City, county, state and federal employees are government employees. These employees would include police officers, firefighters, EMS workers, and any other government employee. Government employees are considered public employees. Public employees enjoy many benefits, including participation in a government sponsored retirement pension plan, but there is an additional benefit that public employyes may not be aware of. Benefits such as long term disability insurance benfits are exempt from the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) which governs employee benefit plans. ERISA is an arcane federal law which is complicated and affords less protection to employees than Congress intended when it passed the act in 1974. Under ERISA, the deck is stacked against the employee when filing for long term disability insurance benefits. Therefore, for public employees long term disability insurance claims are considered non-ERISA and goverened by state law.
As a non-ERISA claim, claims are treated similarly to that of an individual who went out into the open market and purchased a private long term disability insurance policy. This is important because claimants are afforded more favorable state consumer protection laws. If a public employee becomes disabled due to sickness or injury and are unable to perform the material and substantial duties of his or her occupation, the employee can file for long term disability insurance benefits. If the claim is denied, the employee is entitled to bring suit for breach of contract in state court, have a jury trial, bring new and additional evidence to trial, recover attorney's fees, and sue for bad faith and punitive damages, if the case supports it.
In essence, the difference between having a claim goverened by ERISA vs. state law can mean the difference between having the long term disability insurance benefits approved or denied. As a public employee in the city, county, state, or federal government, public employees have this additional benefit
The Law Firm of J.P. Gonzalez-Sirgo, P.A. represents individuals that have had their valid long term disability benefits denied, delayed or terminated.
You can reach Miami Long Term Disability Insurance Claims Lawyer J.P. Gonzalez-Sirgo by dialing his direct number at (786) 272-5841, calling the main office at (305) 461-1095, or Toll Free at 1 (866) 71-CLAIM or email J.P. directly at [email protected].