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Many employers offer their employees short- and long-term disability insurance from Voya Financial (formerly known as ING ReliaStar) as optional benefits. These insurance products may offer you financial security if you ever suffer a disabling injury or illness that prevents you from being able to return to your job for an extended period of time. Unfortunately, Voya Financial denies some valid claims for disability benefits. If your claim is denied, you have the right to appeal. The experienced lawyers at Osterhout Berger Disability Law are proud to help our clients with their claims and appeals.
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ING ReliaStar Life Insurance is a part of the ING Group, a Dutch company that is based in Amsterdam. In the U.S., ING ReliaStar Life is headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The company has more than 112,000 employees around the world. Insurance products are sold through the ING ReliaStar Life Insurance Company. ING Group is the ninth biggest company in the world with more than 60 million customers in 50 countries.
In 2013, ING U.S. decided to go public under the ticker symbol VOYA and in 2014,the company fully rebranded to Voya Financial. While the company is now known as Voya Financial, its insurance products are underwritten by ReliaStar Life Insurance Company, which is still one of the ING Group/Voya Financial companies.
Voya sells both short-term and long-term disability insurance. If you have short-term disability insurance, it is designed to pay you weekly benefits for a limited duration until you are able to return to work. If you also have long-term disability insurance, the benefits for it may begin once you have exhausted your short-term disability benefits. The duration of your benefits payments will depend on your policies.
Short- and long-term disability are structured much in the same way. There are a few differences – mainly the percentage of income that your entitled to, how your benefits will be paid out (weekly vs monthly) and the duration of benefits. Each policy will require you to go through an elimination period, which starts the day you become disabled. The end of the elimination period marks the day you can start collecting your benefits.
You’ll want to make sure that you read your policy thoroughly and very carefully. The insurance company may have a list of injuries and illnesses that it considers to be disabilities and another list that includes pre-existing conditions. Your policy should have this information included. If it doesn’t you’ll want to reach out to Voya to understand what the company defines as a disability. This will determine whether or not your condition makes you eligible or not for benefits.
When you’re ready to submit a disability claim, you’ll want to start by going to Voya’s form library on its website. Typically, there are three sections to disability claim forms: an employee’s statement, an employer’s statement, and an attending physician’s statement. You’ll want to double check which type of forms will be required to accurately submit your claim. If not, the process may take longer than necessary and you’ll need to wait longer than necessary to receive your benefits.
Once you know which forms you need to submit and get all parties to fill out and sign the forms, you can then submit your claim online. You’ll want to keep an eye on the status of your claim to make sure that the insurance company isn’t delaying the process. According to Voya’s website, the review process takes about 10-12 days from the time the insurance company receives your forms.
You’re able to check the status of your claim online, but if you haven’t received any word regarding your benefits, you’ll also want to call to see if you can get some answers from a representative. If your claim still doesn’t move forward, it may be time to contact an experienced disability lawyer. Our lawyers at Osterhout Berger Disability Law are experienced with insurance company’s tactics to delay claims just so that they don’t have to pay out benefits. We can help you move the process along so that you can receive your benefits as soon as possible.
You will be sent a letter if Voya decides to deny your claim. The letter will tell you why the company made its decision and how you can appeal it. You must follow the appeal instructions within the company. Under the law, you cannot skip the company’s appeal process and head straight to court. It is also important that you pay attention to the deadline for appealing the company’s denial. If you miss the deadline, your ability to recover your benefits will be foreclosed. Call the company and request your file. The company must give it to you, and it will contain all of the evidence that Voya gathered in order to deny your claim. After that, try to limit your verbal communication with the company, and ask that all communication is conducted in writing. Save copies of everything that you send and receive. If you don’t win the appeal through the company’s process, you will then be able to fight the appeal in court.
Bring your documents into the office of Osterhout Berger Disability Law. Our knowledgeable lawyers will review the information and advise you about how to handle your appeal. It is important that you are honest about your symptoms throughout the claim and appeal process. If you try to exaggerate, the company will likely believe that you are malingering. This may make it much harder for you to win.
If you are forced to file a lawsuit in court, you will only be able to rely on the evidence that your file contains. This makes it very important for you to add as much favorable evidence to your file as possible. Your lawyer might advise you to continue seeing your doctor even if you believe that there is nothing that can be done. Your lawyer may also want you to submit to more medical tests and exams and to secure opinions about your condition from your doctors, family members and former employer. By adding more evidence in favor of your claim, you might make it likelier that you will win your appeal while it is still within Voya, obviating the need to file a lawsuit.
Getting help from an experienced lawyer may help you to win your claim and appeal. To learn more about your rights, call Osterhout Berger Disability Law today.