How to Appeal a Denied Long-Term Disability Claim Without Losing It

Long-term disability (LTD) insurance is crucial for financial stability when you’re unable to work due to a disability. Initial denials are common, but don’t lose hope. With careful preparation and perseverance, you can overturn the denial through a proper appeal process.

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Understanding the Basis for Denial

Review the Denial Letter: Carefully read the denial letter to understand the specific reasons for the denial. This letter typically outlines why your claim was denied and what evidence was deemed insufficient.

Common Reasons for Denial:

  • Condition not covered or considered pre-existing: Insurers often deny claims if they believe your condition existed before the policy started.
  • Insufficient disability duration: The disability period might not meet the policy requirements.
  • Lack of regular medical treatment: Regular visits to healthcare providers and adherence to treatment plans are crucial.
  • Failure to prove disability: Comprehensive medical evidence is required to substantiate your claim.
  • Incorrectly filed claim: Missing forms, incomplete information, or missed deadlines can lead to denial.

Managing the Appeals Process

Maintain detailed records of all communications with the insurance company. Cooperate with requests for Independent Medical Examinations (IMEs) while ensuring the evaluations are fair and unbiased. Clearly document and describe your job duties to establish how your disability prevents you from working. These steps are crucial for maintaining a strong appeal.

Legal Recourse Beyond Administrative Appeals

If administrative appeals are exhausted, consider filing a lawsuit in federal district court. If the district court ruling is unfavorable, further appeal options include taking your case to the federal appeals court. Professional legal guidance is often necessary to navigate these complex legal processes successfully. If you need any help with more information find here all there is to know.

Steps to Appeal an LTD Denial


Request a copy of your LTD insurance policy and summary plan description from your employer or insurer. These documents detail your coverage, the appeal process, and your rights under ERISA (Employee Retirement Income Security Act). Understanding these elements is crucial for a successful appeal.

Gather and Review Documentation

  • Denial Letter: Note the reasons for denial and any required information.
  • Claim File: Request a complete copy of your claim file from the insurer to understand their assessment.
  • Medical Records: Collect all relevant medical records. Ensure they are comprehensive and up-to-date, including notes from doctors, test results, and treatment plans.
  • Additional Evidence: Gather additional evidence like MRIs, CT scans, X-rays, blood tests, and letters from treating physicians to support your claim.

Stack the Record with Favorable Evidence

Submit all supporting information and documentation during the internal appeals process. Make sure the administrative record is complete, as federal courts usually refuse to consider new evidence not presented during the appeal. This step ensures that your appeal has the strongest possible basis.

Develop a Strategy

Identify any missing or insufficient documentation. Obtain written opinions from treating physicians and specialists who can provide detailed explanations of your condition. Collect non-medical evidence, such as testimonies from vocational experts and observations from family and friends, to bolster your claim.

Submit a Comprehensive Appeal

Adhere to the specific requirements and deadlines outlined in the denial letter. Ensure all required forms and documents are accurately completed and submitted. Consider requesting further objective tests if suggested by the insurance company to strengthen your appeal.

Consider Hiring an Experienced LTD Attorney


Legal representation can be beneficial, especially for ERISA-governed plans. An experienced attorney can strengthen your appeal with additional evidence and expert opinions. They understand the nuances of LTD claims and can navigate the complex legal landscape effectively.

The Bottom Line

Persistence and thorough preparation are key to appealing a denied LTD claim. Seeking professional legal help can greatly enhance your chances of success. For more detailed guidance and support, consider consulting with a legal expert specialized in LTD claims.