You can still have a life that involves traveling when you have a long term disability. The disability insurance companies may not like it, but being on long term disability doesn’t mean you are on house arrest. Traveling can be a little more complicated when you are receiving disability payments, but it is do-able with a bit of additional planning. Here is a helpful do and don’t list to help you if you are thinking about traveling while on long term disability.
The Do’s of Traveling on Long Term Disability
#1 Do Check Your Policy First
The first thing you should do is review your long term disability policy, specifically looking for what the guidelines are for you to take a vacation. This will also depend on the type of vacation you intend to take. Some policies prohibit travel outside the country, even prohibiting cruises or travel to neighboring countries like Canada and Mexico.
#2 Do Request Clearance From Your Doctor
Let the doctors that are treating you know that you plan to take a trip and request clearance. It is never a good idea to travel without the consent of your doctor. Remember to get permission from all of your doctors, including therapists that may be performing physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy. These services are a part of your treatment plan, so be sure they are aware and give you clearance.
#3 Do Make Sure You Have Plenty of Medications and Assistive Devices
Along the same lines as getting permission from the doctor, you need to make sure that you have plenty of your medications and bring any assistive devices that you have been prescribed to aid with your disability. When traveling, you never know what may happen, so be prepared for anything.
#4 Do Make Sure You Have Completed All Paperwork Before You Leave
If you have paperwork that needs to be completed before you leave for vacation, send everything to the insurance company before you go. The disability law that applies to most long term disability claims has very strict guidelines about turning in paperwork on time. Just as they hold the insurance companies accountable for late notices to you, they will hold you accountable if you miss a deadline because you were out of town. Missing deadlines will most likely cause your claim to be derailed or benefits canceled. Make sure you turn everything in before you leave.
#5 Do Keep A Journal During Your Trip
While on your trip, continue to write down your daily pain levels and symptoms in your journal. Vacations are a common way to help with your mental health but usually involve much more movement than your body is used to doing, which can cause more physical pain. On the other hand, the movement might be good for you. Just keep good notes in your journal.
The Don’ts of Traveling on Long Term Disability
#1 Don’t Trigger Surveillance
Please don’t call the insurance company and let them know you are going on vacation. This will most certainly trigger surveillance. If they don’t do surveillance, they may dig into your claim to see if you have made any mistakes. Remember, their goal is to see your claim denied or canceled. Unless your policy specifically tells you to notify them when you are traveling, don’t mention it.
#2 Don’t Cancel Appointments
Don’t cancel appointments. Never call the doctor’s office and cancel appointments so you can go out of town. Get clearance from your doctor first and set your next appointment dates after you return. Along with this, do not cancel appointments with therapists like physical therapists, occupational therapists, etc. If you are still receiving weekly treatment from them and they will not release you, it’s best not to travel until they will. They may be willing to allow you to travel between appointments, but check with them first.
#3 Don’t Post on Social Media
Posting on social media about your trip is a big no-no. Never give the insurance company anything they can use against you. Even if you are not on social media, ask your traveling companions or family members not to share pictures with you in them. The private investigators hired by the insurance company will search for your family members looking for photos or videos that they can use against you in court. Just like when you are going through the claims process, never give them the opportunity.
Consult an Attorney
Just because you are disabled and unable to work doesn’t mean you cannot enjoy your life. Traveling is great for your mental health. The insurance company would rather see you miserably stuck in your house all day. An experienced disability attorney knows how to handle insurance company bullying tactics.
The experienced disability attorneys at the Ortiz Law Firm have experience helping claimants defend their claims . They are familiar with insurance company policies and your rights as a claimant to travel. If your benefits have been denied or terminated due to traveling, call Ortiz Law Firm today at (888) 321-8131 for a free, no-obligation consultation.