Obtaining Your Disability Insurance Policy

Obtaining your disability insurance policy.

When you sign up for a disability insurance policy, you are usually given some information about your disability insurance benefits.  Many people don’t review their disability insurance policy, the same way most of us accept user agreements without ever reading them.  In fact, most people don’t even keep the policy and those of us who do keep it often don’t know where it is.  It’s a widespread phenomenon that can be a problem if you become disabled.


Where do I obtain my disability insurance policy?

We often hear people say they have asked the insurance company for their policy without getting one.    Sometimes that works, but many times the insurance company won’t provide the policy. What’s going on?  As strange as it sounds, the federal statute that governs most disability insurance cases, the ERISA (Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974) statute places the burden of providing you with copies of your disability insurance Summary Plan Description not on the insurer, but on your employer (assuming your employer is the ERISA plan administrator, as almost all are, and that you don’t work for a church or the government, which are exempt from ERISA).


How do I obtain my disability insurance policy?

If the insurance company won’t provide you with a copy of your policy, the best method for obtaining your disability insurance plan documents is by requesting your ERISA plan documents for your long-term disability insurance from your employer’s national human resources department.  Since your employer establishes the employee benefit plan, it is the employer who is generally the ERISA plan administrator responsible for providing employees with access to copies of the plan document.  ERISA plan administrators can actually be subject to a substantial fine (not automatic, it has to be awarded by a judge) for not timely providing ERISA plan documents upon request, so you will want to send your request by certified mail or fax so it will generate a fax confirmation to document your request.  This tends to make ERISA plan administrators responsive to requests for ERISA plan documents.


Who should obtain their policy?

So who should obtain a copy of their policy?  If you are paying for a disability insurance policy, it’s a good idea to have a copy of the policy (or plan documents) where you can access it.  Even if you aren’t applying for disability benefits right now, it pays to obtain a copy of your policy and keep it where you can find it if you need it in the future.  If you ever need to contact a disability insurance attorney, the attorney can evaluate your case better and faster if you already have your policy in hand.  Now, if you don’t have to have your policy in hand before reaching out to us, that’s okay.  We often sign clients after a case evaluation without having their policy at the beginning and obtain their plan documents after we sign the client.


If you have a disability insurance policy that has been denied, call us to see if we can help.  813-839-2000