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The Edge Series – Part II: What is “Discretionary Authority Language?”

Posted by David P. Martin | Nov 01, 2022 | 0 Comments

The lawyers in our firm are focused on helping people with disability policies and ERISA claims. We want to give you the edge in understanding your policy. Today, we discuss Part II of what the term “discretionary authority” means in your disability policy. In Part I, we pointed out the unfairness of this term, so what can you do about it?

1. Consider purchasing a private disability policy in addition to your group policy, if you can afford that.

Private policies fall under state law.

2. Send an email or letter to your federal representatives and senators in Washington, D.C.

Tell them you want to see the law changed on discretionary authority. In May 2022, a bill (HR 7740 – The Employee & Retiree Access to Justice Act) was introduced in the House of Representatives, and a companion bill (S4219) was introduced in the Senate. These bills did not have enough support, so you can urge support for such bills in the future.

3. Contact your Governor, State Representative, and State Senator, and ask that discretionary authority clauses be outlawed in your state.

Twenty-four states have done this in one way or another.

4. Before we can get the law changed, be very careful and meticulous about the information you present to the insurance company.

  • Know exactly why you are disabled, drill down to the details, and look at what proves that. Look for inconsistencies in any of the information presented because the insurance company surely will. Try to weed out and eliminate inconsistencies.
  • You can also help yourself by obtaining your medical records before the insurance company does. Scrutinize them for any issues. Then, if you see a problem, talk to your doctor to clarify any problem.
  • Also, ask your doctor to let you look over any form that is to be filled out before it is provided to the insurance company. Look carefully at the form for any problems. Sometimes forms are unfair, such as only providing three levels of physical capacity, any of which means you can work a job. There should be a lesser option if you are unable to work at the lowest physical demand capacity.
  • Call an experienced ERISA attorney and long-term disability lawyer at The Martin Law Group, so we can help clarify or correct misconceptions or errors in the information considered during the claim process. After that, it may be too late.

Remember our ERISA attorneys and long-term disability lawyers are here to help if you run into problems. Contact us at the first sign of trouble with your disability claim.

About the Author

David P. Martin

Senior & Managing Attorney


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