According to the Washington State Division of Vocational Rehabilitation’s Disability & DVR Statistics Report dated July 2017, 908,818 individuals with disabilities reside in Washington State, representing 12.9% of the State’s population. Between 2011 and 2015, the population of people with disabilities grew faster than the State’s overall population, 8.2% compared to 5.2%. Seattle is the most populated city in the state and home to many disabled individuals. Since most disabling conditions do not resolve quickly many of these individuals continue to live with conditions that prevent them from working.
In their time of need, many Washingtonians will turn to individual and group disability insurance benefits and Social Security Disability benefits to support themselves and their families. Unfortunately, most of those who apply for assistance will be denied the benefits they are entitled to. If your disability case has been denied or terminated then a Seattle disability lawyer at the Ortiz Law Firm is here to help. Our practice areas include long-term disability insurance and Social Security Disability Insurance for claimants in Seattle and throughout the state of Washington.
Seattle, WA Long Term Disability Claims
The experienced legal team at Ortiz Law Firm is familiar with the various tricks and tactics that Washington’s long-term disability insurance carriers use to avoid paying the benefits that they deserve. Led by Board Certified Disability Attorney Nick Ortiz, our lawyers focus primarily on wrongfully denied disability insurance claims. We assist claimants with long-term disability appeals and, when necessary, we will file a suit against the insurance company.
Despite the fact that the insurance companies have millions of dollars in resources at their disposal, the attorneys at Ortiz Law Firm do not fear a single one of them. If you’re ready to fight back against the insurance company then contact our office to schedule a consultation with attorney Nick Ortiz.
Long Term Disability, ERISA, and Disability Insurance Denials in Seattle
Disability law is complex, particularly if your case is governed by the federal law known as ERISA. When appealing a long-term disability denial, one of the first things you should do is determine whether your insurance policy is an individual disability policy or part of a group plan.
Appealing a Denial
If you are self-employed or you purchased a policy through an insurance agent or broker, it is likely that you have an individual disability policy. If so, it may not be necessary for you to file an appeal. If your claim for benefits was wrongfully denied, you may have the right to proceed with the litigation process. Individuals with an individual disability policy are often entitled to a more traditional litigation process, including a trial with a jury and the right to call witnesses to testify in support of your case.
However, the process is very different for those who are denied disability benefits under a group or employer-sponsored plan. These disability plans are typically governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). Under ERISA, you are required to file at least one administrative appeal. If your appeal was filed within the required time frame and denied, only then can you file a lawsuit.
Filing a Lawsuit
The litigation process for a claim governed by ERISA is very different from that of a claim filed under an individual disability policy. You do not have a right to a trial with a jury or the right to call witnesses. The judge reviewing your case will be limited to the documents contained in the administrative record and will refuse to consider any evidence related to your case that was not previously submitted as part of your initial application or administrative appeal. ERISA laws are extremely complex, and for that reason, we recommend that you consult with an attorney that has experience handling such cases.
Seattle Courts, Government, and Department of Insurance Information
Western District of Washington Case Summaries
This case was not handled by Ortiz Law Firm, but it is summarized to help you understand how these cases are considered in federal court.
Seattle, WA Social Security Disability Claims
Since Social Security is a federal program, claimants have always been able to work with Social Security Disability lawyers anywhere in the country, but the travel requirements made this impractical for many representatives. However, the Social Security Administration will soon be conducting hearings using the Microsoft Teams platform. This will make it easier than ever for SSDI and SSI attorneys to represent claimants across the country.
How We Can Help With Your Social Security Disability Case
Nick Ortiz is a Board Certified Social Security Disability lawyer ready to fight for the benefits you deserve. Although our office is based in Pensacola, Florida, we do represent SSDI claimants in Seattle, Tacoma, and throughout the state of Washington. We represent Social Security Disability (and some SSI claimants) and our services include:
Seattle, WA SSA Locations and Resources
Schedule a Free Case Evaluation with a Seattle Disability Lawyer
Call our office at (888) 321-8131 to schedule a free consultation and find out more about how we help disability claimants in Seattle and the surrounding area. We offer a free case evaluation if your long-term disability claim has been wrongfully denied or terminated, and if you have an SSDI claim at the initial, reconsideration, or hearing stage of the process.
You won’t pay any fees unless your case is successful. We offer a No Recovery, Zero Fee Guarantee – meaning we only get paid if you get paid! So there is no risk if you decide to hire an attorney to assist you with your disability case. You only have a limited time to appeal a denial, so call the Ortiz Law Firm today at (866) 853-4512 to schedule your free consultation.