Learning about disability benefits

Wisconsin employees may be interested in learning more about applying for disability benefits, as well as denials and cancellations. In order to receive an application and an estimate for compensation, people interested in obtaining disability benefits are advised to contact the Department of Employee Trust Funds by phone or in writing. Employees are required to file a series of forms and are prohibited from applying for these benefits before the last day on the job.

Once the application is approved, the benefits usually begin the day following the employee’s last payday. An agent acting under a valid power of attorney may sign the disability application should the worker be unable to do so. In the absence of a power of attorney, the worker’s guardian can sign and submit the application. In any case, there is specific criteria that must be met when a representative is authorizing disability benefits on the behalf of an incapacitated person.

When the application is delayed, the effective date may not be over 90 days from the date the application was received. According to state law, applications must be canceled if the ETF does not receive the qualified Employer Statement and Medical Reports within one year that they receive the disability application. Employees who have their application cancelled or denied are afforded several options. Contingent on meeting the state’s qualifications, employees may have the right to appeal, apply for a separation benefit or regular benefit or reapply for a disabled annuity.

Workers who need help obtaining disability benefits may be interested in contacting legal counsel. Lawyers might also be able to investigate the complaint and help determine what benefits the injured worker is entitled to.

Source: Department of Employee Trust Funds, “Disability Benefits Reference Guide”, accessed on Jan. 25, 2015

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