The COVID-19 pandemic has raised unprecedented questions about employment and long-term disability benefits. Although the CARES Act has put some safeguards into place for emergency sick leave and unemployment benefits, the legislation doesn’t really address some other concerns, like whether you are entitled to LTD benefits through your employer in various scenarios or if you even have access to those benefits if you have been furloughed or your hours have been reduced.
Typically, as long you are an “active employee,” you maintain your right to LTD benefits. However, if your hours fall below 30 hours per week or you are indefinitely furloughed, you would no longer be an active employee. In this situation, you may no longer have access to LTD benefits. To a large degree, it depends whether your employer and/or you continue to pay the necessary premiums to maintain disability coverage. Your LTD policy also may contain some exceptions that allow you to have coverage for at least part of the time that you are off work or no longer considered an active employee. Finally, some insurance companies have enacted internal policies extending coverage for furloughed workers during the pandemic, at least for a limited time.
On the other hand, if you are laid off from your job and your employer offers you a severance package, you should be aware that accepting the package may require you to forego any long-term disability claims that you might have. This can be a dangerous choice, particularly if you later develop a severe or progressive medical problem that makes you unable to work. In many cases, the value of your disability claim may be far greater than that of your severance package, so you may want to try and renegotiate your severance if it requires you to give up your right to long-term disability benefits.
Bonnici Law Group provides client-focused representation throughout the ERISA claims process. We are here to consider the evidence in support of your ERISA long-term disability claim and evaluate your application. Next, we can develop the most effective strategy for fighting any denials of coverage that you may receive. Allow us to handle your legal needs while you focus on your physical and emotional health. Contact the ERISA long-term disability attorneys of Bonnici Law Group at 619-259-5199 or email@example.com.