The Edge Series: What is Reasonable Accommodation?

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 want to help you understand what the term “reasonable accommodation” means in your disability policy.

To understand that term in your policy, you must realize the context. This term usually relates to a reason why your disability benefit is not paid or terminated. The policy may state that benefits will stop on the date you are able to perform the major duties of any occupation or your occupation on a full-time basis with reasonable accommodation.

That language tracks the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Under that Act, a reasonable accommodation is one that involves modifications or adjustments to the work environment, so a disabled individual can perform essential job functions. If there is an undue hardship on the employer, then that accommodation is not necessary.

One danger is whether the policy is referencing your employer or an employer in the national economy. Most often, it will be referencing what an employer in the national economy is willing to do, even if your employer could not do that.

Pay close attention to how your policy handles that matter, as it is important that the policy will be enforced as it was written.
This provision can make a significant difference as to whether you receive benefits. Most insureds with physical or mental conditions have already engaged in efforts to keep working. They have usually missed work days, or their performance has dropped. Finally, the insured or their boss comes to the conclusion that they cannot continue working in that occupation. Watch out for how the term is applied. Keep careful records of your absences and failure of work performance.

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.

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