The attorneys at Law Offices of Barbara B. Comerford handle legal matters in the areas of ERISA and individual long-term disability policies, Social Security Disability, New Jersey/New York public employee disability, and pensions. We also provide negligence case referrals.
It is our goal is to provide efficient, high-quality legal services to help meet your needs. We welcome the opportunity to talk with you and learn about your needs.
Long Term Disability and ERISA
We handle cases involving both employer-based disability plans and private disability insurance policies. Employees participating in qualifying employer-based disability plans are protected by a federal law known as the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA).
That law protects participants in the Disability Plan (some protections only pertain to Plans which have 100 or more participants) and violations of those protections can result in penalties against Plan fiduciaries and others charged with making decisions about your benefits.
Disability Insurance Plans have some consistent terms and others vary widely, even within the same employment setting. You are entitled to a copy of the policy under ERISA. You are also entitled to review the Insurance Company Claim file, including IME reports.
Disputes with employers and private long term disability insurance carriers are common. To know the extent of your rights and what basic actions to take when you suspect you may need to go out on disability, call or contact the Law Offices of Barbara B. Comerford online today.
Private Disability Insurance
What happens when you pay for benefits yourself, but the insurance company won’t pay you?
Believe it or not, you may have more protection when you purchase a private disability insurance policy without the “protection” of ERISA. Many states protect consumers against insidious insurance company practices by providing damages for actions taken in bad faith. Similar protections are not presently available under ERISA. If you have private disability insurance and your insurer has denied your claim, call or contact the Law Offices of Barbara B. Comerford online for a free consultation.
Social Security Disability and Supplemental Security Income
The Social Security Administration (SSA) administers two different disability benefits programs:
- Social Security Disability insurance program (SSD)
- Supplemental Security Income program (SSI)
Qualifying for SSD
As a general rule, to qualify for SSD you must have worked and paid FICA taxes in at least five of the last ten years before the onset of your disability. You must also provide proof of your disability. If you are deemed eligible for SSD benefits, you will be entitled to Medicare benefits 24 months after the onset of disability and following a waiting period.
Qualifying for SSI
To qualify for SSI, a welfare-based entitlement, you will need to establish indigency and satisfy the same medical proof requirements as for SSD. If you are deemed eligible for SSI benefits, you are entitled to Medicaid from the application date with no waiting period.
Evaluation of SSI and SSD Cases
Both SSI and SSD cases are evaluated by SSA under a five step Sequential Evaluation Process to determine an applicant’s eligibility for benefits. Under certain circumstances, you can qualify for both SSI and SSD.