Short-Term Disability

Detroit Lawyers Advocating for Benefits Claimants

The state of Michigan has no law guaranteeing income for short-term disability to its residents. Therefore, short-term disability insurance policies provided by an employer or obtained privately can be of particular importance to those who are pregnant, hurt, or become ill. Other sources of short-term disability benefits may include workers' compensation and the federal Social Security program. However, the latter is only available if you have been disabled for five or more months. Michigan State Disability Assistance also gives assistance to adults who are physically unable to work and who receive other disability benefits, live in a special facility, and are unable to work for at least 90 days. If you are in need of assistance with a short-term disability claim, the experienced Detroit disability benefits attorneys at Feldheim & Wilenkin can help you review your options and pursue a claim as appropriate.

Pursuing Short-Term Disability in Michigan

Becoming disabled, even temporarily, can be daunting. After five months of being disabled, you can potentially receive up to $710 per month in Social Security Income benefits plus a state supplement from Michigan. However, for many people, a disability insurance benefits policy is a lifesaver because they may not have savings for a five-month period. You need to have purchased this policy or signed up for your employer's policy before you became disabled. Employers that provide this type of policy offer it voluntarily.

Plans offered by an employer are governed by the Employment Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA). This law requires plan administrators to follow certain standards for plan administration. However, your policy terms determine when and whether you are eligible for short-term disability benefits. That said, the plan administrator is supposed to follow a deliberate, principled reasoning process, using objective medical evidence.

Only after you exhaust your administrative remedies can you file an ERISA lawsuit in federal court. Under Section 502(a)(1)(B) of ERISA, you can sue to recover benefits that are due to you under the terms of your plan, enforce your rights under the plan terms, or clarify your rights to future benefits. If the plan administrator is given authority under the plan to determine eligibility for the plan or construe the plan, the plan administrator cannot act arbitrarily or capriciously. However, this is a standard that tends to be highly deferential to the plan administrator.

The court will review the quality and quantity of medical evidence relied upon by the plan administrator and hear arguments on both sides of the case. Generally, the medical evidence must be objective, even in cases involving conditions like fibromyalgia, in which complaints are subjective. There needs to be information within the medical record to show a change or worsening of a condition and specific restrictions or limitations that can explain which occupational duties can be performed or not performed.

The court will only consider evidence that was in front of the plan administrator, making it crucial for you to present your case to the plan administrator with the help of an attorney who can make sure all the important evidence is included. While the plan administrator must rely on substantial evidence, it is still your burden as a claimant to prove you are entitled to benefits under the plan.

Explore Your Options with a Disability Benefits Attorney in Detroit

If you need to file a short-term disability claim, you should consult the Detroit disability benefits lawyers at Feldheim & Wilenkin. We will work to determine the options through which you may be able to recover benefits. Our injury attorneys are dedicated advocates who can diligently advise people across Michigan, including in Wayne, Oakland, and Macomb Counties. Call us at 248.737.0700 or contact us via our online form to set up a free consultation.

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