How old do you have to be to qualify for disability? You can be disabled at any age. Read this week's client story of a thirty-year-old pharmaceutical sales rep who faced a crippling on-the-job injury.
April had a good job working for a pharmaceutical company. It was a hard job. She was on her feet all day. She had to lift up to 50lbs whenever the job called for it. She handled her job's physical demands. She loved her job and did well. And, she was well compensated for her efforts.
One of her benefits was long-term disability insurance. She was glad she had the benefit, but never thought she would use it. But, one day April had a work-related injury which led to surgery on her ankle. They also discovered that she had a severe lumbar condition. She was shocked to find herself unable to work. She was only 30 years old!
There were concerns as to whether April would be eligible for a long-term disability benefit and a worker's compensation benefit. However, her plan did not preclude a workers' compensation claim, so she was able to proceed with both. Her long-term disability benefit was approved. She eventually had lumbar surgery involving a decompression and also a laminectomy. She hoped she would get better and well enough to work. But she did not.
Not being able to work was a blow to April's pride. It also affected her financially. She managed to get by on 60% of what she used to make which was her long-term disability insurance benefit. She received it for about a year and a half. Then, the insurance company terminated her claim. She thought perhaps the company had made a mistake. Her ankle hurt too much for her to stay on her feet. And her back hurt to sit down all day. Besides, she didn't have any desk job skills.
Something had to change fast because her bills were racking up. She appealed the claim termination, thinking someone would realize that a mistake had been made. Her doctor provided a physical ability assessment form and a letter noting that she had ongoing physical problems that kept her from working her job or any full-time job. The insurance company denied her appeal. April appealed again. The insurer rendered its final decision. It refused to pay her claim and would not consider another appeal.
April contacted us. Often, it is too late to help a client once a final decision is rendered and the claim record is closed. However, after examining her claim record, we were able to find enough information to support a lawsuit. Fortunately, her case settled very quickly. April had been without income for about 10 months. It was hard enough being disabled when she was only 30, but the lack of income through no fault of her own was truly crippling.
April never thought this could happen to her. Most people don't, especially when they are 30 years old.
We are all one accident or one illness away from being disabled. It can happen to anyone at any time. Are you prepared? Are you covered? Do you know who to call for help when you need it?