Oil and gas workers face significant hazards in their jobs, but long term disability insurance can be a valuable safety net. LTD benefits replace lost income for workers who cannot return to work for an extended time. However, the process of applying for these benefits can be challenging and complicated.
Careers in the Oil and Gas Industry
Short term disability and long term disability benefits are often included as part of a group employee benefits plans. Some of the careers in the oil and gas industry that may benefit from long term disability insurance include:
- Well testing operators
- Terminal operators
- Offshore technicians
- Oil field workers
- Rig managers
- Drilling, gas, petroleum, and pipeline engineers
Challenges in Long Term Disability Claims for Oil and Gas Workers
One of the first challenges is navigating the complex application process. Claimants must provide information about their work history, medical history, and current condition. Claimants must also provide documentation from healthcare providers and employers. This can be a daunting and time-consuming process, especially while dealing with the stress and financial strain of a disability.
Another challenge is meeting the medical requirements to be eligible for long-term disability benefits. Workers must prove that they are unable to work due to a condition that is not excluded by their insurance plan. This can be difficult for oil and gas workers, who may have pre-existing conditions from previous injuries. Depending on the disabling condition, claimants may also have difficulty proving the extent of their disability.
Additionally, insurance companies may try to deny or delay disability claims, even when claimant is clearly eligible for benefits. The insurance carrier’s goal is to maximize the number of claims that are denied. This can be frustrating and disheartening for those who are already struggling and may not have the resources to fight back.
In some cases, the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) complicates the situation even more. Most long term disability claims are governed by this federal law. If you have an ERISA LTD plan, you must follow specific rules and regulations when filing or appealing your claim. Failure to follow to meet these requirements can destroy your claim.
Building a Winning Claim
Here are some tips for building a strong long term disability claim:
Tip #1: Gather Strong Medical Evidence
Make sure your doctor is documenting your symptoms, pain levels, and any mental health side effects. Remember to gather documents from all doctors that are treating your disabling condition.
In addition to medical evidence, you will also need financial proof. Have your accounting records in good order so you can quickly answer any questions that arise.
Tip #2: Anticipate Surveillance
Many insurance companies will hire a private investigator to follow claimants, and it is completely legal. An investigator will stake out your house and take photos and videos of you. They may even go to your neighbors’ houses, asking questions about your daily activities. The insurer is hoping to turn up evidence that will disprove your claim.
Tip #3: Stay Off Social Media
There is a good chance that your social media accounts will be monitored by the claims investigator. We suggest staying off social media entirely until you return to work. The insurance investigator will try to use any information you share against you as well.
Tip #4: Do Not Try to Go Back to Work Too Fast
Resist the urge to go back to work too early, even if you are under pressure from the insurance carrier. Pushing yourself before you are ready could make matters worse. You could injure yourself more and risk losing your long-term disability case.
Representation by the Ortiz Law Firm
Applying for long term disability benefits can be a difficult and stressful process for workers in the oil and gas industries. However, it is important for claimants to understand their rights and options when it comes to long term disability claims. Support and guidance from qualified professionals can help you navigate the process and secure the benefits you need and deserve.
If your claim for disability insurance benefits has been wrongfully denied, we can help you get the benefits you deserve. We offer a free, no obligation case evaluation so you can discuss your case with an experienced long term disability attorney. Call (888) 321-8131 to schedule your free case evaluation today.