When I was declared perm disabled by SSA, my benefits were backdated to when I was covered by an LTD policy. I sold my business and my attorney never looked into collecting from LTD. He told me to contact the company. Its been a few years and I wouldnt know where to start.
After reading your question, I am a little confused by the facts. You indicated that your Social Security Disability was approved and you were found entitled to benefits when you were covered by an LTD policy. Did you receive LTD benefits at some time in the past? If you received benefits, and you failed to file an appeal, you would likely be well beyond the deadline for appealing at this time. If you never filed a claim, and your LTD policy is no longer effective, it is unlikely that you are still covered by the policy.
If you applied for LTD benefits, and filed an Administrative Appeal after being denied, it is possible that you may still be able to file a federal lawsuit, but it would depend on the terms of your policy and your State's Statute of Limitations for filing a contract claim.
Normally LTD claims are governed by the Federal ERISA statute (if this was a policy offered by your employer). I would suggest searching for an attorney that handles ERISA claims. However, even if there is a valid claim to still pursue your LTD benefits, the additional question is the benefit that you will be eligible for if you can prove your are indeed eligible.
If your LTD benefit was an employer offered benefit, it is likely that any amount you receive from Social Security, reduces your eligibility for LTD. Normally LTD policies have terms that indicate that you are required to apply for Social Security Disability, and if you are approved, you must repay any amount that you entitled to from Social Security Disability to the LTD company for up to the full amount of your LTD benefit for any months that you are eligible for both payments. There is normally a minimum benefit payable from your LTD company if your Social Security Disability amount is the same or higher than your LTD benefit. LTD companies also normally limit payment for mental health conditions to 2 years, and limit payments because you cannot perform your past work for 2 years. After 2 years, if you are disabled as a result of mental health, or you have the ability to perform any full-time work, your benefits are normally terminated.
If your LTD policy has these clauses in it, although it is possible that you may still have some rights to pursue a claim (if you were denied, properly appealed, and are still within your Federal Appeal deadline), there may not be a lot of money for you if you are successful. It is possible it could cost you more to pursue than you would ever receive.
I would recommend that you collect all relevant information and contact an attorney in your state that handles ERISA claims. It is important that you have a copy of your LTD policy, and any documentation that you have if you previously received benefits, or filed a claim and you were denied.
Social Security Lawyers
Contact an attorney familiar with disability law and employee benefits. Obtain a copy of your policy. the policy should have provisions regarding when notice of a claim should be provided. If it has been "a few years" it may be difficult to obtain benefits. Again, contacting an attorney as soon as possible is imperative.
Employee Benefits Lawyer
You need to obtain a copy of the Long Term Disability Plan. You indicate that you owned the business so if you don't have a copy, write to the insurance company. If it has been a few years since you sold the business, you may have a tough time collecting. Most policies require that you file your claim promptly, and even if filed late, usually there is a one year limitation from the onset of your disability. These are general considerations as there is no uniform policy. Speak with an attorney knowledgeable in disability and ERISA law.
Jonathan M. Feigenbaum
Look at your policy as to the claim filing deadline. If there are special circumstances, the carrier may be willing to reopen your claim.
Our firm is licensed to practice law in the State of Wisconsin and offers information on federal laws that may apply to residents of other states, however, we offer no advice as to the state laws outside of Wisconsin.