In November, advocate Jeannette Burmeister blogged about some rare proposed changes to the ERISA disability law by the Department of Labor (DOL). Here is Burmeister’s blog.
The deadline for public comment is on or before January 19, 2016, which is right around the corner. We encourage public comments in favor of adopting these changes.
Background - What is ERISA?
The Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) governs how Long Term Disability (LTD) claims are handled in the U.S. This is the type of disability available through your employer - it’s the other major source of disability income besides Social Security.
In a perfect world, Long Term Disability would kick in while you were waiting for your Social Security claim to be approved. Additionally, it can serve as supplemental coverage in combination with Social Security. In reality, most people with ME or CFS are denied, leaving them in a terrible financial crisis, at the same time as they’re dealing with the disease and the realities of becoming disabled.
The reason this occurs is that the insurance lobby has stacked the deck against claimants, and in favor of the insurance companies. Claims are routinely denied to increase the insurance company’s bottom line. Often, employees are actually rewarded bonuses for denying claims. The claimant cannot sue for damages, only for what they were supposed to get in the first place.
The proposed changes still wouldn’t allow suing for damages, but they would definitely go a long way towards leveling the playing field.
Read the rest and what you can do here