A long term disability lawyer specializes in helping his clients win or maintain their disability insurance claims. Such lawyers often advise clients as to their chances of receiving either government or private long term disability insurance benefits, protect their rights during the application process, and represent clients in administrative hearings or depositions. Disability lawyers sometimes work on a contingency basis, receiving compensation only if their client's benefit claims are approved.
In many countries, disability insurance provides ongoing income to individuals who become disabled and unable to work. In the United States, the disabled may receive public or private insurance benefits, depending on their personal circumstances and disability. Whether an individual applies for government-sponsored disability benefits or benefits provided through private insurance, she will need to establish that she is, in fact, disabled and that her disability makes it impossible for her to work. The standards for defining disability and determining whether an individual is able to work can vary considerably between public and private disability programs. A long term disability lawyer can review a client's situation and help her prepare a claim that is less likely to be rejected by those doing a case review for an insurer or government benefit program.
As many claims for disability insurance are initially rejected by both private insurers and government agencies, pursuing a claim can be an arduous task. While it is sometimes possible for a disabled individual to file his own application, this can be risky, particularly if the individual has to leave his job before applying for disability benefits. A long term disability lawyer can provide her client with a plan that can shorten the gap between leaving employment and beginning to receive benefits. If the claim is initially denied, the lawyer can then begin attempts to challenge the decision. For example, if the Social Security Administration in the United States denies a worker's claim for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), the applicant is entitled to a hearing at which his case can be presented by a long-term disability lawyer.
Some disability insurance providers continue to investigate a claimant's disability even after he is awarded benefits. Insurance companies will even go so far as to hire private investigators to follow claimants with video cameras, hoping to catch them in behavior that may refute their disability claims. As this sort of behavior can be intimidating to those receiving disability and there is a chance that the insurance company could suddenly begin to deny benefits, the services of a long term disability lawyer can be invaluable in ensuring that all evidence against a claimant is valid and in refuting any challenge to the claimant's disability status.