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Unless your disability was brought on by a sudden illness, accident or injury, the date that you became disabled may not be perfectly clear. A few factors have to be taken into consideration: When did you first experience disabling symptoms? When did you begin to undergo tests and receive a diagnosis, if any? Have your doctors and other health-care providers accurately documented your ongoing health condition in your medical records? Were you ever placed on modified duties or a modified work schedule on the advice of your doctors?
The determining factor is when your doctor(s) noted in your medical files that you were unable to continue working due to your disability, and whether your doctors' definition of disability would meet the definition of "total disability" as defined in your insurance policy. The date of disability that is finally determined, in concert with your doctors and your insurer, will determine how far back you may be owed retroactive payments, if any. It will also determine whether your claim falls into a pre-existing exclusion period, which would make you ineligible for benefits.
It is important to ensure that your doctors are making thorough and accurate notes in your medical records so that your LTD claim has a greater chance of success.