Question: “My job is saying I must resign since I am filing for long term disability and do not plan to return to work. Should I consider resigning due to a disability?”
The simple answer is most likely “no.” In fact, if you resign, you will lose your long-term disability benefits altogether. Except for very few employers, a resignation means that you will lose your case and no attorney can reverse a voluntary resignation. So how do you handle it when your HR department asks for a resignation?
Resigning Due to a Disability
When you resign from your position, you no longer work for that company. That means you are no longer entitled to your benefits, including short and long-term disability. Resignation is an action that even the best attorneys cannot get reversed in court. Except for a few companies, the best thing to do is NOT to resign. If your human resources department is pushing you for a letter of resignation, ask them for a copy of the policy regarding the inability to work and resignation requirements. Most companies do not require a resignation if you are not working due to a disability.
It is also important to mention that you cannot determine that you can no longer work. A licensed doctor has to be the one to make that call and provide you with a medical assessment as evidence to give to your employer and insurance companies.
If you do need to resign, do not sign any prepared forms that human resources gives you. How you word your resignation is crucial to your claim. For example, John Smith turned in a resignation letter stating, “ I, John Smith, am resigning because I can no longer work.” This type of resignation letter does not tell why John is quitting other than he can’t work. You need to state that you are resigning due to a disability.
A better resignation letter would say “I, John Smith, cannot continue to perform my duties because I am currently disabled. My doctor, Dr. Mayo, has placed me on medical restrictions and limitations that prevent me from returning to work indefinitely. I will be applying for short and long term disability benefits that I am entitled to as an employee. I have attached a copy of my doctor’s medical assessment of my condition.” This type of resignation letter will help you in case the insurance company tries to deny your claim due to your resignation.
You Stopped Working. Now What?
Now that you have resigned, or even if you have just stopped working under your doctor’s orders, you need to file for short or long-term disability benefits immediately. The process of being approved is long and can be tedious. Once your earned leave has been exhausted at work, you will not be receiving a paycheck anymore.
Should I Go Back to Work?
When your paychecks stop, and money gets tight, you may be tempted to go back to work even if you know you cannot perform all the duties. If you do this, you will have a hard time getting disability benefits. The insurance company will claim you are not really disabled if you keep working. Even if it’s not up to the standard the employer is requiring.
Dealing with Your HR Department
It is not uncommon for human resources departments to request that you complete forms or sign things that will not benefit you. Most of the human resource managers are not doing anything to hurt you intentionally; they are just using a standard guide that the disability insurance companies are sharing with them. Remember, the goal of the insurance company is to pay out as little as possible. And the HR department knows that their premiums will increase if they have a lot of claims. So playing along with the insurance company works in their favor too.
You do not have to sign anything right there in the office. You can take it home and review the language yourself, ask a friend to review it with you or ask an attorney to review it for you.
Consult an Attorney
If your claim is denied, most reputable long term disability attorneys will provide you with a free consultation. This can be done over the phone, and you can ask as many questions as you need to help get clarity on your next steps. The long term disability process is lengthy. Using an experienced long term disability attorney can help you navigate your claim faster and more efficiently than if you go at it alone.
Using an experienced disability attorney will help you protect yourself against the insurance company. The Ortiz Law Firm is based in Florida but represents claimants across the country.
Receive a free consultation by calling (888) 321-8131 with no obligation. We can help you to receive the Long-Term Disability Benefits you deserve.