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Friday, February 13, 2015

Disabled While Working: Leaving Your Job? Get Your Personnel File!

Your personnel file can provide useful information to support an initial claim for long-term disability benefits, or to help prevail on an appeal of a LTD denial.  For instance, performance reviews may show a change in performance that can attributed to impairments resulting from your condition; older performance reviews may have praised you for your attention to details, but later ones cite that as a weakness.  This is concrete, objective evidence of the most important fact: the effect of the condition on your ability to do your job.  Also, attendance records can be important.  If you condition is causing you to be out of the office ten days a month, it is hard to claim that you can still do your job.

If you are filing a long-term disability insurance claim in Connecticut, or handling a Connecticut LTD denial appeal, you may not have access to this information if you wait too long.  The Connecticut Personnel Files Act, C.G.S. Sec. 31-128a, only requires an employer to retain personnel records for one year after employment ends.  An employer will probably keep the records for three years to satisfy federal law requirements, but there is an argument that the employer isn't required to release the records after one year after the end of employment.

To avoid this argument, request a copy of your personnel file when you leave your employer, whether it is voluntary or otherwise, so you can make sure you have access to this information in the future if you need it for a Connecticut disability benefit claim or appeal.

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