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Episode 12 Liberty Mutual Long Term Disability Insurance Claims


Related Videos

Episode 12/1: Liberty Mutual Long Term & Short Term Disability Insurance Claims
Episode 12/2: Liberty Mutual Long Term Disability Insurance Claims

In this two part episode disability insurance attorneys Gregory Dell Stephen Jessup and Rachel Alters of Attorneys Dell & Schaefer discuss Liberty Mutual Disability Insurance Company and their handling of long term and short term disability insurance claims.

From our law firms experience of handling disability claims against every major disability company, Liberty Mutual is in the top three for most claim denials. Liberty appears to be very busy in evaluating disability insurance claims and that unfortunately results in unreasonable claim denials.

In this video our disability lawyers discuss disability lawsuits against Liberty Mutual, a recent Liberty Mutual disability denial of a client with fibromyalgia, and the disability claims handling tactics of Liberty.

Please note: Disability insurance attorney Gregory Michael Dell created Disability Insurance Law TV in order to educate long term disability claimants about common issues related to long term disability insurance claims. New episodes are filmed on regular basis. Our disability videos are for informational purposes only and they are not legal advice.

There are 36 opinions so far. Add your comment now.

Brian Hanson:

I am actually an adjuster. I was involved in a plane crash. I was the pilot and at fault and therefore no tortfeasor. However, my employer, Farmers Insurance has a disability plan which is handled by Liberty Mutual (LM). I have severe injuries to include 3 spinal fusions, brain injuries, and massive structual damage basically my whole body. I was deemed Totally and Permanently Disabled by Social Security. I was involved in a motor vehicle accident 2 years later and offered $50,000 for general damages (pain and suffering not to include specials). Farmers is the tortfeasor’s carrier. Liberty Mutual placed a lien on the Farmers claim citing under ERISA they are entitled to my pain and suffering payment. There is a doctrine called “made whole” which essentially means the claimant (me) gets paid before they do. I filed an Insurance Commissioner complaint against Liberty. I called Liberty and advised them of the DEPARTMENT OF INSURANCE (“DOI”) complaint. Literally, 5 minutes later LM calls back and states that they are now going to do a peer review on my claim. They say it is a “coincidence” that their decision to peer review my claim comes minutes after receiving the DOI complaint. I urge anyone who has problems with LM to file a DOI complaint. Do this before you hire an attorney. If you hire an attorney first the DOI will refer you to your attorney. Allow the DOI to investigate and if there is no resolution after 30 days then hire an attorney. If you are under appeal guidlines where your appeal has to be completed within that 30 days, then obviously hire the attorney first. But take LM to the mat and let’s teach them to be ethical. I’m having problems and i have been an adjuster myself for 15 years, have a degree in Law & Justice, and an AIC designation. As an update, the lien has not yet been released, and i have yet to receive a penny from my Farmers auto accident injury claim.

Attorney Greg Dell:

Brian, I am sorry to hear about your difficulties with liberty mutual. Filing complaints with the department of insurance is a good idea in some disability cases, but each state has different rules regarding the procedures to do so. On our website we have provided links to the department of insurance for every state (see the Locations page).

Kevin:

Hi,

I have been out of work for over 2 years. I have Liberty long term ,I had to get an attorney to recieve that. Liberty tried to get out of paying. I was in an auto accident an I had a lawyer handling that case.They drag their feet and I lost everything basically, but my clothing. Liberty has forced me pretty much to file for S. S. Disability.

Anyway, to sum it up, the attorney for the auto accident took most of my $25,000.00 and wouldn’t peruse my U.M. claim (I think thats a bunch of bull). And Liberty Mutual wants to be paid back when and if I recieve my S. S. Disability. I paid for L. T. Disability at my job every pay period.

What can I do, it seems I keep getting blown off. Can someone please give me some straight answers?

Thanks.

Attorney Greg Dell:

Kevin,

If your Liberty Mutual Disability Insurance policy has a social security disability offset provision, then Liberty will be entitled to claim the social security disability benefits that you may be paid.

Angus:

Hello,

I have been covered under LTD by Liberty Mutual for the past two years after I collapsed at work due to severe Emphysema (diagnosed one year earlier). Social Security had me examined by two different physicians and approved my “total disability” the first time through because it was very obvious to their doctors that I was quite disabled from even doing simple (sedentary) task a lot of the time. As well my CT scans and X-rays showed that it was a small miracle that my PFT test were (barely) moderate considering the severity of my (digressive) illness.

Once I was drawing SSD and Liberty was only paying me just above $100 per month they began an aggressive attack to make sure that they could drop my claim either before and definitely after the two year (non-sedentary) period. They have just informed me that they will be dropping me and that I can appeal if I choose.

I am too ill most of the time to even attempt to fight them (or their money) in court and getting worse with each passing month. However, I am a documentation person and have legal (digital) phone recordings (single party consent state conversations) of every conversation by the (many) “claims managers” that have mishandled my claim over this period… often giving me time-lines that most healthy people would find challenging to complete and return their requested documentation.

There is not enough time here to go into detail on how heartless, manipulative and deceptive most of these LM managers have been while dealing with my case… but the complete story would likely stop most people from ever paying into any LTD insurance policies.

I have but one simple question. I will not live long enough to fight these people in court and want to try to create public awareness (through my documentation) of the tactics of LTD insurance denials. Can I legally use these digital recordings publicly (via Internet, media etc.) to expose them for what they are doing to innocent people?

I don’t have much life left and even this task is difficult at best… but I’d like for my last days on this Earth (and my experience and proof) of LM’s intentional denial of valid claims to count for something before I go.

Thanks from myself, my wife (and many others I’m sure).

Attorney Greg Dell:

Angus,

The use of digital recording without permission of the other party is different in every state. I would be very cautious in your use of these recordings. You should not identify the names of any of the parties involved. You can blog and discuss your experience with Liberty Mutual as much as you want. It is important that any statements you make are truthful. You should appeal your denial and not give up your fight for benefits. Please contact us if we can assist you.

Catherine:

My claim was just pulled from me. Basically they almost cost me my life. I ended up suicidal due to their denial of my claim after they, somehow, diagnosed me without ever seeing me.

I was just released from the hospital yesterday, I had major sinus surgery and prior to that I was also out for depression and anxiety.

My case manager admitted that she did receive two voice mails from my Primary Care doctor, with the request of a call back to her so she knew more of what they want. My case manager told me that she doesn’t call doctors back.

I am also concerned that the spelling of my ENT is incorrect, I also have followed up with one of the therapists regarding what she had sent to Liberty Mutual and what they actually stated as part of my denial.

Is there anyway to get the records from Liberty Mutual that the doctors actually have sent regarding my health concerns?

Attorney Greg Dell:

Catherine,

If your claim has been denied you have a write to request a copy of your entire claim file. This claim file will include every document that Liberty Mutual has received with regard to your disability claim. If your don’t see your doctor records in the claim file, then Liberty Mutual never got them.

Stressed:

I had a moderate to severe stroke and have been approved for SS disability. I was receiving LTD from Liberty Mutual and they had me see a doctor and decided to cancel my LTD benefits after only 11 months. I have paid into this insurance and need the benefits. I am a single parent with bills. My doctors and family do not believe that I am capable of returning to work yet. Hence, the doctors have not released me to return but I can’t financially afford not to. I talked with LM and they said they have a different set of rules for determining disability than social security. They told me all this over the phone. This is so stressing to me. My blood pressure is elevated. What can I do?

Attorney Greg Dell:

Stressed,

If your Liberty Mutual Disability Denial is governed by ERISA, then you must file an appeal of the denial within 180 days. The appeal must be sent to Liberty for their review. We handle ERISA disability appeals on a daily basis and we can provide you with a free consultation if you send us a copy of your denial letter. Please visit this page to learn more about ERISA appeals and the importance of submitting a strong and detailed appeal.

Julia:

Need help getting my 3 weeks pays for log term. I had foot surgery and they denied me the last 3 weeks of pay before returning to work. Can you help me get my appeal letters ready? I am strapped for money now back to work and have to wait another 2 weeks for my pay to start all over. I am a mother of two teens. Can you help?

Attorney Greg Dell:

Julia,

It is great that you were able to return to work. You should send in any updated medical records and a letter from your doctor supporting your inability to work the last three weeks before returning to work. We cannot assist you due to the fact that you are only seeking three weeks of benefits.

Linda:

I was on short term disability, I am also on SSD. After six months Liberty called and said you will start getting long term – I said I didn’t pay for long term just short term. They said, well you also long term. This went back and forth for a few days then they reassured me that we have it. $540.00 later they called and said you do have LTD and you have to pay us back. Do I?

Thank you,
Linda

Attorney Stephen Jessup:

Linda,

If you received money that you were not entitled to, even if Liberty made the mistake, they may very well have the right to recollect the money from you.

John O.:

In order to qualify for LTD benefits from Liberty Mutual, a person must basically meet the standards required by SS in order to get SS Disability benefits. But if a person gets SSD benefits, then he or she must refund LM the money that was received from the LTD coverage, per the offset language in the LTD contract. It seems that LM wins by taking premiums if the person never is injured and therefore never seeks payment under the LTD policy. On the other hand, if the person is injured and gets paid according to the LTD coverage, Liberty Mutual wins again because that money has to be paid back to LM from the SSD settlement. Ever think of doing a class action vs. LM for the scam it runs whereby all they do for most folks is just take premiums, and the relatively few, percentage-wise, on which they pay out claims, they get reimbursed in the end?

Attorney Stephen Jessup:

John,

Unfortunately there is no legal basis for any class action against the insurance industry for having language allowing for offsets under a disability policy. As we have discussed in our videos and on the website, the proverbial adage “you get what you pay for” rings true when it comes to disability insurance policies. ERISA based policies provided by your employer come at extremely low premiums (and in some cases you don’t have to pay any portion of them at all), but the trade-off for that is less than favorable policy language. On the other hand, if you purchase a private disability policy on your own from an agent you pay (by way of much higher premiums) for more favorable policy language across the board that doesn’t allow such offsets. It’s like choosing between a base model car vs the version with all the bells and whistles.

Kathy:

If I am collecting Long Term Disability through Liberty Mutual am I also allowed to collect my Widow Benefits that I am entitled to in December at age 60 without losing any of the Long Term Disability which is only 50% of my pay which is almost impossible to live on.

Attorney Stephen Jessup:

Kathy,

You would have to review your policy to see if it is an enumerated offset. That being said, I have not seen a Widow Benefit be considered an offset as it has nothing to do with your disability.

Yvette:

I am currently receiving LTD from LM. I would like to know if I have to pay back payments if I begin receiving SS benefits.

Attorney Stephen Jessup:

Yvette,

If your policy indicates Social Security as a source of “Other Income Benefits” subject to repayment, then yes you will be responsible for refunding any overpayment made.

Teri:

I inherited an IRA from my fathers trust when he passed away. The payout is under $400 / mo. Could this income be considered as an offset to my LTD that I would have to pay back? I am on permanent SS disability and long term disability through MetLife.

Attorney Stephen Jessup:

Teri,

More than likely, no. That being said, you will have to review your policy to see what MetLife determines to be “Other Income” susceptible to offset under the policy.

Larry:

I have read all the information I have found about LTD coverage through Liberty Mutual. I was approved LTD and I was told up to 2 years due to it being a mental issue. I have appealed and am filing for SSDI… My question that I can not find a answer to is: if I win my case what do I have to pay LM back? If I lose my case what do I have to pay LM back? If they drop my case what do I have to pay LM back?

Attorney Stephen Jessup:

Larry,

I am assuming you are referring to what you may owe Liberty Mutual if your claim for SSDI is approved? If so, Liberty Mutual would be entitled to collect any back benefit award from the SSDI that overlaps with a time period they were issuing you a monthly disability benefit.

Caecillia Hamidjaja:

I was under Liberty mutual permanent disability approved by the judge in Ventura County, CA and received monthly payment with SSDI offset the differences, right after I reach the age of 65, LM stop my disability payment. Can I get help to appeal on this case?

Caecillia Hamidjaja:

I need a consultation and help to appeal on the disability payment from LM.

Attorney Stephen Jessup:

Caecillia,

If your Liberty Mutual policy only provides benefits to the age of 65 you would not be entitled to any additional benefits beyond that date.

Attorney Stephen Jessup:

Caecillia,

Please feel free to contact our office to discuss same.

Lance:

I suffer from Chronic Cluster Headaches and have been approved for STD since May through September. When I go back to the doctor in September my doctor will probably keep me on the same medication which will keep me out of work, I am a manager in a restaurant company. The drugs severely affect my mental acuity and leave me dizzy for the majority of the time, being a leader of employees and making decisions is out of the question for my future, for now. In November I go on LTD. My question is if I can’t go back to the job I have done for the last 30 years what options are available for me?

Attorney Stephen Jessup:

Lance,

If you are unable to return to work due to your condition then your only option may be to pursue your long term disability claim. Please feel free to contact our office to discuss what options your policy may give you.

Roy Parker:

I am being denied my Long Term Disability by Liberty Mutual after one year. I was sick and went back to work and got sick again in less than 90 days. They have contacted my doctors and said from there paper work I am not 100% disable. All the doctors I go to have not given me a physical to see what I can and cannot do. I filed for SSD and went to there doctor and got my SSD. Can I take them to court for breach of contract since they know I am on SSD and SSD don’t pay unless your 100% disable. Also the policy states that if I go back out of work in less than 90 days I go back on disability with out having to re file for it. I was with The Hartford Company and was suppose to go back to them. The company I was working for decide that they would take it over and get Liberty Mutual to manage it. I sign a piece of paper for money to be deducted out of my pay for Hartford but never for my company or Liberty Mutual and the employees were not told that the change was taking place. Also do I have to appeal it before going to court?

Attorney Stephen Jessup:

Roy,

As your policy is employer provided it is likely governed by ERISA, as such there is no action for Breach of Contract, but rather for the nonpayment of benefits. Lawsuit cannot be filed until administrative remedies (appeals) are exhausted. Please contact our office to discuss your claim in further detail as it appears your claim should fall within a recurrent disability provision, and revert to the insurance carrier who initially provided benefits, which from your fact pattern remains somewhat unclear.

Dorothy:

I have a heart of compassion for each of the people who have shared their problems with Liberty Mutual for the hurt and disappointment they have experienced. I share many of the same issues with Liberty Mutual and Wells Fargo. My son was in the hospital for over three months, he was an employee of Wells Fargo. He received short term and long term disability payments. After he qualified for Social Security Disability Insurance, we were shocked that Liberty Mutual had a demand for the entire lump sum he had received. Their policy was iron clad on how they were legally in a position to ask for such a thing. My son was critically ill, unable to talk about employee policy and the case manager from Liberty Mutual wrote letters as if we were co-workers. We didn’t understand the vague language and professional jargon and accepted the payments. We were all under severe trauma from his life threatening illnesses. I assumed short and long term payments were “benefits” of the employee. But they are actually a cover-up for “loans” which must be paid by Social Security Disability Insurance if you should qualify for it. I would advise any employee to be careful before signing for any company’s short and long term benefit packages If you sign, you are agreeing to accept the loans and repay Liberty Mutual or whatever company you are with. If a family is responsible for the employee, I would suggest taking the paperwork to someone who has a legal understanding of policy. Some states may have an office for Community Legal Services or Volunteer Lawyer Program. When the poor and disabled employees receive Social Security Disability Insurance, they are been suffering financially and it’s not a time to pay back a company who requires a loan payback. I believe we all owe it to other employees and families to inform them to be aware of the consequences if they accept short and long term disability benefits (loans) from Liberty Mutual or any other insurance company.

Attorney Stephen Jessup:

Dorothy,

Unfortunately, the law is very clear that provisions relating to repayment of overpayments on account of receipt of sources of “Other Income” are legal and enforceable. The only way to avoid such provisions is through privately purchasing disability insurance coverage through an agent. However, the premiums for these policies far exceed the amount to be paid (if any) by an employee under an employer provided disability policy.

Worried:

Hello to everyone. I was so disappointed when reading all of this information. My worst fears proven correct. I was on short term disability through liberty mutual from 04/16/14 to 08/09/14 when all of a sudden I received a denial for continuation of benefits. They said the reason was because my diagnosis was all subjective. I have severe Fibromyalgia. I have had it for 20 years, but starting about 14 months ago it got much worse and I just couldn’t take it anymore. I should of seen it sooner, but I was really driven and had worked really hard for my career. But It wasn’t just the pain anymore, which by itself is absolutely a living hell almost every day of my life. My mental function also was becoming heavily impaired; memory loss, dizziness, trouble focusing. I can’t sleep, and even when i can I am still always tired. Then on 04/15/14 I blacked out while driving and almost rear ended a car. That was it for me, I went out of work the next day. But I was faced once again with the reason I waited so long to get help. .. because yes I had tried before. Health care professionals that don’t care, or believe you. I’ve had a nurse practitioner lie in her case notes saying that I said I wanted to be disabled to hurt my Chances to get disability, and a Rheumatologist who told me that Fibromyalgia is not debilatating if I would just exercise. So of course that was not helping my case. I know what I can and cannot do…I have lost everything I used to love to do due to pain. . Hiking, biking, rollerblading…living. I had tried exercise, and was up to six hours a week for two years. I pushed through so much pain believing what doctors said, and it just kept getting worse! When I told that to the Rheumatologist do you know what he said? “Well you just didn’t do it long enough to get over the hump” WHAT? Is he insane or plain stupid? I was UP TO Six hours, not I just started to exercise! Then he also was not putting everything I was discussing with him in his case notes. He didn’t even give reasons for the medications he was prescribing, or details about my symptoms or side effects! He didn’t give reasons for why he was writing me out of work either. I filled a complaint against him with the state, because even when asked he refused to notate my symptoms. his lack of proper note taking and treatment hurt my claim, not to mention I am still in a lot of pain and he was doing nothing to really help. His office was the main reason my claim was denied. Not only was his work sub-par, but his office messed up with billing and thought liberty mutual did not pay for my case notes when they did, so his office refused to send them. Now I am in appeal status and it has been 46 days with no decision which after reading these messages I am pretty sure it will be denied. I have also now been diagnosed with coping disorder, major depressive disorder, major anxiety disorder, with further review needed for possible bipolar and or borderline personality disorder. Yes they are Erisa, and yes they convienately denied my claim right before it would of went to long term. Also I had paid for 15% additional pay for ltd and if my policy lapses for lack of payment, which is highly likely as they drag this out, they will not have to pay the extra … even if they approve my claim at that time. I am approved for unpaid leave until November from my company due to medical reasons. Would be funny to me if they deny my claim when my company says I am unable to work. I have applied for SSI, something I never thought I would do at age 37, but I have to take care of my family and unfortunately I cannot work and I have a disability company it seems that is the greediest and most devious of an already very greedy industry. Just my luck. I am scared to get a lawyer and how much it will cost, but can I even file suit yet? They sent a letter saying they need more time to review, but how much time do you need? I sent three doctors notes saying to excuse me from work until November when my next appointment was, how is that not clear? What should I do? Any advice? I had to cash out some of my 401k to survive, but I cannot afford to have no income for too much longer. I hope they’re really is a Hell for people who put money over the lives of others, but even though that is somewhat comforting it dosen’t feed my family!

Attorney Stephen Jessup:

Worried,

As you have many questions regarding your pending claim, please feel free to contact our office for a free consultation to discuss your questions in detail.

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