their lives, Social Security Disability (SSD) can provide financial support when needed. Understanding what you qualify for can help expedite your LTD benefits.

Is Workers’ Compensation Relevant?

When someone is injured at work, their first thought often focuses on potential workers’ compensation benefits. However, it’s important to remember that such benefits are not the same as long-term disability. They can replace wages and cover medical care, but such benefits are available for most people injured on the job. This is true regardless of the severity of their condition.

It’s also worth noting that many people do not qualify for workers’ compensation benefits. For instance, some employers are not required to carry this type of insurance. In these cases, you may need to file a personal injury claim. Additionally, the increasing number of “gig workers” typically don’t qualify for such benefits either.

Put simply, even individuals injured in the course of doing their jobs may need to consider alternate avenues of financial assistance. In many instances, this will involve long-term disability insurance.

Employer Long-term Disability Insurance

For some people, long-term disability insurance provided by their employer is a valid option. These are policies that the worker pays into. The coverage is meant to provide financial support if a covered employee suffers a serious injury or medical condition. However, there is no specific set of rules — similar to government sponsored LTD programs — that providers must follow.

That’s because private long-term disability providers exercise a high level of control over their policies. They can specify who qualifies, when coverage begins, how long a person must miss work, and a variety of other factors. There are certain regulations, but insurers still have a high level of control. If you have an LTD policy through your employer, it’s important to read over your policy to understand your rights.

Unfortunately, people are often denied benefits for unexpected reasons. For instance, a policy may specifically exclude coverage for disabilities caused by pre-existing conditions, self-inflicted injuries, or specific occupational hazards. Failure to file a claim on time and non-compliance with policy requirements are also common reasons for denials. Fortunately, there are other options.

Social Security Disability Benefits

The Social Security Administration (SSA) also provides its own form of long-term disability benefits. You don’t have to sign up for a policy or even be employed to secure financial support in the form of Social Security Disability. This makes it one of the best legal options for long-term disability claims in Iowa.

However, this does not mean that everyone will qualify. The SSA has a stringent set of requirements that applicants must meet. To be eligible, the following must be true:

  • The applicant’s condition is on the SSA’s impairment listing
  • The applicant must be unable to perform their current or former jobs
  • The impairment must prevent applicants from securing other forms of gainful employment
  • The condition or impairment must last or be expected to last for one year or more

In addition to these requirements, applicants must have earned at least 40 work credits. These are earned over the years as a person pays into Social Security. Additionally, at least 20 of these credits must have been earned in the prior decade. This means that a person may qualify even if they’re unemployed, but they must have had a job in the past 10 years.

If you’ve been denied benefits, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you don’t qualify. People are wrongfully denied all the time, and filing an appeal can overturn this improper decision. Speak with an attorney to get a better understanding of your legal rights for long-term disability claims in Iowa.

Veterans Disability Benefits

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) also provides long-term disability payments. However, this is only available to former service members whose injuries are related to their service. Like other forms of LTD benefits, there are specific criteria these individuals must meet in order to qualify. The best part is that these benefits will not necessarily interfere with others.

For instance, securing veterans disability benefits will not disqualify you from SSD support. You can file for both and receive both. However, there are some government programs affected by VA benefits. For instance, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is based on a person’s income. This means VA benefits could reduce the amount of SSI benefits a person receives.

Clearly, these are complex issues. That’s why many people opt to work with an Iowa long-term disability attorney from the start.

Personal Injury Compensation

Unfortunately, many individuals do not qualify for any type of employer or government benefits. While SSDI is available for many Americans, it’s possible that someone’s injury or condition won’t be considered serious enough for Social Security benefits. A person may also not qualify due to work credit requirements. Fortunately, these individuals might still have options.

This is particularly true for those who suffered serious or catastrophic injuries due to negligence or other wrongful acts. In these situations, the person may be entitled to personal injury compensation. In fact, such compensation is often available even for those who do qualify for SSDI benefits. That’s why it’s so important to understand your legal rights.

At Cornell Injury Law, our dedicated legal team can assist with Social Security Disability and personal injury claims. Contact us at 319-219-2800 to schedule your free consult today.

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