When an employer provides a disability insurance policy, that policy usually falls under ERISA law. ERISA, or the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, is a federal law that governs employer-provided disability insurance policies. Disability insurers, like Hartford, follow different rules from that of the Social Security Administration, and denials from ERISA insurance policies are difficult to successfully appeal, and almost impossible to successfully appeal on your own.
Recently, respected local federal judge Claude M. Hilton, in a long-term disability case in which the claimant had filed her own appeal, and lost, said the claimant “should have had counsel at the start”:
[This discussion was about information the claimant didn’t even know she could have provided]
THE COURT: -- it's her duty. And it seems to me that
what you're telling me is or you're suggesting to me is that it
was the duty of Hartford to raise this. And if you could go back
now I could ask -- my client can ask better questions of her
MR. GLASS: Right.
THE COURT: -- or she can get better evidence
together. And I'm sure that's true. She should've had counsel
at the start.
MR. GLASS: I'm going to quote you on that.
THE COURT: Would have been helpful, wouldn't it?
MR. GLASS: Yes, hundred percent.
Another federal judge said unrepresented ERISA Claimants, “face a loaded deck” when they come to court after having had no success with the disability insurance company.
Disability insurance companies regularly deny valid disability claims, and claimants are left with few options. There are no “slam dunk” ERISA cases, and you may receive well-meaning but poor advice from human resources, friends and family or inexperienced ERISA attorneys. Ben Glass consulted with a physician who had been disabled for several years, who had been told by his doctor friends not to apply for disability since he “made too much money.” We discovered that he had been eligible for benefits, but the timeline to apply had run out, costing him over $1 million in benefits.
Why Was My Hartford Long-Term Disability Claim Denied?
Hartford long-term disability claims can be complicated. If you are already dealing with a claim denial yourself, this is probably no surprise. Claims are denied frequently, most of the time for one of two reasons.
- The claimant does not meet the conditions for being disabled as defined in his/her disability policy, but often…
- The claimant is a victim of a frivolous denial of their claim
Unfortunately, there is little that can be some for claimants who don’t meet their contract’s definition of disabled. However, frivolous denials, which are more common than you think, can often be overturned with the help of a long-term disability attorney.
Remember, the insurance company has a financial incentive to deny you. However, how can the insurance company get away with denying valid claims? Here’s how:
- They are counting on you to simply walk away. One of clients was told recently by a claims adjuster that “some people simply give up because of all the paperwork with send them.”
- The insurance company is counting on frustrating and confusing you by repeatedly denying you. If you walk away, the insurance company has bullied you out of your benefits.
- They want you to appeal without an attorney. As judge Hilton recently said from the bench “these people need lawyers!”
Taking on the insurance company yourself is dumb, especially when an attorney will represent you and only get paid if you win. The insurance company will nearly always win when if you appeal your claim on your own – they simply have the resources and experience to outmaneuver and overpower most claimants.
Here’s How BenGlassLaw Can Help You Right Now with Your Hartford Claim
- Fax/email/mail us your denial letter. We will review it and give you a detailed strategy for moving forward. This service is FREE, but you must act promptly before your timeline to appeal runs out. You only have 180 days within which to file all your arguments, witnesses, medical articles, legal citations, updated medical records, and narratives.
- Download our free book, Don’t Try This at Home. Don’t Try This at Home is our premier guide on ERISA disability claims where you will learn about why insurance companies deny claims and how you can appeal.
- Contact us about a consultation. We can review your claim and the evidence you have supporting your appeal. Additionally, we will talk to you about how this may affect your current employment and answer any other questions you may have. (There is a nominal fee for this consult, but we have saved claimants thousands of dollars just in one meeting.)
- If your benefits have been denied and you did your own appeal, we can only help you if you have a second appeal available to you. Really, you should contact an attorney before your claim gets this far - second appeals are tough, and there is often extra work to be done by untangling errors made in the first appeal if it was not prepared by an ERISA experienced attorney.
You Can Speak with Our Team of Experts About Your Disability Claim by Calling Our Office at (703)584-7277.
What Information Should You Gather to Appeal Your Hartford Disability Claim?
Before you and your attorney appeal an ERISA disability claim, you need to gather documents from:
- Your Employer
Often claims are denied because there is a dispute over whether you can perform your job duties with your disability. It is helpful to have a description of your job provided by your employer that you can review and compare to the description of your duties in your disability claim. “Sedentary” jobs are notorious for generating disability denials, but “sedentary” may not cover the full scope of your duties.
- Your Doctor
How your doctor interprets your disability and your ability to work is critical for your appeal. You probably already have your doctor’s support, but the insurance company may disregard or overlook your doctor’s input on your disabling condition.
- Your Disability Insurance Provider (Hartford)
Most people don’t know this, but you can and SHOULD request your claim file from Hartford. You should know and understand why the insurance company denied you, and you will want to review their “evidence” about your claim. Bring this with you when you meet an attorney, it will help the attorney understand why you were really denied when reviewing your claim.
Why Most ERISA Long-Term Disability Claims are Denied and How Victims Lose Out on a Fair Recovery - Find Out More in Our Disability Claim Guide, Don't Try This At Home
If Hartford denied your long-term disability benefits, you need to download this free guide right now! In most cases, you have only 180 days within which to file a properly framed appeal. A respected federal judge has said that when you have one of these policies you are purchasing an invitation to a "legal ritual" that you will lose.
Ben Glass's Long-term Disability Book Will Show You:
- How the way you fill out your claim form can wreck your case;
- How doing the appeal yourself can give the insurance company an excuse to deny your claim;
- Why a Federal Judge said that claimants without an experienced ERISA disability attorney are at a 'distinct disadvantage' when appealing their claim denial;
- What you must have in your hand before you file your claim if you want to have any hope of getting paid;
- How to find a board-certified lawyer;
- How one former insurance company employee describes the claim denial process inside one of the world's largest disability insurance companies (you will be shocked);
- How the insurance companies use video and other secret surveillance to try to deny you benefits;
- How one company used an errant checkmark on a physician's form to deny benefits and what we did about it to get benefits restored.
We want to get our guide in your hands right now. You will also have an opportunity to request our disability claim information package after you request this guide.
Ben Glass walks you through the process in his free book, Don't Try This at Home - Your Disability Claim Guide. It's free for Virginia residents!
This free book should be read by:
- Anyone who is filing a disability claim or has already been denied.
- Any doctor who treats patients who are making long-term disability claims.
- Anyone who is going through the disability appeals processes and wants to know more.