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Appeal Deadlines Extended for Long Term Disability Claims Due to Covid-19

Oct. 12, 2020

As the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak continue to take a toll on Americans across the county, the U.S. Department of Labor has responded by extending certain deadlines under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act. Click Here (please link to this website)

These measures, which were announced in conjunction with the Internal Revenue Service on May 6, 2020, extend participant filing deadlines for employee benefit plans, group health plans, and other pension plans.

Specifically, the extensions apply during the “Outbreak Period,” defined as between March 1, 2020 (the beginning of the national emergency declared by President Trump) until 60 days after the announcement of the end of the COVID-19 national emergency. Since it is possible for COVID-19 end dates to vary across the U.S., it is important to keep in mind that different deadlines would therefore need to be met.

Given these developments, the deadlines for a claimant to file a disability claim, perfect a disability claim, or file an appeal to a denial of benefits have ultimately changed. As outlined in the May 6, 2020 notice, these deadlines are extended by the number of days in the Outbreak Period and are illustrated in the following example provided by the Department of Labor.

Facts—Individual E received a notification of an adverse benefit determination from Individual E’s disability plan on January 28, 2020. The notification advised Individual E that there are 180 days within which to file an appeal. What is Individual E’s appeal deadline?

Conclusion—When determining the 180-day period within which Individual E’s appeal must be filed, the Outbreak Period is disregarded. Therefore, Individual E’s last day to submit an appeal is 148 days (180−32 days following January 28 to March 1) after June 29, 2020, which is November 24, 2020.

These new deadlines can be difficult to calculate and can also cause unwanted stress and anxiety during already difficult times. If you or a loved one is unsure whether these temporary relief measures impact a disability claim, call Murray Law Office or visit our website.