When you are suffering from a debilitating medical condition and continue working, it can be hard to sufficiently do your job. Unfortunately, this can lead to being fired, or laid off. Once fired, it can be even harder to deal with your condition. Because of this, you may need to ask “Can I still file a long-term disability claim if I get terminated?” Below, we will discuss the steps you may need to take to improve your chances of disability insurance claim approval after your firing. Overall, working with a disability attorney can greatly increase your chances of getting approval.
You May Be Able to Get Disability Insurance If You Are Fired
You may be able to file a successful long-term disability claim, even if you are terminated or laid off. Unfortunately, there might be some significant obstacles in your path. Firstly, you will need to work with an attorney with experience in disability law. Then, you will need to prove that your disability began before your loss of coverage. But because you were continuing to work, it may be hard to prove that you were disabled enough. Below, we will discuss how you may be able to fight for your long-term disability coverage after you’ve been fired.
Proving That Your Disability Began Prior To Being Fired
The insurer may claim that you lost coverage on your last day of work. They may attempt to deny your claim out of the gate, without considering the medical information. But if you show that your disability began before you were fired, there may be hope for your claim. Generally, this can be a difficult task because you were still working at the time. Thankfully, your medical history can be helpful here.
A statement from your doctor that explains your condition and its progression over time can be incredibly helpful in providing legitimacy to your claim. It is likely that you are experiencing progressively worsening symptoms. Generally, if your doctor can show this, you could be eligible to receive approval.
Witness statements from friends, family, or former co-workers can be beneficial in building your case. While not as valuable as medical support, they can help build a narrative of your condition before your firing. They may also be able to discuss how your condition made it harder for you to continue working. Co-workers can also provide support regarding how your condition limits your capabilities in the workplace.
Declining Performance at Work Before Being Fired
If you can obtain progress reports or performance evaluations from your former employer, you may be able to show a decline in productivity as a result of your condition. Generally, these reports can show a decline in performance as your condition progresses, leading up to your firing.
Lastly, workplace accommodations may have helped you continue working as your condition progressed. A narrative that discusses workplace accommodations can be helpful in discussing how you were able to continue working at the time. This may include adjustments to your working hours or workspace, for example. These accommodations may have been recommended by your doctor and may have been discussed with the HR department. As such, there may be records of such accommodations with HR or your doctor’s notes.
If the Insurer Attacks the Legitimacy Of Your Claim
In order to combat your claim, the insurance company may attempt to attack its legitimacy. They may try to argue that your claim is not credible and that you are only seeking disability because of your lack of employment. This can be an easy route for them to take if your condition cannot be objectively verifiable via testing. For example, conditions such as anxiety, depression, or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Rather than pay out your claim, they will try to argue that you are faking it.
In order to address this, you will need medical evidence that supports your claim. Bolstering your claim with medical support can help legitimize your claim, and make it harder for them to dismiss your disability. Strong medical evidence may include:
- Clinical testing results
- Diagnostic testing results
- Imaging tests
- Lab reports
- Attending physician’s statements
- Pharmaceutical records of medication history
- Doctor’s notes from treatments
Your disability attorney can help you gather evidence to build your case. Depending on your condition, there may be other steps you can take to build legitimacy to your claim. Your attorney may recommend a Functional Capacity Evaluation (FCE) or a Neuropsychological Evaluation. These are tests that provide objective results to support the validity of your claim. They are good for supporting claims regarding physical and cognitive symptoms, respectively. For conditions with more subjective physical symptoms, such as pain and fatigue, an FCE can help. On the other hand, a neuropsychological evaluation can help provide evidence of cognitive deficits.
Being Fired and Your Severance Agreement
Unfortunately, your severance agreement can have a huge impact on whether you can receive disability benefits from your ERISA long-term disability plan, or other benefit plans. If the severance agreement includes termination of your long-term disability benefits, you may not have the ability to successfully file a claim.
Always read over documents carefully before signing them, A qualified disability attorney can look over severance agreements before you sign them, and may work to negotiate changes to help you protect your disability insurance benefits. Once you sign, there is nothing that can change within the document. Do not sign a severance agreement without first consulting with your attorney.