ERISA Attorney on The Importance of Hiring a “Private” Social Security Disability Lawyer when you have Long-Term Disability Benefits
The Law Offices of Allan W. Ben P.C. has experienced attorneys who do both Social Security Disability and ERISA cases. Often when you are applying or receiving Long-Term Disability Benefits you are asked by the Plan administrator to apply for Social Security Disability. In fact the LTD Plan administrator will hire you a free attorney to help you apply of Social Security Disability and appeal your SSD case if necessary.
Why do you need a private Social Security Disability lawyer while your ERISA long term disability claim is pending? Most ERISA Long Term Disability plans require you to file for Social Security Disability (SSDI) benefits. This is because they can usually "offset" (subtract) any benefits you receive from Social Security from the amount of long term disability (LTD) benefits they must pay you dollar for dollar. This offset can often times significantly reduce, and in some cases wipe-out, all the LTD benefits they may owe you.
As a result, the ERISA insurance company (UNUM, Aetna, Cigna, Hartford, MetLife, etc.) has a major financial interest in you winning your Social Security Disability claim. Because of this huge financial incentive, most insurance companies have contracted with large national Social Security "advocacy firms" like Allsup (who are not lawyers) to help LTD beneficiaries apply for Social Security Disability.
The long term disability insurance company will often send you a letter telling you to work with these "free disability advocates" and will ask you to sign a "Social Security Reimbursement Contract" so that you will immediately give your past-due Social Security Disability money to them if you win your case. Essentially, these "advocacy" firms are nothing more than collection agencies for the insurance company! They work first and foremost for the insurance company, and are obligated to share all your private medical and financial records with the long term disability insurance company. They are anything but "free", especially if they cost you a termination of your long term disability benefits.
This can be very bad for you because certain private medical and financial evidence developed during the course of your Social Security Disability claim can hurt your chances of receiving ongoing long term disability benefits. A smart Social Security Disability lawyer will work with your Long Term Disability Attorney to coordinate both claims so that potential traps like this are avoided. The "National Advocacy" firms first priority is their long term relationship with the insurance company and making sure you return your retroactive Social Security Disability benefits into the pockets of the insurance carrier. You need someone who has an ethical duty to do what is solely best for you, not the insurance company, to protect your long term financial interests.