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Of the more than 40 disability insurance companies that sell long-term disability insurance coverage, it is our opinion that The Hartford is one of the most difficult disability insurance companies to deal with.

Hartford is a “two headed monster” that will hide behind the wall of ERISA disability laws in an effort to unfairly deny long term disability claims. We call them “a two headed monster” because they are a multi-billion dollar insurance company and no matter what any TV station, newspaper or court says about Hartford, they continue to handle disability insurance claims in the same manner. It is as if they love to take cases to court.

Our firm has assisted hundreds of Hartford disability claimants to recover disability benefits.

The Hartford’s Typical Claim Handling Process Before A Claim Denial

Just about anyone that has had their long-term disability benefits denied by Hartford will tell you that Hartford:

  1. Sent an investigator to their home for a 3-4 hours interview;
  2. Showed disability video surveillance of the claimant’s recent activities outside of the home;
  3. Either sent the claimant to a compulsory medical exam (AKA hired gun doctor), functional capacity exam (FCE) or had the file reviewed by an external doctor; and
  4. Without notice to the claimant, sent a one-sided questionnaire or letter to the claimants treating physician in an effort to bait the doctor into saying the claimant can return to some type of work.

At any stage of a claim with Hartford you should consider getting our law firm involved in order to protect your contractual rights and disability benefit payments.

We Want You To Learn More About A Hartford Disability Claim

As you can see, our disability lawyers are not fans of The Hartford. A disability claimant should be proactive in order to make sure their disability benefits do not get denied.

The following is a list of things you can do to help you learn more about the claim handling actions of The Hartford:

There are 122 opinions so far. Add your comment or complaint now.

Orlando Rivera:

I am a beneficiary of Social Security and Hartford deducts the amount that my child receives from social security benefits. Is this legal?

Attorney Greg Dell:

If your Hartford disability policy contains language providing a deduction for any social security disability benefits (SSDI) either you or a family member receive as result of your disability, then it would be legal for Hartford to take the deduction. If your child is disabled and receives SSDI benefits, then Hartford could not take a setoff.

Neddie Panko:

I worked for Walmart for 13 years and finally at the end of december of 2010 i could not work any longer with the problems that i have been having i paid for std and ltd for 13 years they gave me the std from december until feb 8th and then stopped benifits i have no income coming in my husband has not worked since 2008 and now his unemploymet ran out in oct 2009 i was the only one working now they refuse to give me my std i have a disc in my neck bad , i have 2 lower discs in my back bad my knees and ankles swell and constantly hurt i have high blood pressure i have a hernia, and i am in constant pain also i am going through depression and anxiety i am now seeing a phsycologist and they still refuse to pay me my lights , water, every thing all of my bills are over due they are ready to shut everything off on me and my doctor fills out paper after paper and he tells me my working days are over but they still keep stalling and they wont pay me dont know what to do i am at my wits end also the last pay that i received was in feb 8 or 10 for 67 dollars and some change i am bearly at my wits end dont know what to do they said that my file has been sent to nurses to reveiw my file and i should hear something this week it is already thursday and nothing yet i call and they keep saying they are working on it please i need some advice i need help like yesterday they are making my depression and anxiety is getting worse dont know what to do getting to the point i cant even afford to get my blood pressure medications and pain meds and anxiety meds filled no income coming in.

Attorney Greg Dell:

Neddie, since you are about to get a decision any day now, there is nothing we can do right now. If Hartford denies your disability insurance claim, then you should contact us to see if we can assist you.

Linda J. VanDenHeuvel:

Hello, my name is Linda VanDenHeuvel. I’m a Registered Nurse who worked in emergency departments for 32 years as a Trauma Nurse Specialist. For 13 years, I paid premiums for Hartford Disability Insurance when our hospital offered it. Being the sole provider of our family, I wanted to make sure financial bases would be covered in the event of any catastrophic injury or illness. My husband was severely injured in an auto crash when his first wife and only daughter were killed. He can only work limited hours, so is self employed. I’ve also had custody of my 11 year old great-granddaughter since she was 22 months old. Melany has epilepsy, so it was paramount we remained financially stable.

In December 2010, it was discovered I had an abdominal aortic aneurysm along with 3 compression fractures of my thoracic spine and a subluxation of two vertebra in my lower back,which impinge on my spinal cord. I had a life threatening surgery to repair my aneurysm, but cannot address my back because I don’t have enough money. Instead, I live with constant pain, refusing to take narcotics since Melany requires constant observation.

While still in Critical Care, my hospital attempted firing me since they said I would never be able to return to work at 100%. I had to resort to my Long Term Disability. Hartford approved my claim, but said I would be cut off from any further payments if I did not apply for Social Security within 45 days. Not only was I critically ill, but now also in a state of panic. I never expected this. Their insurance was to provide 60% of my income. It was a significant drop, but enough for us to get by. (By the way, in no way was I ever provided a policy for my insurance. This was all word of mouth.) Fearful, I immediately applied for Social Security Disability, which I’d never wanted to do. As an ER nurse, I’d always despised system abusers. I was approved without the help of the group of attorneys in Illinois Hartford wanted me to use. Social Security sent me my first check, and I notified Hartford. But they told me, they’d already released my June payment. My first Social Security payment and their payment would overlap. So they said they had overpaid me. In order to clear this up, I would not receive further payments from them until the $2,500 June payment by them was deducted.

So, from July until now, I have received no further payments from Hartford, and instead,rely soley on Social Security – only 50% of my previous income.

I called them. They said they are only willing to pay the balance of the difference between of what I receive from Social Security to total 60% of my income. But now, they’re questioning whether they should pay anything, and want me to prove my disability again. In addition, they told me if I was approved, they would only pay a total of two years before they referred me to one of their therapists who could verify I was ready to return to work.

What are they thinking? I’m 61 years old and have a significantly broken back. This will never improve. Besides this, with the AAA, I have a pre-existing health problem. No employer would ever hire me. I am a health risk. The only way I can prevent paralysis is with very scrutinized levels of activity. I must guard myself

Hartford has financially crippled us. Without their payments, all my outstanding medical bills have gone into collection. We had to borrow money from our family to keep up our house payments. All the while, I’ve been waiting for Hartford to finally pay the lousy monthly $500.

I feel everything they’ve done is fraudulant. If a person has an insurance policy and a valid claim, then why all the hoops? If I would have known any of this, I would have stuck my $226/month premiums to them over 13 years in a bank where it would have been more secure. I was mislead. Am I to become just another of their statistics?

Sincerely,
Linda VanDenHeuvel

Attorney Greg Dell:

Linda, your Hartford policy probably has an offset for social security disability. Hartford will likely deny you after they recoup the ssdi overpayment. If you have problems with them paying you, then please contact us. Based upon your medical issues I do not think you will have any problems getting paid by Hartford.

Kelly:

I have been battling with Hartford for months. The stress of it all is causing my Multiple Scleroisis to flare up. They have just informed as of 1 Jan. 11 I now make too much money for them to have to pay me. I work no more than 20hrs a week. When I read the policy it states they cannot consider my annual increases until I go backi full time. I have not been full time since I became disabled. Hartford is stating I make 1.3% too much so they are no longer going to pay me, I am tired of dealing with all the hoops I have to jump through.

John Sholtz:

I have Hartford as my ltd co., my short term ended Feb. 17, 2011, and haven’t got anything from them since. They keep telling me they didn’t receive the paperwork from my doctor, which is a lie because we have all the confirmation from the faxes. So when I tell them that they come back with its not enough info for them, and request more info. Now April 15, 2011 and I can’t pay rent, or get the things my two kids need for school. My wife’s income is only enough to pay gas, electric, and food. This really putting a strain on our family. I NEED HELP.

I have even ask for enough just to pay rent, they said they can’t approve anything. They keep finding more ways to delay and deny my claim. Now they’re asking for a perscription history from a year prior to my injury.

Lisa A. Block:

PLEASE, PLEASE HELP. I had Hartford GLTD insurance through my employer in 2004. They did pretty much every dirty trick in the book including, as I’m almost 100% sure of, document forgery. After finally recieving my file that I requested from them, wich took months to recieve & numerous hippa violations, a supposed lost mailing to my PO BOX never recieved, despite numerous inquiries, they emphatically stated package delivered to PO BOX had verified same nearly 2 weeks later when the latent lies became more than I could tolerate, continuous checking with my post office, they suggested I get the tracking # & check it myself, to confirm what sender has been stating. Upon doing this & Hartford reconfirming delivery approx. 2 weeks prior of package to PO BOX, gave me an invalid # for a postal service delivery. This went on for another 2-3 days, when they finally called back leaving me a message that they made an error & package was shipped by UPS to PO BOX & diverted to the front stoop of my home address. When asked how this could occur, they stated UPS doesn’t deliver to PO BOXES. Now 3 or more weeks later, files containing all my personal information & medical records are MIA – honestly I doubted highly that they ever actually sent them untill I verified with UPS, supposedly dropped on front stoop nearly 3 weeks prior. SCARY. They called MDs without an updated autorization, while denying me, BLATENTLY did something to have DRs who had treated me for years prior & had submitted that I was permanently totally disabled, now sent them a DOL work ability form from a providor specialist I SAW one time & utilized this to coerce my prior practitioner to totally contradict his prior 3.5+ years of ability & disability. Now stated able to work @ median level, with no restrictions. I am an RN & have now not been gainfully employed since my MVA in May 2004. Sooo much more to tell, I have taken too much of your time… Thank you. Respectfully yours, Lisa A. Block

Tamesa Race:

I was put on a LOA by my doctor. The paperwork stated that I could not perform my work until after 2 surgeries and recovery. Hartford opened my claim then for no reason, they said I dont qualify for benifits. I have been paying them premiums for ten years. They are trying to say just because the doctor said you can’t work doesn’t mean you can’t work. They also said being in constant pain that prevents you from getting out of bed and awaiting surgery is not a good reason to not go to work. Are you serious? Who are these people? I will be dropping them as a disability company and I am posting on facebook what they do to the people they insure. I bet they won’t have many customers when this is over!

Attorney Greg Dell:

Tamesa, I am sorry to hear about your experience with Hartford Insurance Company. If your claim for disability benefits has been denied, you have the right to file an appeal. You must do so within 180 days according to ERISA. Please contact us if you would like us to review your appeal denial.

Attorney Greg Dell:

Lisa, the techniques you have described about Hartford speaking with your doctors is standard conduct for them. The majority of claims that we see denied are because a claimant’s treating doctor does not understand the relevancy of the paperwork that Hartford or any other carrier asks them to fill out. If you would like to send us your denial letter we will review it and contact you to discuss your possible options. You can complete our online Free Consultation Form or call us at 800-682-8331.

Eric Hartley:

This crap with Hartford long term short disability has been going on for years.

In 2000 I was working for Watkins Motor Lines and got sick at first Hartford was paying like they were supposed to, then I had to fight for months to get any money. They ended up paying me a $15,000 dollar check and then continued with the short term payments.

Then it switched over to long term they reduced the money I was getting, and it was a battle to get anything. Then they started making demands that I go to my doctor over and over to verify my disability. I couldn’t keep up with their paper demand and they stopped paying me anything. I am still disabled have not worked since 2000 and I feel they owe me quite a bit of money. I won’t ever see it, ’cause this is a big company that can get away with it.

I went for a number of years without any income at all, homeless, and I feel it was all because of Hartford and thier tactics of getting out of paying what they are supposed to pay. Just look at all the consumer complaints. This is the first time I have thought about Hartford since they cut me off. I thought surely they wouldve been outta the disabilty insurance portion of their business by now, guess not. They are still sucking people into thier legal scam of what they call disability insurance.

I have prayed that the CEO of this company and all the executives become disabled, I bet if they did they wouldn’t be insured by Hartford, they would go with Afflack or some other place. The people in charge ought to be ashamed of themselves and God will have a talk with them.

A. Wood:

To everyone that posted, thank you. I thought it was only me. My family did not understand why I was so upset. I gave permission for Hartford to speak with my sister. Just one day of her dealing with the run-around she was furious.

I know my claim is legitimate. I am now in contact with Dell & Schaefer. I can not deal with this emotionally anymore (over 9 months and almost cost me my life).

On behalf of all of you, I am asking the attorney to go full force against Hartford. I have been so shocked about Hartford’s lies – it is disgusting.

Polly Garvey:

The Hartford’s favorite word is “NO!”. It takes money from your paycheck for 21 years, and when you are told by your boss to go out on disability, and when you are granted Social Security Insurance the first time, they will, in my experience, deny, deny, deny your claim!!! When they finally give into it, they will send their detectives to see if you are walking your dog or going up a curb. Can they see how much pain you are in, or if you cut your walk short due to pain? They chose a picture of me going up a curb step proof that I was fullly capable. Did they ask me question one? NO. Did they ask if I was able to attend work 8 hours a day? They just assume.

One year later, I am in an assisted living facility with my car taken away by the doctor.

The Hartford is definitely one of the worst disability insurance compaies, if not the worst. Moderator, if the Hartford wants this deleted, just ask them for proof it did not happen. They will probably say it’s confidential, but I give you permission to speak with them.

E. Crawford:

Hello. Can you briefly explain the overpayment situations. I was never told that Hartford would take the SSDI awarded to my children. I did not know anything about an overpayment although they kept telling me that if they were overpaying me I would have to reimburse them. When I kept asking how much of an overpayment am I receiving because I did not want to owe them anything. They said that they did not know and could not tell me until I was awarded from SSA. Needless to say the lawyer that they recommended obviously works for them and I still end up paying the entire amount of my award. I think that there should be some type of legislation that would at least give the claimant the right to either accept or decline the overpayment. This is exactly how they make their money. Not only am I still broke and on a lesser amount, I still have the bills I had before and they are taking money from my two kids who are headed off to college. This is too much like robbery!!! There has got to be some type of recourse. Is there a way to claim hardship or keep them from getting EVERYTHING and at least allow me to pay off my bills before they take back their lump sum. They did not pay me in a lump sum so why do I have to pay them backk with a lump sum?

Attorney Greg Dell:

E: I think you will find some helpful information in our Frequently Asked Questions section of our site. I have not seen your policy so I do not know if Hartford has a right to make the claims you have explained. Please take a look at Can a disability insurance company claim an overpayment for social security disability benefits payable to a child as result of the parent’s disability?

Lori:

What an awesome forum to be able to comment in.

My husband was disabled 4 years ago. After 24 months of long term payments Hartford stopped them (the norm for them). That was in January of 2010. When my husband recieved his SSI award several months later, they asked for it in full… we said NO.

We retained an attorney when the payments initially stopped. We were notified of a court date in March of 2012… haha… really? We recently recieved notification via our attorney that a mediation has been scheduled for August of 2011.

I am a medical professional and have the stamina and the opportunity to work as often as I like… ie LOTS of overtime. This is the only reason we have been able to survive financially. I wonder what people do who dont have this option. I am sure they will use this mediation to make a pathetic settlement offer. If the Hartford had paid out as our original policy stated, they would owe us $570,000 until my husband is age 67.

We have had many conversations with God on this subject. He has brought us this far and will continue to point us in the proper direction.

I have no questions to post here, just words of encouragement. Don’t give up. YOU determine your worth, NOT the Hartford. Find a good attorney, make payments if you can. Good legal counsellors are worth their weight in gold.

Wanda Wetzel:

Hello. My name is Wanda. I have been out of work since 6/2011 and have had 2 back surgerys in the last 6 months. Still under Dr’s care, pain management and in a lot of pain if I try too much of anything. Now they think I may have some nerve damage and I received a call from the company I work for, which stated they could no longer keep me on the payroll and I was dismissed.

Now Hartford has called and ask how I was doing. I told them the above, they sent me a letter giving me 21 day to show that I have files for Social Security Disability and that I check the be on the box that if I get retro I will pay them the lump sum… Also if I don’t file they will hold my benefit checks. Can they do this? Am I required to file for Social security? I am 55, not sure if or when I will be able to work, since I can’t sit nor stand for long periods of time.

Attorney Greg Dell:

Wanda, your policy may contain language that requires you to apply for SSDI benefits within a certain time period. Hartford is requiring you to sign a reimbursement agreement which allows them to deduct any social security disability benefits from the amount Hartford is obligated to pay you each month. Your policy may require you to sign this documents. Hartford will also seek reimbursement for any overpayment you receive as a result of a SSDI approval. Feel free to contact us if you have any other questions.

Eric Hartley:

Just another big company screwing the little people that in good faith made payments thinking that if they become unable to work they would at least be able to survive a somewhat mediocre life. It is sad that they can get away with what they do. I pray for every individual that becomes unable to work and has to go through all the crap that this company and any company like them puts you through. May God bless every good decent individual out there. Hope and prayer is a mainstay, don’t let your faith wilter because of bad companies and their policies. God Bless.

Margie:

I was wondering why you cannot sue the third party companies that assist Hartford in denying claims for tortious interference. Ex: MES Solutions, doctors, third party claims evaluators. They are financially rewarded by Hartford to interfere with your policy.

In addtion, why can’t you sue an MES doctor for medical mal-practice? Are they not obligated to an ethical standard of care?

Attorney Greg Dell:

Margie, you raise two excellent questions. Let’s start with the easy one first. In some states you can absolutely sue an independent medical doctor hired by an insurance company for any negligence. For example, if an IME doctor injures a claimant during an exam, then the doctor could be sued in most states. An IME exam should always be videotaped. With regard to a claim for tortious interference, this would be a difficult but not impossible cause of action. We have filed lawsuits against third party administrators in the past and alleged tortious interference. In ERISA governed claims it is very hard for a tortious interference claim to survive.

Carol:

I have been recieving Hartford LTD for about 18 months. I was just approved for SSD. Hartford has sent an investigoator to my house, taped the entire 3 hour conversation and then sent a transcript of the whole thing to my doctor along with survelliance information they had obtained from following me months earlier. They asked my doctor to agree with their findings that I could work even though he has filled out 2 sets of forms already stating I cannot return to work permanently. Here is the big issue I have with them. While they were following me, I noticed a strange guy following me and I got creeped out and called the cops. He lied to the cops and told them he was not following me or wasnt an insurance investigator and didnt know what they were talking about. The cops investigated him for 2 days and told me to let them know if I saw him again. I was so freaked out I had to go to my doctor and he diagnosed me with PTSD ( on top of my disabling heart problems). I got a concealed weapons permit and was afraid to leave the house. The survelliance report recently sent to my doctor states that the investigator admits being contacted by the police but could not disclose he was actually investigating me as to not compromise the investigation. Is this legal? I wouldnt even know except for the fact that my doctor told me because he knew how freaked out I was from the situation and felt I should know. I have heart problems and this situation was devestating to me.

Attorney Greg Dell:

Carol,

Once again Hartford’s conduct is disgusting. If you are in the public domain, then Hartford can video you wherever you go. The investigator that lied to the police may have created a criminal act. It is amazing the extremes that Hartford will take in order to try to prove that a claimant is not disabled. You may want to consider filing a restraining order against Hartford and any of its affiliates. We do not handle restraining orders, but it may help you to keep Hartford and their goons from coming near you. You should also file a complaint with the Department of Labor and your State Department of Insurance. If you have a police report you should send it to Hartford so that it is part of your record. If you need assistance with your claim, just give us a call.

Gloria Morley:

I also have been denied, they let me receive STD for six months. They told me I would have to apply for SSD and when – and if – I got it I would have to pay them back any amount that went over 40% of my income from Walmart. I got the SSD within six months, Hartford had sent me one check, I had to pay back all but $234.00.

They let me collect LTD for one year and sent forms to each one of my doctors. And they could only coment on one condition. My primary doctor wrote them a letter telling them that if I only had one of these conditions I might be able to go back to work, but with them all there is no way I could, but they denied anyway.

And after I talked to a couple of lawyers they refused to take my case because the money isn’t there. Hartford only has to pay me $234.00 a month. It might not be a lot but it helps me pay my fuel bill. I don’t think any one case is going to beat Hartford, but if we all got after them for fraud and the stress and everything else they have put us all through, maybe it would go public and maybe get an investigation going and maybe we could help someone else.

Some of my conditions: copd, ashd, diffuse arthralgia, cervical intervertebral disc, depresion, osteoarthritis of the hips – and this is only some of what I have.

Lynn Rogers:

I have a two-part question about Hartford Insurance. Their reps have told me several different answers in the past. I am shocked to see that others have experienced the same thing I have. However, I have two add’t questions/comments.

1 – Because of being a federal employee, I did not pay into SS. Early on, I had a case worker at Hartford who said she was going to deduct a certain amount because I would not apply for Social Security (SS). She did not understand that as a federal employee under CSRS, we are not entitled to SS. I went through depression, stress and anxiety trying to get that straight. Because of that, to be smart, Hartford has deducted what I receive in retirement disability from the fed. gov’t. Are they allowed to do that? All these many years, I was paying premiums for a certain amount per month and haven’t seen that amount yet.

2 – I have an injury from an accident in the early 90’s that has now caused me to go out on full-time disability. I have no illness, it’s an injury. Hartford is trying to classify it as an illness and said that I will be cut off in a year of so because I would have met the maximum number of years for an illness. I asked them where did they get that from. They told me a low back injury is an illness not an injury. Why would they classify a low back injury as an illness. This happened after they had tried every trick in the book for not wanting to pay. What I get from Hartford help pays my mortgage. Without it, I’ll lose my house as I’m unable to work. My injury gets worse every year. I’m in chronic pain and it hurts from sitting or standing. My legs numb up and give out from underneath of me. I take several different medications. I’m miserable for the most part but I must still live. Again, how can they classify a low back injury as an illness?

Attorney Greg Dell:

Lynn,

I will try to answer your questions about Hartford.

1 – Your Hartford Disability Policy will specifically state whether or not they can deduct retirement benefits. If the policy says that they can, then it is legal for them to do so.

2 – Your second question is challenging because of the fact that you had your accident more than 10 years before you filed your claim for disability insurance benefits. In order to be disabled by an accident, you usually need to file for disability within close proximity to your accident. I don’t think you will be able to make a strong connection to an accident from more than 10 years ago.

Anna:

A lot of people I talk with in my support group ask: Why isn’t there a class action lawsuit against Hartford? (I am with Hartford). We realize we have different terms in our policy and are owed different amounts. It would be nice to send a message – maybe fight where they cant sell policies in FL.

Also, if you are denied short term disability and more evidence comes up, that supports original claim, can you submit it? I am not under ERISA.

Attorney Greg Dell:

Anna,

You ask a great question about class action lawsuits and you basically answer it at the same time.

Federal Class Actions have very strict laws and it is difficult to get a class certified. In order to bring a class action, all of the class claimants must be similarly situated. With disability claims, most claimants have different language in each of their policies. If everyone in the class has the same disability policy, then it is much easier to bring a class action. Alternatively, if Hartford has an illegal claims handling practice that affects everyone the same, then a class action may be able to be filed. We have filed a class action against Prudential Insurance Company based upon a method of operation that affected all policy holders the same.

In you second question you asked if you can continue to send new medical information to Hartford. As long as you have not exhausted all of your appeals, Hartford is required to review any new information that is sent to them.

Anna:

Thank you.

I hope, if you see a pattern with clients ref. Hartford, that you consider (if legally possible) a class action against them. I appreciate your response. It is sad that an insurance company can be so dishonest/tricky.

Marcella Purinton:

I recently had to have abdominal surgery to remove my ovaries and cysts as well as many adhesions & scar tissue from many previous surgeries. I was very high risk. My doctor wanted me out for 6-8 weeks, I ended up receiving my STD until 6 weeks, then the clinician at Hartford decided that I was healed enough and that they would not extend my benefits to 8 weeks, which is how long I had to stay out. My doctor’s office stated they have never dealt with such difficult people before. And as far as I have to say is everyone of them are bitches.

Jack Winebarger:

The insurance companies better enjoy. The public has had enough of companies like Hardford. Insurance reform is just around the corner. Now you bank on it!

Tim D.:

My wife has a claim approved for 25 years. We have contacted Hartford about a settlement. They have started to gather paperwork. How long should this take and does Hartford offer decent settlements?

Attorney Greg Dell:

Tim,

Occasionally a claimant will receive a Hartford lump sum buyout offer of a long term disability insurance policy. The process can take anywhere from 30 to 180 days, depending upon the medical records in the possession of Hartford. There are a lot of factors that go into a company deciding whether or not they want to extend a buyout offer. We have negotiated some “decent” Hartford lump sum settlement offers in the past. Whether an offer is “decent” is a decision that the claimant must make. If you check out the lump sum buyout section of our website you can see some of our videos discussing the pros and cons of a lump sum buyout. Fell free to contact us if you would like assistance in receiving a maximum lump sum buyout offer.

Anabella:

Can Hartford be held responsible? I was denied STD for mental illness. All correct paperwork was sent from doctors. I was denied and went on appeal. I have copies of whole record. I told the appeal specialist, several times and in writing, that Hartford will be responsible if I do not receive the help I need and I am forced, by Hartford, to go back working in my profession.

It is over a year. I am beyond broke! Although I am “not right”, I may have to go back to work.
Although I want no trouble I feel Hartford gives no choice, but for sick people to return to work.

I know everything in my file is documented. Hartford should be responsible.

Anabella:

What is your take on Hartford being held responsible – it is all documented in Hartford’s file. Hartford never allowed me to get the help I needed. They kept saying I am fine, then kept throwing lies at me. I am unable to work. Hartford beats you down.

Debbie:

Am I understanding this right, that if you can get in a car and drive then you are able to work? What can you do or not do while on LTD? I have been on it since December 2010 for 3 herniated discs which resulted in severe pain and inability to walk for over 6 weeks, the only thing I could do is sit or lie down. I am receiving LTD still, however I found out today that my annuity amount from my last employer will be taken out of my disability amount and most likely will have to pay them the back pay. I recieved this insurance through my employer, but never signed anything or recieved a manual on what it does and does not cover. SSI has given me indefinate LTD because of stenosis of the back and mental anxiety. I know I can’t hold down a job and who would hire someone with disabilities? What do I need to watch out for, so I keep my LTD? Also, what if I move back to my home state of Texas, will this interupt my LTD?

Betty Moss:

I had back surgery on August 24th 2011. I saw my doctor on October 17th and he kept me off work another 8 weeks. Hartford quit paying me on October 9th. Anyone who has had back surgery knows it takes more than 6 weeks to heal from it. My checks were not even $200.00. How can anyone live on that?

Attorney Greg Dell:

Debbie,

You can live anywhere in the USA and it will not interrupt your long term disability insurance payments as long as you continue to treat with doctors. You can still be eligible for disability insurance benefits if you can drive, walk, sit and stand. You do not need to be bedridden. The issue is that you must have limitations in your ability to sit, stand, walk etc., which prevent you from being able to work. A good guideline is that you must be unable to work at least four hours a day with reasonable continuity during a 40 hour work week. The problem is that Hartford will videotape you doing something for an hour and make the assumption that you can return to work. Most people will have some good days, yet this does not mean they can return to work.

The things that a person can or cannot do while on disability really depends on the definition of disability in your disability policy. There are hundreds of different disability policies and the language can be different in each of them.

Alexandra Kanbovska:

Hello,

Does anyone know for how long Hartford is paying LTD due to a major depression? I’m just freaking out, as they may stop payments after two years…

Attorney Greg Dell:

Alex,

The amount of the time that Hartford will pay disability benefits for major depression is stated in your disability policy. Not all disability insurance policies limit a depression disability claim to two years.

Cynthia Gernannt:

I have been involved with the Hartford for long terrm disability after having a series of strokes. The agents are rude and difficult to deal with, pressing for my physician’s statements after he replies. Total disability, since my first stroke in 2000. I worked at a hospital in California for 26 years and paid into my long term disability all through my employment. Hartford also pays the premium on my life insurance policy with them, and they continually harass me. I am 60 years old.

SS:

Hi,

I was originally approved for CNA LTD benefits in 1999 due to a MVA. They made me apply for social security which I was awarded in 2002. That resulted in an over-payment, so they applied my monthly benefit toward the amount I now owed them. In 2004 they decided I was no longer disabled. One reason given was I had to move in with my parents because I could no longer take care of myself and they happened to have a 2 story home where I spent 23+ hours laying down and I rarely even went up and down the stairs. That was used against me to deny continuation of benefits. I was only there for 3 months before we bought a 1 story home.

I originally appealed by letter. I have no idea what my doctor said, I had only seen him once and my former doctors who had left all supported my disability. I am still on social security and my condition is no better. Is it too late to go after Hartford. The reason I didn’t pursue it earlier is I owed them quite a lot of money from social security overpayment and I had really hoped that my condition would of improved, so I could try to go back to work, but that was wishful thinking.

Sorry for such a long and jumbled post. Thanks for any information you might have as to my options.

SS

Attorney Greg Dell:

SS

The statute of limitations in each state is different, but if you have not filed an appeal or lawsuit since 2004 then the statute of limitations would bar any claim you made. Most states have statute of limitations that are between 3-4 years.

SS:

Thanks for your info.

Attorney Greg Dell:

SS,

You’re welcome. We regularly post additional information on this site and at facebook.com/diattorney which you may find helpful.

Charles Turner:

I worked as an over-the-road truck driver for Walmart for over ten years, and paid long term disability payments through my employer for nine years. Last year, I had to undergo surgery for Spinal Stenosis in my back and have been unable to work. The Hartford Insurance Company paid me benefits until today, terminating my benefits just like that. I am still under my doctor’s orders not to return to my job and has since had to let my job go because of company policies regarding leave time allowed. Now Hartford decides that my benefits don’t extend to 67 years of age as promised – but one year. What shall I do? No income as of today, that was so wrong.

Attorney Greg Dell:

Charles,

You need to file an Appeal of Hartford’s denial of your disability benefits. Feel free to call us to discuss your denial and we will let you know if we can assist you.

Robert Smith:

The Heartford is a joke. I am having all kinds of problems with them myself. I’m going to lose my job because of them. So, if that happens, I’m going to sue them. I think we all need to get a lawyer and sue the crap out of them. So maybe they will start treating people better. If anybody wants to join me, please email me at ss101228@yahoo.com. Thanks!

Alison:

If you are denied short term and long term through Hartford, how long does it take to file a lawsuit? The process seems to “beat” people down. What do you do when you are out of work – broke? I know it is a process, but how am I unable to work and live?

Along with your firm – who do we contact? I already contacted insurance commission.

I know, “be patient” – so, I sell my house for peanuts and live in a tent?

My case is so clear cut. Hartford should not practice in FL – I will set up a blog and have a petition for having them in unethical practice.

Attorney Greg Dell:

Alison,

Once all administrative appeals have been exhausted, then a lawsuit can be filed. Most ERISA disability lawsuits take between 6 – 12 months to reach a final judgment. In some cases a settlement can be negotiated within a few minutes. In addition to sending complaints your insurance commissioner, you can also send letters to your Federal Senators and Representatives.

Karen Thompson:

To whom it may concern,

I, Karen Thompson, dispute the claim of Hartfod Life for the amount of $11,829.11. I have not set out to manipulate, to deceive, or try to receive anything that was not due to me. The second party who represented Hartford (all sup) contacted me for a telephone interview. I was told that I could file for disability through social security. This was something I did not want to do from the on-set of the situation. I was told by an all sup representative that I did not have a choice. This was very disturbing because I have been paying Hartford Life through payroll deduction for 15 years for long term disability insurance. No one at Hartford had a problem as long as I was paying them to receive this service, however, as soon as I was stricken with cancer (acute myeloid leukemia) my choices about disability became no choices at all. Hartford pushed for disability through social security. Well, what I don’t understand was why I was paying Hartford Life all these money for 15 years? What should have been told from the beginning was that Mrs. Thompson, if anything happens to you, Hartford Life will only pay you a certain dollar amount and the rest you will have to receive from Social Security. If this was told to me upfront I would have NEVER EVER selected Hartford Life!

What’s really sad is that I have been fighting for my life and continuing to do so and this insurance company that I’ve been paying money to for 15 years with no lapse in payment is now all of a sudden telling me that I owe them $11,829.11. Something is wrong with this picture. Hartford Life tells me I don’t have a choice. I have to file for disability through social security and when social security pays me Hartford Life tells me that’s this was their money. WOW!!! I don’t think I saw anyone from Hartford Life laying next to me going through extreme doses of chemotherapy, losing all of their hair, extreme pain, stomach so upset until you can’t stand the smell of any odor, your skin practically leaving your body, so much medication until you don’t know if you’re actually alive or if you have died. I didn’t see God break anyone down from Hartford almost to the point of death. All I want is for Hartford is to provide the service that I payed them for. I want Hartford Life to give me what is due to me.

Jerry:

I have been receiving long term disablity benefits via The Hartford. They paid for a lawyer to represent me in my SSI case. For the past two years I have received half of $3000 from The Hartford and half from the SSI. My ex-wife has sole custody of my three children. $1000 has been coming out of my Hartford check for child support. My ex applied for SSI due to my disablilty for my three children and received a lump sum of money for retroactive pay, as well as a monthly payment for each child. Now The Hartford is saying they are counting all the money my ex received as income to me. I do not live with them. So they are stopping my money and charging me all the money my ex received. So no I owe them like $20000 and they are stopping the child support payment. So I will have to pay it out of my SSI check. This leaves me with $500 to live on. Is this legal?

Attorney Greg Dell:

Jerry,

This situation can be legal if your Hartford disability policy contains language which includes SSDI offsets for your children as well. You may find this Frequently Asked Question on our website helpful: Can a disability insurance company claim an overpayment for social security disability benefits payable to a child as result of the parent’s disability?

Sarah:

I have been on LTD with the Hartford since the fall of 2009. I was diagnosed with bipolar in 2004, and worked for several years with this condition. In July 2009, I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis.

Last week I was contacted by someone affiliated with the Hartford to meet with me in my home and assess my ability to work. The man arrived early, and when he was informed that I had bipolar as well as MS, he replied that he did not know about my mental illness. This was shocking to me as my psychiatrist has sent paperwork to the Hartford a multitude of times.

The main reason I am unable to work is the unpredictability of the two diseases, and the adverse affects some of the medication for the MS has on the Bipolar (I explained all this to him). I was honest with him about my functioning. At the end of the video he showed my a 5 minute video of me going into a local supermarket, taking my boyfriend’s grandmother to a doctor appointment, and stopping at a deli to buy lunch. Now, the “investigator” did say that I did nothing in the video that I told him I couldn’t do. However, as paranoia is a symptom of bipolar this has made my conditions worse. Do I have any rights? Will they spy on me again?

Attorney Greg Dell:

Sarah,

They can video you at anytime and they will likely do it again. You may want to review our FAQ section which discusses video surveillance by disability insurance companies and field interviews. If you would like assistance with your claim and dealing with Hartford, please contact us for a Free Consultation.

Sherri Rollan:

I have been denied short term disability through Walmart (Hartford). I have been out of work since 11-16-2011. I have used all my vacation, sick and personal hours. I had a total knee replacement on 12-12-2011. I am still unable to walk or stand even though I go to therapy 3 times a week. I have been with the company for almost 9 years and have been paying for STD and LTD ever since I was able to have it taken out of my paycheck.

I think this is very unfair. I was counting on getting my disability until I was able to go back to work and now I have been going without any kind of paycheck for a month and I have bills that are now coming in and I can hardly pay for them. I have to choose to either pay a bill or eat or have my medicine.

I think Walmart and Hartford are ripoffs, and I think it’s odd that when you try to file again the disability claims on walmart.com are always under maintenance.

Now I ask you how fair is it after you have worked for a company for almost 9 years and are treated like dirt!!! If you are having the same problems please email me and we can share our hatred for Walmart. My email address is rollanrenee@yahoo.com.

Thanks,
Sherri

Roger:

I have been receiving monthly LTD payments from The Hartford for almost 2 years. During a recent conversation with one of their Ability Analysts I raised the possibility of receiving a single lump sum payment instead of my current monthly payments. The analyst confirmed that The Hartford does indeed do this, and she said that she would look into it and get back to me.

I’m aware that The Hartford will offer me less in a lump sum payment than I am scheduled to receive if I continue to collect my disbursements on a monthly basis, but my question is this: What percentage offer by The Hartford would you consider to be low, average, and high?

Some background information: My LTD policy with The Hartford will pay me until I am 65 years old, and at my current monthly disbursement rate I will have collected $2,520,000 by my 65th birthday. So to recap: What % of this $2.52M, if paid out in a lump sum, would you consider (a) Unacceptable, (b) Par-for-the-course, or (c) A reason to celebrate?

Attorney Greg Dell:

Roger,

Great question. In some situations Hartford will engage in a disability lump sum buyout negotiation. There are numerous factors involved with determining whether a buyout offer is good or not. Some of the factors involve the definition of disability in the policy, the interest rate used to calculate the present value of future disability payments, the mortality factor discount used by Hartford, the reserve set by the insurance company and the tax implications of a lump sum.

I discuss each of these factors in more detail in a video located here: Lump-Sum Policy Buyouts.

In an undisputed claim, a buyout offer of between 65-75% of the present value is the most that would ever be offered. On a daily basis we negotiate buyouts for disability claimants. If you would like to discuss a potential buyout in more detail, please call us for a free consultation.

Robert Cutts:

Hello my name is Robert Cutts, I have a Desmoid tumor surrounding a major artery in my abdomen. Treatment through Chemotherapy activated an Entrovirus in my stomach that causes severe Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. There is no known cure for the tumor or Entrovirus. Hartford sent an investigator to my home for a three hour interview, at the end of the interview the investigator showed my some videos of my activities outside of my home which proved nothing. Example, during the interview the investigator asked me if I can wash or polish my car and I told him I take it to the car wash. He had video of me giving the car wash attendant a tip and driving my car away, I don’t see where this has anything to do with my being able to work 40 hours a week. He had some other videos that was just as dumb as that. Hartford sent packages to all of my Doctors including the videos. My Doctors all thought it was a very dirty way to do business. One of my Doctors thought it so underhanded that they gave me the whole package.

A strong word of advice if Hartford wants to do an interview, have someone else there with you and tell them that if they have video you want to see it BEFORE proceeding with the interview.

Attorney Greg Dell:

Robert,

Thanks for sharing you experience about Hartford. We have discussed Hartford’s field interviews in some of our videos and blog postings on this site. You can watch our Hartford video here. Hartford is notorious for showing up for a 2-3 hour interview and then toward the end showing you an authorized video of them following you around for days. We always advise Hartford disability claimants to have an attorney represent them if Hartford request to interview them.

Austin Young:

Hartford denied short-term disability to my pregnant girlfriend – really unethical company!

Frank:

I’m insurded with this so-called Ins. Co. I just happened to be looking around in the net and found you folks. I to have an ugly story, just like the rest I have read. I cannot believe that I work for this company and now have a claim with them.

I did not work in this department of claims. One thing I can say, I never treated any Insuredd or Claimant the way these other departments are doing.

What everyone dosen’t understand is that the CEO and the rest of the upper dept. heads need to make their million dollar salaries, and if it means put the ***** to the insurers, so be it.

I just got a letter from them today about my medical insurance, they want me to go to Med. Care, only problem here in Hawaii most doctors will not accept Med. Care. They want them to be primary and my other secundary.

I’m on LTD, I’m 62 and a half. I have a lot of questions I would like to ask you folks a little later once the shock of whats going on settles down. Thank the LORD I just happened to find you. I will keep reading and try to learn more.

Oh, I had a heart attack at work and they made some bubus. The doctors I can forgive and have, but Hartford I can’t for now.

Thank You.

Dana Olita:

I am approved for SS and Hartford disability. I have RA which is a chronic disease that you have good and bad days. I had an investigator come to my home yesterday and question me and show me videos. The videos showed nothing I didn’t say I couldn’t do, like small shopping driving etc. The funny thing is, they supposedly followed me to an amusement park and video taped me all day but it wasn’t me it was someone else. The investigator agreed it wasn’t me. The root of the investigation is years ago we owned retail stores that are long since closed and defunct. They made me sign forms to turn over my joint tax returns and SS statements. Is it legal? They now will have my husband and children’s confidential info. Is this normal and should I be expecting my claim to be suddenly denied? What are the next steps?

Attorney Greg Dell:

Dana,

Most disability carriers are entitled to receive a copy of your tax return in order to verify your income, if any. You can black any information on the tax return related to your husband or children. You should not expect your claim to be denied, but if Hartford came to see you, then they may be considering a denial. You can sit and wait to see if they deny you, or you could hire an attorney to protect your benefits each month. Please watch our video on Monthly Claim Handling Services.

Karen:

I had Scoliosis surgery in February 2012 to correct a reversed “S” curved spine. I am cut from almost my neck to almost my butt. Have rods, screws and all the hardware now. Had lots of fussings done. My FMLA expired January 13, 2012. My Short Term Disability is expiring in the next couple of days. I have applied for the Long Term Disability though Hartford and talked to a guy on the phone yesterday that said they didn’t have the needed info from the doc yet. BS, I faxed the paperwork Hartford sent me and my surgeon’s office filled out and even got confirmation from Hartford that they received it. The guy asked if I was ready to go back to work on June 1st. I see the surgeon this next Monday and am still having OT and if my shell comes off, I will resume PT. Excuse me, does this joker really think I will be ready to return to work in ONE month? By the way, my “Medical Leave” (Not FMLA) expires on May 9th so I will be out a job anyway. So Mr. Joker goes on to further tell me that if the surgeon releases me to return to work that NO matter if I have a job or not and don’t return to work then NO BENEFITS! Let’s all pray that SSI will approve my claim.

Attorney Greg Dell:

Karen,

The person you are talking to at Hartford obviously is incompetent. It is doubtful your doctor will release you to return to work after such a major surgery. You need to get good medical support from your doctor. If you would like assistance with dealing with Hartford, please let us know.

H. F.:

Hartford LTD Co. is worthless. Named then Heartless! They paid me for almost 2 years after a botched AXIAL IF, lumbar fusion. I was diagnosed with a non-union. Coverage ended in November 2011, even though I am receiving SSD, and bed bound 90%, completely since Nov. 2011. In March, I underwent a Harrington Rod fusion which again failed. I will be having my 3rd fusion attempt next week. Both 2nd and 3rd surgeries were paid by me as I am so sick of the medical, legal system in US that I moved to Philippines! I worked 33 years as manual physical therapist, and am totally drained from this situation. Thanks to Alex from Dell & Schafer we will be suing them!

Ray:

I have a disability plan that pays 60% of my pre disability income. There is a statement in the plan that states my pre disability income will be increased on a yearly basis starting on the 13th month benfits are payable by 4%. I contend that this 4% increase also increases my monthly/yearly benefit. The insurance rep said no as did my lawyer. I am irate as it seems like my lawyer is working for the insurance company and so a fair settlement could not be reached I lost my leverage and now will let a court not a lawyer decide. My lawyer wanted me to get a notarised letter from another lawyer stating my opinion is correct and wanted me to send him a court case indicating my position. Needless to say I will write the disciplinary board about his conduct as the day I find a lawyer making judicial decisions it is time to get a new lawyer.

Attorney Stephen Jessup:

Ray,

In most ERISA based long term disability policies provided by your employer there are no adjustments to the benefit due to a COLA increase. The language you are referring to is most likely with respect to how the carrier will evaluate your pre-disability earnings for purposes of a review for, or the definition of Total Disability under an Any Occupation period. If your policy does not explicitly say that your monthly disability benefit will increase then it will not. I would recommend you ask your attorney for further clarification as it relates to your claim.

Ray:

Thank you Stephen, I am to be paid a portion (%) of my “pre disability earnings” —- a glossary if STD & LTD states:

The glossary of insurance terms indicates the following ” C.O.L.A. ” Cost of living adjustment ” see indexing.

Indexing – Indexing is designed to provide some protection against inflation in LTD plans. After the first year of disability, a disabled employee’s pre-disability earnings are usually increased (or indexed) by a certain percentage on an annual basis.

Pre-Disability Earnings – This is an amount of an employee’s wages or salary that was in effect and covered by the plan before disability began. Some policies index Pre-Disability Earnings in order to compensate for inflation.

The 4% pre disability indexing in my plan is not explicit to the definition of disability nor earnings but I would submit the IRS could consider it as part of an estate valuation.

Thanks again.

Andre Shell:

I received short term and long term disability. After two years, my contract with the company I worked, Hartford, stated that I was not considered disabled after two years of receiving disability and had to be re-evaluated. I filed a dispute and now they are saying my doctors are not supporting my disability and I need a doctor to say that I have COPD, Asthma, Scoliosis, High blood, Osteoarthristis, Degenerative Disc, Torn Rotator Cuff on both shoulders and Type II diabetes.

Can you recommend a doctor who detects these illnesses and support my disability in Hyattsville, MD or surrounding?

Steve B.:

Hartford sends me every year an Authorisation Form to disclose all records of my private life. It says on the form that I have the right to revoke this authorisation at any time. I have never signed this form as I have had trouble with identity fraud in the past. I do however provide to Hartford all relevant documentation that they need. Every year they try to badger me into signing this
Disclosure. Can they legally make me?

Thank you.

Attorney Stephen Jessup:

Steve,

Hartford can’t “legally” make you sign the document, but you should be aware that failure to comply with requests for information from Hartford could lead them to investigate the claim or even deny the claim. The most important thing is that you provide the information required for Hartford to make a claim determination, which it appears you are doing. Additionally, you can cross out areas of the Authorisation you do not wish to grant access to. If you do so, please indicate that you are willing to provide information upon specific request.

Linda:

Why Pay for 25+ plus to Hartford through a very large company and then find out that my Fibromyalgia is not a proven illness, yet I can barely get out of bed and in constant pain? I cannot believe Hartford and taking your money for this long and denying LTD on the basis that their doctors and 3rd party peers have reviewed and basically tell me I’m not sick. They should live with the pain I have and now I’m even more sick and nerves are totally shot because of Hartford.

Attorney Stephen Jessup:

Linda,

Unfortunately, your situation is quite common. Hartford commonly writes limitations in their policies to limit conditions such as Fibromyalgia to two years. If you still have an appeal left, or if your claim is ripe for lawsuit, please feel free to contact us for a free consultation to see how we may be able to assist you.

Alisa Bozarth:

My long-term disability company decided I am now well and can go back to work. I have neuropathy, fibromyalgia, bone spurs on C5-C6 which are effecting the nerves in my right arm and hand, had L4-L5 fusion in 2012, severe sleep apnea, asthma and low iron. I am on a large amount of medications including oxycontin, hydrocodone, Neurontin, lyrica and ambien. Obviously, I would not be the ideal candidate for any company. I have 180 days to appeal. Do you think I should hire an attorney? If so, how much would it cost to get my $2,500 per month reinstated?

Attorney Stephen Jessup:

Alisa,

If you are unable to return to work and your only source of income is the disability benefit, then I would recommend you consult with an attorney. Hartford allows one level of appeal, after that your only option is to file suit. If you have spent any time on our website you will know that ERISA litigation is very pro-insurance company. Please feel free to contact our office to discuss your claim and how we may assist.

David:

My wife has been denied for 9 months at a time even though they had all the paperwork several times over. We have lost our home 3 times due to Hartford not paying out. When they do pay they don’t pay out on the percentage my wife paid to receive. They are now saying that SSI is paying my wife one amount that isn’t even close to correct so they can pay her a very small amount. We have asked over the phone email and through standard mail for the contract they were holding my wife to. They still have not sent it. I can not seem to get my wife’s work to send old pay-stubs to prove the disability amount she paid for. What do we do?

Attorney Stephen Jessup:

David,

You need to contact your wife’s former employer to get a copy of her Policy. Technically Hartford does not have to keep a copy of same. With respect to old pay-stubs, again you will have to contact her former employer to receive copies of those.

Natalie:

The Hartford states a dollar for dollar overpayment of benefits if I get approved for SSDI for me and any dependents has to be paid back to them. What I don’t quite understand is my LTD is not taxable income, and my SSDI will be. So if I get 30,000 in back pay I have to give it all to the Hartford, and then turn around and pay the government $4,500 or more in taxes on the money that wasnt really mine? How is that right? If it is now taxable when the money from the Hartford wasnt, then that at the very least should be deducted from what I have to pay back to them. I am losing out here big time. Is there anything that can be done here?

Attorney Stephen Jessup:

Natalie,

This is a topic that has been up for quite a bit of discussion recently, and as of right now we unfortunately don’t have a clear cut answer to the question. In some cases we are working on we are awaiting responses from various carriers as to how they will address this point.

Richard Hathorn:

Unfortunately in the Appeal process is it too late to hire a lawyer.

Got call today from The Hartford saying that they do read the Facebook and he understood why I was upset that my appeal had not been assigned to any one yet and said some one should finally contact me tomorrow from the appeal’s office. And if anyone needs to know found out yesterday that they have 45 days to do something.

As I was told I received a call feom the appeals manager. Who let me know I should have an appeals specialties assigned shortly that the appleas department is presently backlogged and are getting to appleals as they are recieved. As I am presently having ro spend most of my time in bed I will try to keep everone up dated about what is going on with The Hartford at work claim. Thats for all the messages of support hope to know something soon.

Day 18 of the appeal denied August I am broke waiting on appeal and there social security lawyers.

Day 25 of the appeal process heard from the appeals manager that they are really back logged this time of the year and some people where skipped hopefully next week they can get to mine. Will try to keep every one wanting to know about my appeals process with the Hartford updated though I restart radiation shots again Wednesday for the next 12 weeks.

Well another week down now day 32 of the Hartford appeal process they have assigned a special now that said it could take two to three more weeks for the appeal to start as they have to get my doctors information again then they are getting their own neurologist and neurosurgeon to go over Dr. Stringers (Whom Governor Rick Scott Monday announced the appointment of Dr. Merle P. Stringer of Panama City to the Florida Board of Medicine) and Dr. Adhal’s (Board Trustee at Sacred Heart Hospital) paperwork.

Well another week down now day 39 of the Hartford appeal process and nothing new yet from them. Did hear that the 45 day appeals process is always extended for they do not make the disition on the the patient’s doctors information the base it on their doctors information.

Jackie:

Hartford is repeatedly calling and sending letters to me saying that they have not received documentation from a certain doctor. The nurse at the doctor’s office says they have sent them repeatedly. I went and picked their records and mailed them myself before Christmas. They claimed they never received those. They are threatening to deny my claim because they have not received the documentation. In hindsight, I should have sent the papers registered mail. I had a heart attack Jan. 8th. I called and spoke with nurse case manager who claimed she had called me and I wouldn’t return her call. Not true. I told her I was very sick and felt this was very close to harassment. It actually is, I think. I am going to resend papers certified mail. Just wanted to let everyone know how they operate. They are making me crazy from the stress and anger.

Attorney Stephen Jessup:

Jackie,

I am sorry to hear of your difficulties. You are certainly not alone in them. You are right; the best way to deal with an insurance company is a paper trail that should include a signature receipt confirmation for important documents. Should you have continued difficulty with Hartford, please feel free to contact our office to discuss your rights and options.

Fran Alt:

My son worked for Walmart for 18 years before he was diagnosed with stage four melanoma with mets to brain, lymph nodes, illiac chain and more. He was given a few months to live. That all began in April of 2011. I learned that doctors at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center announced a new chemo, actually two new chemos that were prolonging life in melanoma patients. We told three local oncologist who said, those meds will kill him! This after he told me my son had three months to live! I left that NC doctor and went to a University and told them what I knew about Sloan. We went to Sloan and the University docs followed their regimen. Bottom line: my son got SSD, and after a long wait, a lump sum check for short term disability from the Hartford. He was expecting the same for his long term and was hoping to buy a handicap van with the money, instead, they gave him $59 a month. He is still terminal and due to the location and damage from brain tumors, he is quadriplegic. I checked the Walmart site and I guess this $59 is legal. Shame because his total medical insurance is more than $700 a month. His chemotherapy is in pill form and costs $8,500 a month. His income is $1,025 from SAD and $59 from Hartford. He will never get to see much of the long term money he counted on for the van. Too bad we all do not read the fine print!

Attorney Stephen Jessup:

Fran,

Our thoughts are with your son. Unfortunately, group disability policies allow the benefit to be offset by the amount received from Social Security and other sources of enumerated “Other Income.”

J:

Hello,

I realize the Hartford insurance company can follow and record me once I leave my house. Is it legal for them to set up video survaillance on the outside of my house to record me on the inside of the house? Or even record me in my own back yard?

Thank you!

Attorney Stephen Jessup:

J,

I have yet to see any instance where an insurance carrier videotapes inside a house, so you have little to worry about there. If your backyard is visible from the street or a public area, then I would caution you that it would be fair game.

Tom Downs:

I was 56 years old in 2006 when I was diagnosed with Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease (a form of Muscular Dystrophy) which is totally disabling. I started receiving SSD and LTD from Hartford and they have been very fair with me. In August I will turn 65 years old and Hartford tells me my benefits will stop. Their LTD policy states that if you become disabled at 61 years old or younger, you will receive benefits until Social Security Normal Retirement Age. In 2006 the normal retirement age was 66 years old. What can I do?

Attorney Stephen Jessup:

Tom,

You should definitely write them to seek clarification on that issue. If the policy states benefits are to be paid until you reach your SSNRA, then you should be entitled to the extra year of benefits. It may be that the claims person wasn’t paying attention to the policy language and defaulted to the standard age 65 maximum benefit. If they do continue to insist the benefit ends at 65, then please feel free to contact our office to discuss how we may be able to assist you in securing the final year of benefit.

Gerald Farries:

Was on getting LTD from Hartford ,now on SSDI and they cancelled my LTD. My dr. said he have done all he can do for me and now I go to a pain managment to get my meds, for pain for back fusion and legs pains, the pain management will not fill out any forms that is their policy. Now Hartford wants more forms filled out but my back dr. will not see me any more till it is time for a check up in a couple of years. What can I do so to get what Hartford said they would pay me till I am 65 on top of SSDI?

Attorney Stephen Jessup:

Gerald,

If you have not already filed your appeal please feel free to contact our office to discuss how we may assist you in filing same.

Robert Cavanna:

My wife works for Weis Markets. She was off for 4 months for surgery. Hartford the disability carrier for Weis, closed her account 2 and a half weeks before she went back to work. I have her call Every Day, she got to talk to a person 1 time and they said they would investigate it. Still waiting to talk to a person again or have anything done. They suck!

Natalie:

I have been on LTD with The Hartford for a year. Out of the blue they are sending me for an Independent Medical Exam. I am afraid this is their attempt to try and get me off of benefits. Do I need a lawyer or should I wait and see what happens?

Attorney Stephen Jessup:

Natalie,

Hartford does not typically send claimants for Independent Medical Evaluations, especially so early in the claim. Your fears might be reasonable. I would also caution you that Hartford utilizes video surveillance extensively and will most likely videotape you the days before, after and on the date of the IME. Please feel free to contact our office to discuss your claim further.

Jules:

Why does The Hartford send paperwork about what you can do and can’t, then I just sent it in, then they called me and told me that they received it and someone from their office would contact me to have a interview with me at my home in a week or so. That was today, they called and told me this so waiting on phone call.

Question: why are they comming to my home and can I request me meet somewhere else?

And I’m reading about these people following and recording you, do you think that’s why they are doing a home visit? And I may add me moved a couple months ago and I’m still giving old address so if they have been watching me they would of diffently had to try to track me, I guess.

Can you please help with my questions so I know what to do in the interview as well as do they have to come to my home? And I have been diagnosed with RSD or need name these days CRPS. I have good days and bad but my symptoms have calmed down but this stuff is not curable just managed with pain meds and I can’t stay on my feet all day from the work I was doing before and I’m having other problems as this disease spreads and is triggered by stress etc.

Attorney Stephen Jessup:

Jules,

You can certainly request to have the interview conducted at a neutral location outside of your home. Please be advised that Hartford typically performs video surveillance prior to an in person interview.

Gloria Anderson:

Dear God – just reading all these posts lets me know this “company” should be brought before the Dept. Of Justice for their TOTAL disregard for the law. They probably think they are untouchable. So did Al Capone.

Fostina:

I’m currently on my 23rd month of LTD with The Hartford and about a month ago I completed their mandatory IME. There has been no correspondence from the IME doctor to my doctor (my dr fully supports me not working at this time due to chronic pain, spinal fusion, neuropathy in hands & feet) to further discuss my case & also when I ask for an update the Hartford Analysis knows nothing re: my case moving forward. My last check will be June, why is everything so last minute? I feel very much in the dark & filled with stress & anxiety, should I be doing anything now to prepare for the future i.e. consulting, etc? I cannot afford to go on as I am today without a monthly income. What should I do?

Help please!
Fostina

Attorney Stephen Jessup:

Fostina,

It may be in your best interest to consult an attorney. Hartford does not typically require an IME as part of its review process, and the scheduling of same may be a precursor to a claim denial. Please feel free to contact our office to discuss your claim further.

Chris:

I was receiving disability from the Hartford and Susan sent forms to my doctors requesting tye same thing they always require. My doctors didn’t return these ro her as they have policies that they get paid a certain amount for filling out forms. My policy said if I received social security before they pay ltd that I will receive full ltd and not have the offset. She stopped paying me and I have been trying to get them to restart my payments. Social Security is sending me a letter saying that my I was disabled as of my last day of work and my benefits with them started march 20, 2010 the Hartford didn’t start until may as I wasn’t allowed to even file my short term disability till after I had been out for a while. They started paying the end of April or May of 2010. I have heard nothing from themon rrestarting my payments and she has yet to send me copies of the forms so I can take them to my physicians to be filled out. I’ve lost one of my doctors to cancer and one will be retiring as of June 30th 2014. I now I received benefits in 2013 as I had to file it on my taxes but it has been almost a year now and no response from them. I mailed information to them and finally faxed aome of it about a month ago and still nothing. I’m not sure what to do at this point as I have had no response from them. I don’t know if they’re still waiting to see what social security has to say or what… I explained to them in my letter that had a doctors report attached (faxed) that ibwas sending them yet another copy of that and requested again thatvshe send me the forms so I could take them in and have them filled out and return them to her but have heard nothing from them and they stopped paying a while back. Any help would be greatly appreciated!

Attorney Stephen Jessup:

Chris,

Was the cessation of benefits due to a denial of your claim, if so have you filed an appeal of the denial? Please feel free to contact our office to discuss your claim further.

Peggy Horton:

I have been on SSD and Hartford Disability for 3 years and Hartford sent me for a IME to a Dr. that did truck driver exams for Dot exams and workers comp injuries. I am off work for Meniere’s which this Dr. did not specialize in. But he did do a hearing test and did tell me that I did have Meniere’s in his opinion. This was done 4/14 and I have asked for a copy of this IME and was told that I could not have a copy of my own medical record but they would call me back around the end of May / the first of June, that they were having it reviewed right now by their team. They said they would send a copy to my Dr. and would call me when this was done so I could request a copy from him. I have never received this call. I call my Dr. yesterday and they said they never received a copy of it. My question is, is it not my right to have a copy of my own medical records if I request it?

Attorney Stephen Jessup:

Peggy,

Hartford does not have a duty at this time to provide you directly with a copy of the IME report. However, if your claim were to be denied then they would have an absolute duty to provide it to you. It should also be noted that Hartford would typically send the IME report to your doctor for review and comment if Hartford was in the process of reviewing the claim for a potential denial of benefits. Other than that Hartford would not provide a copy to your doctor without a written request. If you have not already, I would suggest you make a written request to Hartford to send a copy of the report to your doctor.

Audrey Olivia Bland:

I recently had a total knee replacement surgery in June I applied for STD through Hartford which is offered through my employer. I received one payment of $532.00 on the 11th of july at which time my analyst Linda Wood stated she would be sending me paperwork for more medical information she needed for my claim long story short I never received the paperwork so without no notification Hartford terminated my claim stating I am no longer considered disabled even though they have all of my doctors notes from the surgery and my FMLA paperwork from my employer I tried contacting them on several occasions only to be ignored finally I called almost in tears about my payments to be told I would not receive my benefits until this paper is filled out to which they changed my termination status to pre-existing condition. I suffered with chronic arthritis pain and degenerative joint disease I had no cartilage left and that is why I needed the surgery in the meantime if I do not receive the money I can not pay my premuims for my medical benefits, my lights will be shut off and I can not buy food for myself or my dog and I need to pay my car insurance. I am totally pissed off right now and I intend to cut all ties with Hartford. I am at my wits end. I am not scheduled to go back to work until Sept 1st.

Attorney Stephen Jessup:

Audrey,

Please feel free to contact our office to discuss your claim for Short Term Disability benefits. Please note however, if your claim does fall under the pre-existing condition exclusion contained in your Long Term Disability policy there may be very little that can be done with respect to same.

CB:

I receive LTD and the policy I have says if I am receiving SS Disability before receiving LT benefits that my Social Security would not be offset it says that they will only be offset if I start receiving them after I start receiving LTD. I was entitled to SS benefits starting May 1, 2010. As per previous discussions with the company with regards to the contract I have with them it states that if I was receiving benefits from SS prior to receiving LTD from the company I am entitled to my full amount with no reductions under this agreement. I filed for my SS benefits before I was even allowed to file for my STD. LTD company did not start paying me LTD until May 22, 2010 they paid this in August of 2010 and went back as far as May 22, 2010 for my LTD. Social Security picked up as of May 1, 2010. My first LTD check covered from 05/22/10-08/31/10. Since I legally started receiving SSD before LTD started can they reduce my LTD legally?

Attorney Stephen Jessup:

CB,

We would need to know more about the specific facts surrounding your claim for benefits under SSDI and your insurance carrier. If the disability is based on the same condition or arises at the same time then the company may be entitled to offset the benefit. Furthermore, as the facts and circumstances giving rise to your question occurred over 4 years ago you may possibly be precluded from pursuing legal recourse on account of the Statute of Limitations expiring. Please feel free to contact our office to discuss how we may be able to assist you.

J. U.:

I have a short term disability claim because I had a spinal fusion. I remained hospitalized for 16 days due to complications and my doctor gave me a ‘release to return to work’ that reads that after reviewing of essential functions of the employees position I determined that that the employee CAN NOT RETURN TO ANY TYPE OF WORK until: 3-6 month of recovery”. Today it is 2 moths and the insurance says they don not think I need to be on disability anymore since I am doing sedentary work and 3 months they do not think is reasonable and that they will forward my claim to some nurse for review.

I have a three levels in my lumbar spine fused and this was my fourth back surgery. This is the first surgery that has been with complications and serious set backs, in the past I was able to return much quicker so I never needed to go thru this awful process with short term disability.

In any case, I am physically not able to work, I cannot be up for even a half a day at this point, the longest I was able to sit or stand combined has been 1.5 hours or so. I also continue to have a low grade fever that was continuous for 5-6 weeks and is now coming and going but they still do not know from what.

Since the insurance said they think I am able to work I now provided them with my doctors release but they said that will not do.

Is there anything I can do to fight this? Is short term disability something any attorney will take on?

Thank you.

Attorney Stephen Jessup:

J. U.,

Please feel free to contact our office to discuss how we may be able to assist you in appealing Hartford’s denial.

Jules:

I have the Hartford LTD insurance. I have RSD also known as CRPS, it’s been a couple years now I have passed all their hoops they put me through. Well today just checked the mail and I have an appointment with some neurologist that I never made an appointment for. I find it super weird, who would be send me this? It’s the weekend but I left a message with the doctor’s office, stating I just received this. Didn’t make the appointment and wanted to know who is wanting to send me there, so we’ll see. On the other hand, I’m thinking probably the Hartford maybe, but I have not got any papers from them stating they were doing this, not a phone call or anything. I find it kinda weird! Any ideas before I hope to get an answer from the neurologist to see who wants this?

Attorney Stephen Jessup:

Jules,

Typically Hartford would advise you in advance that it wanted to send you form an IME. You can certainly call them to get to the bottom of it. The only other thing I can think of is if you have a pending SSDI claim and the request for the appointment was made by the SSA.

Thomas:

I have been totally and permanently disabled for several years now with severe heart disease. I was advised to take up disability by my Cardiologist and DSS after my 1st CABG, and worked several years before I finally had to, after a few more serious heart attack(s) and increased heart issues. I thought it was time for another CABG, but the surgeon that did my 1st CABG advised me I was no longer eligible for revascularization. All but one of the grafts were gone and not enough left to graft to on my native coronary arteries. End stage. After a lifetime career and preforming 5 different titles at once for the same company, I still attempted to try to work part time for several months, with easier tasks at work. The company was very good to me. But I just couldn’t do it anymore. I had to stop. My Cardiologist finally wrote me out as disabled and said I was going to kill myself. And that with what heart I have left, the only surgical procedures left would be a heart transplant, and it is not going to get any better. It is a life long event. So I was very dedicated, serious with the issues at hand and I followed all required steps and procedures with my STD. No problems with The Hartford although the first few months adjustments with income and getting checks on time. Once it was time to file for LTD, I also filed for SS-Disability and got it right away without any issues, questions or denials, which is hard to do with heart issues. (I really had hopes of a transplant then returning to some type of employment.) But they did say my medical records show the severity of my heart disease and they were not going to dispute it at all. I was also approved for my LTD from Hartford. So ever sense then I have gotten my SS-Disability and a % from Hartford to make up the difference to meet 60% pay of my income when I worked. Everything followed to the letter. Sense then my heart has only gotten worse and my health has failed miserably. A few more heart attacks and other serious heart issues. And now suffering from CHF/Congestive Heart Failure (Moderate Left Ventricle Dysfunction) and living via a ICD (Pacemaker/Defibrillator Implant). I have suffered 6 V-Fib (Ventricle Fibrillation) events (death) over the past 2/3 years and only survived due to my ICD and on my 3rd ICD already. The first V-Fib event was triggered by 15 minutes of simple light yard work, and I fell into a 9 ft deep culvert nearly breaking my back and neck. 5 others in a single morning just before a heart cath, for a Adult Stem Cell Study I was going to receive. So bad it nearly killed my ICD. After the V-Fib events, the heart surgeon said they are afraid to do anything else to agitate/aggrivate my heart now, now that they have it stabilized and want to keep it that way as long as possible. And I asked them if that mean I am no longer considered disabled and I can return to a job, and he said absolutely not, my heart is still severely sick. SS-Disability deferred my 7 year review recently due to the severity and heart issues and last year Harford continued my LTD after I submitted my medical records, showing all of the ViFib events, other heart issues and CHF that I have suffered. And again my Cardiologist stated this is a life long debilitating event on the forms as he has every time. But this year Hartford asked for another update on my medical again. Which I had no issues, but when I asked why so soon, I got some remarks that really bothered me. “The Policy with my Employer changed…”, “we can ask for it every year now”, “They don’t go by SS-Disability definitions of Disabled” and so on. But my former employer had told me they do not use Hartford anymore? I also mentioned that with all this paper work with concerns, all of my heart issues and stress of getting it all correctly done in time, I may get a lawyer to fill them out for me because it is getting to be too much for me to handle mentally and physically. They did not like hearing that and told me that they will no longer be able to talk to me and it is really going to cost me a lot more if I do. Just to fill out some forms and assuring they are correct? (not to handle a suit or anything. Really?) That really intimidated me and scares me to death to think they can change the policy or definition of “disability” after a claim has been approved and still open. Or the fact I can’t go and get some professional help with the forms. I almost fear they want to cancel me because my former employer doesn’t use them anymore? Also, I mentioned it to my former HR person and they called them and requested a different case worker for my claim, but it was denied. I didn’t ask for that to happen but it did and was out of my control. Maybe the case worker has a issue with me now too? I have suffered a lot of Angina Attacks and stress because of this and nearly went to the ER it was so bad. I have had to take so much Nitro it alone makes me sick. I am not supposed to be under any undue stress. I almost feel like I am due for another heart cath now, just to monitor/check my hearts most accurate condition. (EF Rate and Left Ventricle Function) I am very, very afraid. But it cost so much and is very dangerous for my heart right now. I depend on every penny I do get to survive, I am homeless and have to live with someone else and go the last week of the month penniless. I have sense sent in the info requested with required signature upon delivery. And I have gotten one call and message from them asking me to call them back. I have tried several times and left messages, but have yet to hear from them. I am so afraid they are trying to find a reason to cancel my claim, watching me or videoing me and just looking for any reason at all. I am not sure what to say or do if they do cancel my claim. Can you please advise me, without giving them any legal reasons to stop communicating or working with me all together?

Attorney Stephen Jessup:

Thomas,

Typically if you hire an attorney the attorney will be the contact point with the insurance company as a safeguard to the client. If your claim is being actively investigated there stands a chance that Hartford could look to deny your claim based upon conversation you have with them. With respect to costing you “a lot more,” there are fees associated with representing a client, and although there is never a guarantee an insurance carrier will not deny a benefit, risks can be minimized with legal representation. Please feel to contact our office to discuss your claim and how we may be able to assist you with monthly claims handling.

Karen Townsend:

After 2 years of Hartford LTD, and after a detailed letter from SSD attorneys, stating that I was completely disabled and unable to work on any capacity, Hartford denied continuation of benefits. Through fraudulent practices both of my appeals were denied! My anethesilogist, who handles my severe pain, even sent a letter confirming my total disability. Hartford refused to even acknowledge it! Please help. My income was reduced over 1000 each month and I can’t even pay my bills!

Attorney Stephen Jessup:

Karen,

If all of your appeals have been denied your only option at this point may be to bring a lawsuit under ERISA. Please feel free to contact our office to discuss how we may be able to assist you with same.

Jules:

So an investigator came to my home and just asked questions which I was given a couple months advance notice this would be taken place. No, he didn’t pull out any video and meeting went well. Months later they asked for my trading doctor to evaluate me on what I can do and can’t. Well, he ended up wanting 3000 to do and Hartford I was told pays 350 per hour up to 1000 bucks. So they sent me to a neurologist that I have never seen before and was a complete joke. Nothing he asked was about what I had; he didn’t even read my complete file submitted by The Hartford that goes through DD Associates. To set this up the Dr. in the prior month cancled twice on top of sending papers about what I can and can’t do that he never even asked me tested me for, touched me etc.! I called the following morning to make a complaint. I was transfered to a nurse to tell them what this 5 min Dr. did and didn’t do. So I told them I didn’t know if or what the Dr. thought. I asked when will I know what he said. Hartford told me 2 weeks and if I was denied I asked how long till I can appeal. They told me 6 months. At this time I’m so pissed I had to travel out of town to deal with all of this and to be this neurologist last appt. for 5 min. So I said to Hartford what the heck is going on here. She says well he was supposed to see what your limits are based on interview recording and what was said and on top of surveillance that I had no idea about but I thought they would try to do. I’ve never dealt with The Hartford. This lady I spoke to, she was super nice and actually gave if I didn’t think she prob. was supposed to tell me, like the survillace.

So question is, since they didn’t whip of surveillance at the meeting investigation why did they do it after, is that normal? Then set up this appt. to see a neurologist. All this is happening at least 5-6 months apart. I find it kinda weird they would keep sending me checks if they had something bad on survillace over the last year, or is this normal?

Attorney Stephen Jessup:

Jules,

Hartford is clearly reviewing your claim- to what extent is unknown. How long have you been receiving benefits? If it has been approximately two years (or coming up on two years) then they are most likely reviewing your claim for continued benefits under the “Any Occupation” definition of disability. It is not uncommon for Hartford to review a claim over a matter of months and continue to send benefits until such time it thinks it has enough information to deny a claim.

Cindy:

I have several spine ailments including Degenerative Disk Disease, Spinal Stenosis and Scoliosis. After years of suffering severe back pain, I was forced to stop working and applied for LTD through my employer provided benefits. I have been receiving LTD from the Hartford since November 2013. I also filed for Social Security Disability and I was recently awarded SSDI benefits with retroactive payments totaling roughly $20,000.00. My LTD policy states that I have to pay the Hartford for this “overpayment.” I don’t deny that I owe them this money but I really need this money to pay past due bills and medical expenses as a result of my illness. I would like to make payment arrangements with the Hartford instead of sending them the whole amount immediately. I would prefer they with hold my $1,700.00 per month LTD payment for 12 months to repay the overpayment. In your opinion, would the Hartford accept a payment arrangement such as this? Would 12 months be considered too long? Would this jeopardize my future LTD payments from the Hartford? For instance would they be more inclined to cancel my LTD benefits because of this? Any insight would be much appreciated.

Attorney Stephen Jessup:

Cindy,

Hartford will typically negotiate repayment plans on overpayments, which can include withholding your monthly benefit to recoup same. With respect to the arrangement affecting your claim – chances are the repayment process will not. With that being said, Hartford policies often contain a two year own occupation definition of disability, as you have been on disability for 13 months this would most likely leave you with 11 months of benefits under this standard before the any occupation definition is applied. Despite being approved for SSDI, your claim will face increased scrutiny and likelihood of denial at that time.

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