When an employer provides a disability insurance policy, that policy 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 Unum, follow different rules from that of the Social Security Administration, and denials from ERISA insurance policies are difficult to successfully appeal.
Even a federal judge ruling over an ERISA long-term disability case said 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 poor advice from human resources, friends and family or well-meaning but inexperienced 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.
If Unum has denied your claim, BenGlassLaw and our disability appeals team can review your denial letter for FREE. Call (703) 584-7277 to speak to our disability appeals team and email/mail/fax your denial letter to BenGlassLaw.
Free Unum Denial Letter Review for Unum Claimants
Your denial letter contains important information about your ERISA long-term disability claim. In this document, Unum outlines the reason they have denied your claim. Unum will offer you a chance to appeal but proceed with caution.
The law requires that all the evidence supporting your appeal be submitted by the deadline or it can not be used in court. If you send an “I appeal” letter, the insurance company will only review your appeal based on the information they already have. We have never seen an insurance company reverse a denial when the claimant sent a simple letter saying, “I appeal.” A simple letter from your physician won't likely help either.
A simple denial letter review will help you understand your next steps and what you will need for a successful appeal.
Here’s How BenGlassLaw Can Help You Right Now with Your Unum Claim No Matter Where You Are in the Country
- 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 remember your appeal must be filed before your 180-day deadline runs out. This deadline is important. You only have 180 days within which to file all of 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 the 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 if you do not have a denial letter but have questions about your claim. We can review your situation and answer all of your questions. (There is a fee for this consult, but we have saved claimants thousands of dollars just in one meeting. In one case this simple meeting resulted in a payment of almost $500,000 to a client. Remember, though, that every case is different).
- If your benefits have been denied and you did your own appeal, we may not be able to help you at all, but let us look to see 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.
The Biggest Myths About Unum Disability Insurance Claims
ERISA disability is a niche practice of law. Not many attorneys have experience with ERISA claims, and because there is so little information available, there are numerous disability claim myths that can steer you in the wrong direction.
Myth #1: If You Follow the Rules When Filing Your Claim and Explain Your Situation, Unum Will Approve Your Claim
Insurance companies are businesses. The more money they make for their shareholders, the better. Most will do whatever it takes to deny your claim. BenGlassLaw has noticed several “denial seasons” during the year. When the weather gets good, they may send private investigators to see you doing outside activities. In the last few months of the year, claims are frequently terminated in order to “clean up the books.”
What can you do? Review your disability insurance policy before you leave work and before you submit a claim. Keep all your medical and employment records in one place, so you can review all the same documents the insurance company has. If you have been denied, call us, we can help you make a great decision about your situation.
Myth #2: If You Have Been Awarded Social Security Disability Benefits You Will Have No Problem Getting Your Claim Approved
ERISA Insurance companies have argued that they do not need to follow a Social Security determination—even though Social Security has the strictest standards—and courts have affirmed this!
If you are approved for Social Security, it does not ensure that you will win your long-term disability denial. We’ve seen many disability claims denied, even after the claimant was approved for Social Security benefits. The definitions and processes between the two types of benefits are different.
Most Social Security attorneys in Virginia do not have experience with ERISA. BenGlassLaw is one of the few ERISA disability law firms in Virginia, and we are routinely referred clients from Social Security attorneys whose clients have ERISA disability claims.
Myth #3: Writing a Long Letter to Unum Detailing Your Case and Your Medical Condition Will Help Get Your Claim Approved
Unum may look at your long, well-written letter and say, “Look at how smart you are! You CAN work!” This particularly applies to claimants with mental or fatigue disabilities, because the insurance company will look at the work you put into your claim as evidence that you are able to handle your work duties.
Disability insurance companies may also spy on your activities using private investigators. These private investigators will watch your activities, speak to your neighbors, check out social media and generally go to any lengths to discover evidence that you are able to work more than you claim on your disability application.
Sending a long appeal letter that you drafted to the insurance company describing your inability to work, particularly if your job and career involve writing, can give them an excuse to deny your claim.
Myth #4: If Your Doctor Says that You are Disabled, You Will Have No Problem Getting Approved for Benefits
Having your doctor’s support is important for the success of your claim. However, handing Unum a piece of paper that says, “Patient is disabled and cannot return to work,” is no guarantee the insurance company will approve your claim.
Unum and other major insurance providers have ranks of doctors ready and willing to challenge your primary doctor’s assessment of your disability. We frequently work on disability insurance appeals where an insurance company doctor denies claims… without ever meeting or evaluating the claimant!
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 your claim for long-term disability benefits has been denied, 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.