How Long Does It Take to Get Disability Insurance Benefits?
If you are eligible for disability insurance benefits, you likely hope to receive your first check as soon as possible so you can pay your bills and provide for your family. Unfortunately, it is common for insurance companies to delay payments – both for valid and invalid reasons. If you are experiencing a delay with your insurance claim, consult with an attorney to find out if you are the victim of insurance bad faith.
What Happens During a Disability Insurance Claim Investigation?
There is no set timeline for a disability insurance claim. Each claim is unique and will take as long as is necessary for the insurance company to fully investigate the claim and make its decision. This could be a few weeks or a few months, depending on the case. During this time, the insurance company will conduct certain tasks to complete its disability insurance claim investigation:
- Hire an insurance claims adjuster to be in charge of the investigation.
- Review the initial disability insurance claim application.
- Request evidence from you, such as medical records and a statement from your doctor.
- Require your attendance at an independent medical examination.
- Determine your ability to work, if any.
- Assess your work history, experience and education.
- Meet with you for an in-person interview.
- Consult with qualified experts.
Federal and state laws control how long an insurance company has to investigate a claim and make a decision. The Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) states that for an initial claim, a disability insurance company has 45 days from the date it receives all required information and evidence to make a decision. However, the insurer can request two 30-day extensions, if necessary, giving the insurer a total of 105 days to investigate and decide.
What Is Insurance Bad Faith?
Insurance bad faith describes an insurance provider acting outside of its legal responsibility to treat a client fairly, honestly and in a good-faith attempt to resolve his or her claim. Many different acts or failures to act on the part of the insurance company can constitute bad faith.
Anything a prudent insurance provider would not reasonably have done during your disability claim in the same circumstances could be bad faith. If you are a victim of insurance bad faith, you could be eligible for financial compensation from the insurance company for its wrongful delay of your benefits.
When Does a Delay Constitute Bad Faith?
If the insurance company needs more time to investigate your disability insurance claim, it must officially request an extension in writing and give a valid reason. A valid reason describes special circumstances, such as the inability to access your medical records or a problem with the paperwork filed.
If the insurance company fails to explain its need for an extension in writing, it may be bad faith. If the reason the insurance company gives does not make sense, it may also be insurance bad faith. If the company says you have not submitted your documents, for example, but you know you have, this could be a red flag. In other cases, the insurance provider may have a justifiable reason to request an extension. You may need a lawyer to help you recognize the difference.
When to Get Help from an Insurance Bad Faith Lawyer
An insurance bad faith lawyer can help you go up against a disability insurance carrier in pursuit of financial compensation. Your lawyer will understand the true and fair value of your disability insurance claim, as well as how to identify insurance bad faith. This includes bad faith in the form of unfairly delaying your payout.
If your lawyer believes the insurance company is not treating you fairly, he or she can file a bad-faith claim against the company for additional compensation to penalize the insurer on your behalf. Speak to a disability insurance bad faith lawyer today for assistance with your insurance claim.