Does ERISA Still Apply if I Leave My Employer but Maintain the Long-Term Disability Policy?

Does ERISA Still Apply if I Leave My Employer but Maintain the Long-Term Disability Policy?

Many long-term disability insurance policies and most of those covered by ERISA are available only through your place of employment. As a result, when you leave your place of employment, you typically will lose access to your long-term disability insurance coverage. While individual LTD policies are not usually dependent on your employment status, group LTD benefits governed by ERISA typically are not portable. This lack of portability is in contrast to some insurance coverage, such as the ability to maintain health insurance benefits from a specific period following separation from your employer under COBRA. Other types of insurance coverage, such as life insurance policies, also may be portable if you leave your employer, meaning that you can continue to pay the premiums and maintain the coverage.

The lack of portability of ERISA-governed LTD benefits can create significant hardships for individuals who are struggling to work despite their illness or injury. In many cases, disabled workers continue attempting to work, typically to maintain their income, their insurance coverage, and their access to other benefits, such as long-term disability benefits.

In other cases, challenges caused by their medical conditions can result in employees losing their jobs due to missing too many days of work as a result of illness or exhausting their ability to take both pain and unpaid leave. If an employer terminates an employee, then whether that employee would be entitled to long-term disability insurance benefits may depend on the date that they became disabled. If the employees became disabled before the employer fired them, then they arguably are entitled to coverage. Given the determination of some employees to continue working despite their medical conditions, a disability onset date can occur before the employees stopped working, whether voluntarily or involuntarily. On the other hand, if the employees’ date of disability did not occur until after their termination, then the insurer would be likely to deny coverage.

It can benefit you greatly to get legal advice about the most effective means of building and maintaining the most successful ERISA long-term disability claim possible. Bonnici Law Group provides skilled, aggressive legal representation regularly for individuals who are seeking long-term disability benefits under insurance policies governed by ERISA. Our priority is to represent your interests and protect your rights to the benefits that you deserve. Call us at 619-259-5199 and schedule an appointment to meet with us about your case today.

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