In a life insurance policy, death benefits typically refer to benefits recoverable by beneficiaries upon the death of the policyholder. However, an individual setting up life insurance can also add an accelerated death benefit rider to their insurance policy. This is also sometimes called a “living benefit.” For example, if a policyholder becomes terminally ill, an accelerated death benefit could allow them to receive a portion of their life insurance benefits while they are still alive. Filing an accelerated death benefit claim could have a large effect on your family’s wellbeing.
If you suffer from a terminal illness and do not have an accelerated death benefit rider as part of your life, you may still have other legal options. In some instances, insurers will provide accelerated death benefits even if it is not specifically mentioned in the policy. You could potentially qualify for this type of benefit if you suffer from a terminal illness and are expected to pass away within the next two years. You could also qualify under other circumstances and with non-terminal illnesses. Contact an experienced New Orleans life insurance attorney at New Orleans Legal, LLC to help you better understand your legal options.
How Do Accelerated Death Benefit Claims Work in Louisiana?
Louisiana Administrative Code, Title 37 §1501 regulates accelerated death benefits in the state, and describes the illnesses and conditions that can qualify for the benefit, including but not limited to:
- Medical conditions where the lifespan is 24 months or under
- Medical conditions requiring life support or organ transplants
- A condition requiring confinement in an institution
There are other things to consider before you make the decision to accept an accelerated death benefit. While you will not have to repay any amounts, your accelerated death benefit will be deducted from your overall death benefit amount. In other words, accelerated death benefits will reduce the amount available for your beneficiaries when you pass away.
However, the advantage of claiming an accelerated death benefit is that it allows you to pay for expenses related to your terminal illness such as medical bills, the costs for medical devices, and any assistance you may need. This means that your family will not have to deal with those expenses now or when you pass away.
In short, dipping into your life insurance to help with expenses now has distinct advantages as well as disadvantages and should be considered carefully. Remember also that you typically have to continue to pay any monthly premiums for your life insurance policy until you pass away. Contacting an experienced New Orleans life insurance attorney like Peter Diiorio can help you understand all of your options for your unique set of facts and circumstances.
How Do I Apply for Accelerated Death Benefits?
Knowing the right steps and documents needed to apply for accelerated death benefits can prevent a denial of your claim. Having your accelerated death benefit claim denied while you are dealing with a terminal illness can cause yet more emotional distress for you and your family. Having your accelerated death benefit claim denied can also result in unnecessary financial hardship. Some of the documents you may have to provide for your application could vary from one insurance company to another but will generally include some or all of the following:
- Proof of your illness and life expectancy
- A Claimant’s statement
- A Physician’s statement
- A completed and signed claim form
Those applying for accelerated death benefit generally do not have the luxury of time and cannot afford to spend weeks or months fighting for their due in appeals. Insurance documents and claim forms are rarely user-friendly and can include complex legal language. Since incomplete claim forms or missing documents can delay your claim, or lead to complete denial, you will want to ensure that all is in order for your application.
Seeking legal assistance and representation from a New Orleans life insurance attorney as soon as you are considering filing an accelerated death benefit claim can help maximize your chances of receiving your benefit.
New Orleans Legal, LLC Can Stand Up for Your Rights
Facing a terminal illness is devastating. Not knowing how to pay for the extra expenses of care and medical costs, or caregiver visits can consume the thoughts of those affected and their families. If you have a life insurance policy, you could recover accelerated death benefit which can help your loved ones and you with expenses now while still preserving some benefits for your loved ones after you pass away.
While this can be an exceedingly stressful and heartbreaking time, you should consider letting an experienced New Orleans life insurance attorney handle the small print and details of your claim while you are free to spend your time with your loved ones. Once your claim is denied you may run out of time for an appeal. We want to make things right and help you get what you deserve. Contact New Orleans Legal, LLC for a free consultation today at (504) 897-5580.