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Attorneys for Sun Life Disability Claims

Related Videos

SunLife Insurance Company Lump-Sum Benefit Buyout Offers
Episode 10/1: Sun Life Financial Disability Insurance Claims
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Sun Life Financial is a Canadian based company, but they are one of the top five largest insurance companies in North America with more than $300 billion under management.

Sun Life has been trying to build their brand awareness in the USA by buying the naming rights to the Miami Dolphins Stadium and sponsoring US Golfer Hunter Mahan. Sun Life has sold short term and long term disability insurance policies to numerous employers throughout the country.

Our disability attorneys have represented numerous individuals to recover benefits following a Sun Life disability denial. We have submitted ERISA appeals and prosecuted numerous lawsuits in federal court against Sun Life. We are available to help you anywhere in the country and we will make the process as easy as possible for you.

Don’t Accept Sun Life’s Low-Ball Disability Buyout Or Settlement Offer

In recent years we have seen a disturbing claims handling technique used by Sun Life in order to close long term disability insurance claims for pennies on the dollar.

The typical situation is that Sun Life will threaten to deny a claimant’s disability benefits and then proceed to offer them a settlement which is usually less than 10% of the disability policies full value. We usually see Sun Life make these unreasonable offers when a claimant’s definition of disability is changing from “own occupation” to the inability to perform “any gainful occupation”.

A disability claimant should never accept a Sun Life offer with consulting with an attorney. Most disability companies tell a claimant to consult with any attorney, but Sun Life usually does not do so.

Our disability lawyers understand that most claimants are tempted to accept a quick cash payment because they are suffering financially as a result of their disability. Prior to accepting an offer, you must know all of your rights and what it will take to fight back against Sun Life.

Our job is to make Sun Life pay the benefits you are owed and maximize your recovery under the policy. We never charge any attorney fees or costs unless we recover benefits for you. Contact us for a free consultation to discuss your Sun Life Disability benefit claim.

Tell Us What You Think About Sun Life!

On a routine basis we track lawsuits and court decisions around the country that deal with Sun Life Disability denials. You can read below some short summaries about these cases as well some of our law firm’s resolved cases.

We welcome you to read or post comments / complaints about your experience with Sun Life. Our lawyers will respond to your post. Disability claimants throughout the country can learn a lot and possibly protect their benefits by being aware of the manner in which Sun Life conducts business.

We encourage you to contact us privately if you have specific questions about your case.

There are 75 opinions so far. Add your comment or complaint now.

Scott Morrison:

I found your understanding of the insurance industry wanting. Many LTD plans carry a rehabilitation or partial disability clause, which allows the insurer to assist the injured employee to re-train for work that is more suitable to the person’s new reality. With partial disability, the employee might be expected to return to their job on a reduced basis or to be integrated back into the place of employment into a lesser paying, perhaps less demanding job. Note: under the partial disability clause, the LTD benefit would top-up to the benefit amount as entitled to under the benefit schedule for the duration of disability as defined by he benefit period. The idea of “return to work” is not intended to establish a mandate to deny claims. Disability insurance is put in place to transfer the financial risk, the cost associated with time required before “returning to work”, it is intended to help with this process. Disability Insurance has minimal underwriting and is economical, and will remain so, as long as it is not taken advantage of. The disability exclusions and limitations in the contract must always be considered.

The difficulty I am having is with your total disregard for the purpose of LTD and aiding the employee to return to work. I agree if you are suggesting to be couscous when implementing a group disability plan, know the master contract and make sure the employees understand the certificate of insurance and/or employee benefits booklet. This is usually the responsibility of the group insurance advisor, and if not the advisor has failed in their fiduciary duty.

It is noteworthy to mention that if the beneficiary is deemed permanently disabled and there is little opportunity to return to work, the insurer will likely pay a lump sum roughly equal to the present value of all benefits paid, however the contract must be considered.

In the future I would suggest you make a point of focusing more on the agent/advisor rather than the company they represent.

Your Friendly Neighborhood Advisor.

Attorney Greg Dell:

Scott, thank you for your comments. I agree that many group disability plans have a rehabilitation clause, however I rarely see a situation where a person can be retrained an make a salary that is close to what they earned pre-disability. The disability companies are usually reluctant to pay for a person to return to school in order to receive a higher education. In the thousands of cases we have handled, I have never seen a disability carrier offer to pay for anything more than a 12-16 week retraining program. I am not sure about your experience with disability companies, but when most disability companies deny a claim, they say that the claimant can return to their pre-disability occupation. There are only a few group disability carriers that will offer a lump-sum buyout of a claim. You have asked us to “focus more on the agent/advisor rather than the company they represent”; however I am not sure this has any relevancy unless you are referring to an individual disability policy. With group disability policies, an employee has no choice in the type of disability coverage that their employer offers, therefore the agent/advisor relationship is moot.


How do I find out the statute of limitations on my LTD claim? I have been denied several times and appealed several times. Sunlife is the insurance company.

Attorney Greg Dell:


The statute of limitations are different in every state. Also some disability policies will provide a time frame in which a lawsuit must be filed. Determining the exact date in which a statute of limitation will expire can be challenging. Failure to file a lawsuit before expiration of the statute of limitation will bar a lawsuit.


Recently, Sun Life offered me a buyout. They would give a lump sum payment for the first 2 years of disability in exchange for me dropping the additional 2 years of any other occupation. They are hopping I need short term money so bad, I would forfeit 2 years of payment for any other occupation. This is robbery of the poor.

Attorney Greg Dell:


You are absolutely correct. The recent Sun Life Buyout Offers are unreasonable and you must be cautious. We are getting a lot of calls about these ridiculous offers. Check out our recent video discussing the Sun Life buyout offers (YouTube).


I was denied LTD from Sun Life after being on LTD for 10 months. I am currently recieving SSDI benefits. The clause in my policy was that I couldn’t do work at the level I was working at, I would receive benefits and not have to retrain. So being eligible for SSDI, I don’t see how Sun Life can deny continued benefits.

G. Heffington:

I became disabled in 2007 and had to retire from my job with a major chip distribution company. I don’t know who’s been screwing me for the last 4 and 1/2 years, Sun Life or the company plan contract for long term disability my employer has. To qualify the amount I would draw, Sun Life did not consider the amount of commission earned monthly as a route salesman, only my weekly guarantee. Then they started out paying me one amount per month based on that and, as soon as I began drawing SSDI, the amount was reduced to half and said as soon as I turn 66 my long term disability payments will stop. I gave that company 10 years of my life and the LTD only pays me for 6 years. It’s also taxable income, considered earned through a third party. Anybody else being screwed over like this? Shame on my employer. And Sun Life hasn’t offered me a lump settlement. Beware, it will be taxed.


I have been receiving disability benefits from Sun Life for 3 years. After 3 years I have to be “re-approved with a medical review” and after this medical review they say I’m able to return to work. Of course I’m not. I’m much worse. Anyway, they offered me $20,000 to buy me out of the long term disability and my $82,000 life ins. policy that I also have. If I don’t take the $20,000 pay out, they’re saying it will go to a vocational review. If the vocation review finds a job within my limitations then I would no longer be able to receive benefits or the payout. Is this common practice?

Attorney Greg Dell:


Yes, this is a strong-arm technique unique to Sun Life. It is likely you should reject their low-ball offer. We have helped numerous Sun Life disability claimants in your exact situation. Please watch the first video at the top of this page (also available on You Tube) discussing your same situation.



My name is Sheri and I have been diagnosed with Sciatica during my pregnancy with twins. After the diagnosis nothing was advised by my doctors to find proper treatment. After the birth of my twins, I have been experiencing severe lower back pain, which shoots down to the side of my buttocks, then my legs, my knees and now my both feet.

A few years back, I was diagnosed with mild Scoliosis which still lingers, but no surgery was required except for exercise.

I have been experiencing back pain for over 12 years now, but recently after the pregnancy, it has become worse, I am unable to walk, sit, stand or sleep continuously for over 30 min. I am always feeling numbness, sharp shooting pain and weakness from my lower back down to my feet and stiffness in my left arm and very little feeling in my hands.

I have gone to Physio, Chiro and Massage therapists to help me heal, but it has been temporary relief only, and my X-Ray showed I have soft tissue damage… due to ongoing pain and my knee always going out on me and feeling more weak, my doctor has advised to take an MRI.

With all this info I provided, based on what the MRI report will say, do I have a strong case for approval on Short Term or Long Term Disability with SunLife Canada.?

Your input, advice and/or recommendations would be truly appreciated!

Thank you for your support!

Attorney Greg Dell:


You ask a great question that requires a lot more information in order to answer. You should definitely get the MRI in an effort to locate the source of your pain. Regardless of the MRI results if you feel that you are in too much pain to do your job, then you would be eligible to apply for STD benefits. You must have physician support for your claim and you must satisfy the definition of disability in your policy. There is no machine that can tell you whether you can work or not. It is up to you. You should watch our video about the disability application process.

John Doe:

Sunlife sucks. I’ve been approved for SSDI for several spine surgeries, leaving nerve damage that causes constant pain, and regular periods of being incapacitated. On a good day I am able to walk and get around, including drive a car. Sunlife has had me under surveillance and has claimed to see me walk to the mailbox, drive to the grocery store, and is using that against me. Sunlife is also using social media and claiming Facebook post as gospel as to my being healthy. If I travel to visit family they use it against me… they have not only denied my claim for LTD, they have also demanded repayment of what they did pay me. They’re trying to bleed me dry, hoping I’ll go away, but that’s not going to happen.

Attorney Greg Dell:

John Doe,

Sunlife regularly utilises video surveillance and social media scanning as a method to deny claims. If your claim has been denied or you are concerned that it will be, then you can give us a call to discuss your options.


I have been in a battle with Sunlife and Manulife for 5 years now. When I was working, Sunlife provided my insurance and I had to be off work for 2 years on Long Term. I returned to work mainly because I was told I’d be denied for permanent disability and being a single mom was terrified of what would happen to my family. Well, I only lasted one year and became ill again with the same disease. Too ill to work anymore in any occupation.

While I was on LTD my employer switched insurance carriers to Manulife. So when I got ill again I was told to file a claim with Manulife. I did that and was denied the first time due to lack of medical evidence. I appealed and Manulife told me that it was a reoccurrence of my old illness and I had to file with Sunlife. I called Sunlife and they deny my claim because the six month reoccurrence clause was over and Manulife was now responsible for my claim. I was only able to return to work barely for 1 year and 1 month. Now neither companies will accept my claim. I have been approved for Canada disability pension and my Omer’s disability pension. Still waiting to get to court to see which insurance company really is responsible for my claim. In the meantime I lost everything I had and have over 50,000 in debt to pay back to people who have been supporting me through this.

It’s shocking to me that when a company switches insurance carriers the person currently on LTD is never notified. Neither company has any obligation to inform the person on disability benefits.

Attorney Greg Dell:


Your employer should have advised you of the change of disability carriers. You also need to make sure that when your employer switched disability providers that you did not have a pre-existing condition issue. This is a common problem that we see when companies change from one disability company to another. One of these companies must accept your claim and it sounds like it would be Manulife.

Donny Taylor:

Hi Greg,

I have read a few of the comments on here and the first I read was Scott Morrison and I can tell you first hand that Sunlife has never offered me retraining for another occupation. All they keep telling me is that I can find a lesser job out there if my employer can not accommodate me.

I am being scheduled for surgery again on my shoulder and possibly now my left shoulder and Sunlife is still denying my claim. I went through all 3 level of appeals and I have had no income since beginning of June 2012. I have had to sell my personal stuff and most recently my truck to try and catch up on bills.

I have put feelers out for a lawyer here in Canada and have had only 2 responses and I have emailed them back but no reply now for a few days. I need someone serious that’s gonna go after these bastards as they have done nothing for me but cause more physical, emotional and financial stress that is leaving me owning nothing.

I had to move because I couldn’t pay my rent. And now my girlfriend has been trying to keep my head above water and she has become financially stressed now as well credit cards are near maxed out and there’s nothing I can do for her, and she does not live with me (yet) if she ever will, now. By the way, I live in Canada.

Dolores Lorio:

I was on LTD through Sun Life for approximately 2 years, due to an injury to my wrist while working. Well, to make a long story short, after five surgeries to my right hand and wrist, I was unable to return to work with the medical restrictions, being that I’m right hand dominate. I was contacted by Sun Life offering a lump sum of $4,000, which I refused and I continued to receive my monthly benefit amount. I received a check from Sun Life which differed from my original payments so I contacted my claims adjuster and was told I had been under paid. The following months I began getting an increase on my monthly benefit amount. I also began receiving other income benefits from another source, at which time I contacted my claim adjuster to notify him of the changes to my monthly income. I even sent a copy of my approval letter.

This was in April of 2012. I received a letter from Sun Life, in August 2012, explaining that there was an overpayment of approximately $8,000, on my claim. I contacted them on several occasions to discuss this discrepancy, by phone and emails. I was told not to contact them by emails, they would wipe the slate clean as to the overpayment, close the book on my claim and I would no longer receive LTD benefits, if I agreed.

Of course, I did not agree to their terms. I sent a counter offer, which they politely denied. I had to retire, due to my disability and I’m still being harassed by a collection agency. I have not received benefits since August 2012. It has been nearly 11 months without LTD benefits from them. I feel that the money they are assuming I owe as an over payment, has not gone out to me for a year. Not sure what the law states, but the handbook states, I should continue getting payment until age 70.

What’s your thought?

Attorney Stephen Jessup:


I am sorry to hear about your unfortunate experience. First and foremost, if your policy is governed by the federal body of law, ERISA, any state claim you may have will be trumped by the remedies available under ERISA. If you were in fact receiving “Other Income Benefits” under the policy, Sun Life would have a right to recover an overpayment – even if it was their mistake for missing it. From what you have indicated it would seem Sun Life is satisfying the overpayment by withholding your monthly benefit, which is a very common occurrence. I would recommend that you place all of your concerns/arguments regarding the overpayment in writing and send it certified mail (to confirm they received it). This way Sun Life will have to respond to you in writing.


I have a terminal genetic disease and have been denied LTD benefits by SunLife. My doctors who deal with this uncommon fatal disease, tell me that SunLife is the worst company they have ever dealt with – they have actually denied benefits when patients are on life support. It is a firm that makes me ashamed to be a Canadian.

SunLife gives new meaning to the term “blood money” in their attempts to legitimize their callow business practices. Please tell everyone you know not to support any SunLife events because SunLife sponsorship money is blood money.

So what if they donated 100,000 to build Canada’s umbilical blood bank?

Thank you.

Attorney Stephen Jessup:


I am sorry to hear about your troubles. Unfortunately, we are not authorized to practice law in Canada, so we would not be able to assist you.


Wow, it seems they are coming up with another tactic. I received a called from their life waiver analyst stating he represent SunLife and he needs more clarification from my physician to determine how my condition prevents me from performing any occupation. I stated I just submitted my medical history from 02/01/12 till April of 2013 on 06/01/13. He stated he not talking about my long term disability he is talking about my life insurance with SunLife. I told him I need this request and writing and did just received it.

I had applied for Social Security in June 2011 and was approve immediately they did not even bother to send me to any of their doctor due that they knew there is no cure for my illness. So then in December 2011 I applied for my long term disability with SunLife and submitted along with my application the award letter that clarifies that I am adjudicated totally and permanently disable by the Social Security Administration.

So my question is. Are they serious? Do they really want to go there and should I be sending them clarification from my physician so they could come to a decision and determine if my disability prevent me from performing any occupation or like he stated to me on the phone “clerical duties”.

I mean I don’t have no problem submitting the information but it just does not make any sense they would need this information again just for life insurance when I just submitted any and all documentation for my long term disability and it was sufficient to continue my long term disability but it’s not sufficient for my life insurance waiver.

What do you advice? Should I give them what they want or how should I handle this matter because this sound like a tactic for starting a denial.

Attorney Stephen Jessup:


In an abundance of caution provide them with the information they are requesting as it is not uncommon for different departments in the company to not communicate. Please also note that although SSDI is strong evidence in support of disability, it does not guarantee that Sun Life will not challenge your claim in the future, especially given the fact that the SSDI award was over two years ago. A common tactic by insurance companies to distance themselves from the SSDI award is to conduct surveillance, perform IMEs, peer reviews, etc and then argue that they had, “additional information that the SSA did not have” which justifies their reasons for denial.


I filed a short term disability claim and my physician assured me I would not be turned down by a private insurance company based on my diagnosis. They did deny me, and the letter they sent was all false lies and stuff they just made up; my doctor has written a response so that I may appeal, but who pays for the hunger and humiliation during the time I’ve been out of work? I am a single mother who has been unable to care for her child due to Sun Life. Who do I talk to about this?

Attorney Stephen Jessup:


I am sorry to hear of your experience. I wish someone would have to pay for your “hunger and humiliation” but under ERISA governed insurance policies, Sun Life is not responsible for any damages or money with the exception of what they owe you in back benefits.



I made a short term disability claim to Sun Life for medical leave assigned by the local doctor and about a week later they called me said that they had not look over my file but had a couple of questions for me. After that they said they would call me back later that day with a decision. Well they called me back and they denied my claim because they said stress is not a medical issue it is a work issue. This was the second time in a year where I have been treated for work stress and the first time I needed to apply for the coverage.

What should be my next step?

Thank you,

Attorney Stephen Jessup:


You will have to go through the administrative appeal process that Sun Life dictates. Claims for work related stress are very difficult in the sense of disability without a prior indication of a diagnosed and consistent treatment for a stress related condition.


I am on LTD and my employers advised me to return to work or apply for a medical pension or you’re terminated.

I am receiving x number of dollars from CPP DI / Sun Life and company medical pension.

Sun Life just decease my payments because I am receiving x number of dollars from my medical pension.

Can they do this?

I worked for Canada Crown Corporation.

Attorney Stephen Jessup:


You will have to refer to your Policy, specifically the provisions referencing “Other Income Benefits” or “Deductible Sources of Income.” If it is listed as an offset under the policy, then yes, they can do so.


I’ve been receiving Sun Life long term disability for 6 months now, offsetted from what I’m drawing from social security. Today they called me asking if I’d signed up my two kids for SSI. I told them yes. They want me to send them their copies of where they were awarded SSI. They are going to offset my benefits of what they draw. I live in Mississippi, don’t know bout other states but you have to keep record of every penny and report it to SS. I can’t use their money to pay my bills or buy my meds, it can be only used for their needs. Also SS says any money left over each month has to be put in a interest bearing account and at the end of year that money has to be returned. In MS would this not be considered bad faith on Sun Life?

Attorney Stephen Jessup:


Unfortunately, there is no Bad Faith as a legal remedy under ERISA. I do not know the reporting requirements of the SSA and would have to refer you to a Social Security attorney for any inquiry as to same. There have been rumblings with respect to insurance carriers offsetting benefits by what a dependent receives from Social Security and the legality of turning that money over to the insurance company under the SSA codes. However, to date, there has been no definitive ruling.

Brent Waddell:

I have been on LTD benefits with Sun Life for over 3 years.

It started with a bulging disc impinging my left L5 nerve root. I underwent a 6 hour spinal fusion and the fusion was a failure. During the operation, the surgeon accidentally caused a contusion on my right L5 nerve root while installing the metal cage in my back. Since the surgery, he caused half my right foot to be half numb and my right quad. The surgeon did a bad job on my fusion and it didn’t take.

Sun Life had originally approved me, and a year later they said it was pre-existing and canceled my LTD benefits for 6 months and ruined my credit rating.

Finally my lawyer said that it was not pre-existing and threatened them with a lawsuit and they re activated my claim. They are now thinking of offering me a settlement since I have been stuck lying in bed 90 percent of the day. They even hired an observer to follow me around on bad faith since there were lots of medical proof stating I am permanently disabled.

I will not take a low settlement or I told them I am going to continue collecting LTD benefits until I am 65.

Attorney Stephen Jessup:


If you are still represented by an attorney you will have to consult with him/her as to your options.


I need help. Sun Life is the absolute worst company I have ever dealt with.they have discriminated, judged and stalled for 4 months on my extended disabilit , now I am trying to get better, this company has made my life a world of a mess. I am a 28 year old female that has been on short term disability since august 21st 2013. I was recently diagnosed with rhuemotoid arthritis, I have fibro myalgia, neurogenic bladder, and 10 herniated discs in my back and neck. I also have PTSD, and very high anxiety along with panick disorder… Sun Life made me wait about 8 weeks intilaly from when they received the papers from the doctor that stated that I can not work. Once I recieved that which should have been no more then 5 days after the note they continued to stall, wanting records from all my providers and so forth. Now I cooperated with them and gave them all of my records, today to find out it was denied. I can hardly get out of bed at times due to the flare up. They have stated that the extended ( which I pay for in case something were to ever happen) that per their contract I can perform my work duties. Now with everything I stated above, they know what kind of medications I am taking, which are very strong.I have no money to see my doctors or pay for floats, my health is declining and I don’t know where to turn too. I have been waiting for the extra extended since August. My student loans are defaulting. Please help.

Attorney Stephen Jessup:


Please contact our office to discuss how we may be able to assist you.

Shannon Johnson:

I have updated medical information and a doctors statement to Sun Life that they requested to continue my long-term disability benefits. It has been more than sixty days for them to give me an answer. I contacted them and my claims manager informed me that he was sending out a denial letter for lack of medical proof to be off work. My question is: can they take this long to respond, and can they deny me even with my doctors statement on their form, states that I can not work? Can they say I can work even though my doctor says that I can’t.

Attorney Stephen Jessup:


Sixty days does is a long time to respond. ERISA provides Sun Life with 45 days to render a decision, but this time period can be affected based upon various factors. With respect to the denial- unfortunately, it is all too common that an insurance company denies a claim for benefits despite your doctor indicating you are unable to work. Please feel free to contact our office to discuss how we may be able to assist you with the appeal process.

Shannon Johnson:

Dear Stephen Jessup,

I have another question. When it comes to qualifying for long-term disability benefits from Sun Life, can you tell me is PTSD, short-term and long term memory loss considered a mental and physical disability with Sun Life? Or is it just mental? Also have you won cases for long-term disability benefits for chronic hip pain caused from bursitis, chronic back pain from Osteophytes, and chronic shoulder pain caused from calcific tendonitis?

If I have provided Sun Life with medical records, x-ray, MRI showing these conditions and a doctor’s statement stating I cannot work due to my physical pain, and not being able to walk; then doesn’t Sun Life have to continue to pay long-term benefits?

Thank you.

Your response is greatly appreciated.

Attorney Stephen Jessup:


If the memory loss is on account of the PTSD, as opposed to an organic brain condition, then chances are Sun Life will determined that the memory loss is a symptom of the PTSD and therefore be limited to any limitation for mental health conditions. Pain conditions are a leading cause of disability claims. Please note that even though you have diagnostic medical evidence of a medical condition, this does not, in and of itself “prove” you are disabled. You still have to support your diagnosis with a demonstration of restrictions and limitations that would limit you from performing your occupation or any occupation as the case may be.


Sun Life denied me for my Long-term disability. I appealed their decision and provided them with more medical records. Finally after several months, (almost a year) they approved my claim on 12-31-2012. This was great news however when I received my 2013 w-2s Sun Life combined 2012 and 2013 disability income. I was approved on 12-31-2012, but Sun Life issued the check on 01-16-2013. By issuing my check sixteen days later has caused me to owe taxes. Doesn’t the date approved have to be the issue date on the check. This isn’t fair because I was approved in the year 2012 but they took sixteen to write out the check. Please advise.

Attorney Stephen Jessup:


I am not sure as to what your remedy is for this situation. I would recommend you request clarification in writing from Sun Life as to why they have done this. Benefits attributed to 2012 should be taxed for that calendar year.


Sun Life is asking for a copy of my DD214. I was discharged in 1990 and have never received or sought any claims with the military. My question is do they need it and is it a common request? I find it insulting and disrespectful claiming that they need to insure I’m not receiving any military benefits.

Attorney Stephen Jessup:


If your policy lists VA benefits as a source of “Other Income” by which they can offset your benefit by, then they are justified in making inquiry- and it would not be an uncommon request. If it does not, then I would agree with you completely.

John W.:

Sun Life has been giving me the run around for over a year. First they say my severe joint pain condition was pre- existing, when my doctor informed it was not they changed to say it was a symptom and not a diagnosis, then they said not enough medical information so I asked them to talk directly to my doctor. They got back to me and said my Doctor told them I should go back to work. I made the mistake of believing them and returning to work only to wind up in the hospital with life threatening internal bleeding and required surgery. My Doctor showed me that he had told Sun Life “not to return to work”. Sun Life will cause your death to save money? CIBC claims they stopped using Sun life in favor of Canada Life because of the tactics of Sun Life. My claim came before the switch. Sun Life has lied, and caused distress and pain. I desperately need a lawyer.

Attorney Stephen Jessup:


If you are in Canada, we unfortunately will not be able to assist you, as we are only licensed to practice in the United States.

Robert McCoy:

My wife Vivian worked for a Md. Hospital as an R.N. She had long term disability and short term disability policy’s partly provided by the hospital. She developed back pain and fibromyalgia that got progressively worse. As a result of that pain she saw several doctors and was prescribed many different pain medications, and was not able to work. She applied for short term disability and received that for 6 months. Then applied for long term disability through sun life, her long term disability provider. She received that for 18 months. During that time the company made her fill out many pages of reports including her doctor several different times. Then they called her and said they were going to stop her payments because their doctors considered her not disabled anymore. But they were going to offer her a settlement of 13,000 dollars. To settle her Claim that she turned that offer down. I forgot to tell you that she applied for social security disability during that 18 month time period and was approved. My wife called the company and asked them if they were aware of her taking morphine 5 times a day. The agent said he would inform their adjusters of that and he would get back to her. He call her back and said they were still going to stop her payments. And as of today payments stopped. We will lose our home, cars and file for bankruptcy. I can’t see how a company can legally do this? There is absolutely no question of her disability.

Attorney Stephen Jessup:


Your wife’s experience with Sun Life is not at all uncommon. When you get a copy of the denial letter please feel free to contact our office to discuss how we may be able to assist you in appealing the denial.


I read your response to Amanda regarding her applying for short term disability thru Sun Life for work related stress. I too applied last year after being admitted to the hospital with chest pains, which was not the first time this has happened, and after weeks of having my doctors send numerous reports over and over, was denied benefits for the same reason as Amanda, the issues were work related. The way I read it, Sun Life is saying yes, your work is the reason for your stress, but refuses to pay. I have researched this company and find it amazing that on their website they have articles about how work related stress affects your health by causing issues with your heart, blood pressure, digestion, migrane headaches, but are hypocrites when it comes to paying the claim. I appealed and was, of course, denied, and am going to appeal again, but feel it is a waste of tiime and this is exactly what Sun Life wants. They know people are going to be disgusted and just give up. They out source their claims to doctors and feel they are paid to deny claims. I would like to see the credentials for some of these doctors who are causing claimaints even more stress. I know I am making unfound accusations, but that is my opinion of Sun Life. If it sounds harsh or bitter, you are correct.


My husband has been drawing LTD from SL since 2006. In 2010 he was determined permanently and totally disabled thru SS. When he was awarded his SSDI we were told that because his LTD was employer paid, we had to reimburse SL all he had drawn since 2006. Even after they deducted the $6000 they claimed to pay to the lawyer, he owed them much more than the back pay from SSDI. He paid them back with the back pay and they kept his LTD check for nearly 2 years. He had paid taxes on all that money and could not even recoup it on Fed. or State taxes. Within the past few months, he was sent more forms to be filled out by him & the doctor, which we did and sent in. Now we get a letter in the mail wanting to know more about the pension he is receiving. Sent them a copy of his check stub and that was not enough. They wanted to know the exact date it began and if he got any lump sum payment. I was put on a 3 way call between SL, and Perf (pension benefits). From what I gathered, SL is now saying since his Pension is partially employer paid, that they don’t have to pay as much to him as they have been paying and that we are going to owe them even more! We are so sick and frustrated. We are on a fixed income, barely scraping by. We count on the SL check to make our house payments. How can they get away with this? Anyway we could win a suit against them?

Attorney Stephen Jessup:


Who is your disability carrier? If your policy defines total disability as the inability to perform the duties of your occupation as a truck driver, then I would think they would be hard pressed to determine you would be able to return to work driving in light of your pain and the side effects of your medication. Please feel free to contact our office to discuss your claim further.


So much evidence that the SunLife has been doing intentional damage to the claimants’ credit scores, not fulfilling it’s obligations by unjustly denying claims, causing additional distress to disabled folks and their families, and so on. My story would echo many others. At which point can one file a class action suit? The company’s behavior is despicable and, frankly, cruel to the people at the most difficult periods of their lives.

Yvonne Mason:

My son has been on disability through SunLife since last year. They cut him off about a week or so ago. My daughter in law tried to call them. The person they deal with was on vacation when she first started calling – after the woman returned to work, my daughter in law still could not get her to answer her phone or return her calls. However, my daughter in law did get a tweet from someone from SunLife apologizing for being so busy that they could not talk to her. My question is this: if they are too busy to talk, they should be too busy to tweet.

Attorney Stephen Jessup:


Please feel free to have your son contact our office to discuss how we may be able to assist him with filing an appeal of Sun Life’s denial.


My wife and I were dealing with an awful situation involving child services in Canada, where our 7 and 9 year old were apprehended from our care, unjustly. For ten months neither one of us was able to work as we dealth with depression and anxiety. I regularly saw my doctor, who provided me with notes to support my time off work. I applied for disability and after several appeals have not been successful. They told me that it was “inconsistent” that the symptoms I showed early on went away (and where I did contemplate a return to work), and then returned. This is ludicrous to me. By being honest with my doctor, and obviously naively optimistic about my ability to return to work, I was rejected for this claim. My doctor obviously thought I should still be off, otherwise he would have told me to go back to work when I suggested I’m thinking about it. It sounds like I should have just lied. Where do I go from here? Should I meet with a psychologist or psychiatrist and explain what happened? SunLife requires medical evidence to support an inability to work. How can I possibly get that now, especially since I’m doing much better and am working again? I feel I have a very strong case in saying that the emotional rollercoaster of dealing with child services is exactly consistent with how I described my situation to my doctor. Can I appeal SunLife’s medical staff’s decision? Should I try and get a retro-active diagnosis of what I went through?

Thank you,

Attorney Stephen Jessup:


As you indicated that you have gone through several appeals, I am not sure that you would still have any administrative appeals available. Your only recourse may be to bring a lawsuit for the owed benefits. The final denial letter from Sun Life should detail your rights to submit an appeal or in the alternative the exhaustion of all appeals and right to file a lawsuit. Please feel free to contact our office to discuss your claim further.


Thanks Stephen. The letter says they can look at further medical information, as part of further appeal. They have not indicated that no more appeals are possible. In your experience, does it make sense to try and get a note from my doctor explaining the gap they perceive as being inconsistent? Or is it worth going to a psychiatrist/psychologist who could look at the details and verify the possible state of mind, given the circumstances?


Sorry I didn’t get back with you before Stephen. My husband has long term disability with Sun Life, thru the schools system he worked for. Sun Life is not saying that he is no longer disabled. They are saying that they did not know he was drawing a pension and there for have been over paying him. Which was a lie. They knew from the very beginning, when he was awarded his social security disability. Since I had posted last, Sun Life sent us a bill for over $34,000. I sent a letter to them to appeal it. After that they told us that they had made the mistake and over looked the pension. And so they were going to waive the $34,000 +, and just cut him down to the minimum $100 month payment. Which I think is still very unfair, after all, we turned down their crummy low ball settlement (I believe was around $32,000), or draw about $600 a month until he was 65. We chose to draw the monthly payment. After we knew what our monthly income totals were, we bought a home of which, our payments are based on our income. My husband had medical insurance through Social Security. I had none, I tried to get help with getting some thru Indiana’s Hippa. I was denied, our income was a little too much. So, I haven’t had medical coverage since. Where if they had their crap together, we wouldn’t of bought a house that we no longer can comfortably afford and I would of had medical insurance. And then there’s all the sleepless nights, the ulcers over their $34,000 bill! Sun Life should have to pay dearly for their screw up!

Attorney Stephen Jessup:


If you have a copy of the policy we would be more than willing to look at it. Many policies indicate that the carrier is allowed to recover any overpayment/offset applicable under the policy even if the error/omission was on the insurance company’s part.

Attorney Stephen Jessup:


Your questions warrant a conversation as there is a lot going on with your claim. Please feel free to contact our office to discuss in detail.


I have been approved for LTD & SSDI since 11/2012, I will be going from disabled for my own occupation to any occupation in 11/2014. I was just informed that I was approved for any occupation even though there Medical Review results were that I can do Sedentary Work. Their Vocational Job Analysis results were they can not find me a job that will be a Substantial Gainful Activity as it states in the Policy. Am I a good candidate for a Lump Sum Settlement with Sun Life, I still have 23 years till I am 65? Thank you for your response and have a great day!

Attorney Stephen Jessup:


Being approved into the any occupation period is a very big step in the right direction as Sun Life denies many claims during the transition period.


First I would like to say I am Canadian. I realize you don’t have legal rights here however just a simple (but not so simple) question. I am currently receiving Sun Life LTD benefit as well I was approved for CCD Canada pension disability. I recently received a letter from Sun Life wanting to buy me out; it does state in the letter they will be paying me to tell the year 2034 for a certain amount, however they have offered me approximately 40% of what I would get if I stayed with them for the 20 years. I don’t feel this is anywhere near enough… can or should I send a counter offer? They have given me 30 days (Nov 1) to give them a decision and offered me 1.5 hour consultation with the lawyer at their expense… My other concern is when can my employer officially release me or can they because then I would lose my benefits that pay for my hundreds of dollars in medications a month…

Attorney Stephen Jessup:


You will need to contact a Canadian attorney as we are not licensed to practice in Canada so we would not be able to ultimately assist or advise you.


I have been off work since August 1, 2014. I suddenly got a sharp pain in my leg and could not walk. I went to Emergency and the doctor said I could have a tear in the meniscus. I was referred to an orthopaedic surgeon and he felt it was mild arthritis setting in. I have been on STD with Sunlife and sent in all my necessary paperwork. My claim was denied stating that I was not totally disabled and my job is of a sedentary nature. I appealed with a letter from my doctor attaching all visits and medications prescribed till date. SunLife has now come back stating they are denying my claim since my job is of a sedentary nature. I am an Administrative agent. I do not all the time sit behind a computer. I have to walk to the photocopier, scanner, fax machine, filing cabinet and the mail box. I have to lift boxes of invoices/timecards to the warehouse. To make things complex, I met with an accident on Sept 2. I have an ICBC claim as well. Is that the reason why SunLife is not paying me because I reported the accident to them? Should they be not paying me for the weeks before the accident? Even if ICBC reimburses me, they will deduct what Sunlife has paid to me in wages. I fail to understand their logic. What should be my next step. Would it be worth my while taking Sunlife to court? I have not been paid for two and a half months. I have just gone back to work on modified duties for 4 hours. Should I have a word with my employer in Canada regarding the group policy we have with Sunlife and if there is anything they could do to help?

Attorney Stephen Jessup:


Are you a Canadian citizen/residing in Canada? If so, you will need to consult with a Canadian attorney as to what your rights are. The basis of Sun Life’s denial does not seem to be that they feel it is a worker’s compensation claim and are therefore not responsible for payment, but rather that the medical information does not support disability (in their opinion).


I just recieved my long term disability denial from Sun Life today. I have fibromyalgia, degenerative disc and osteo arthritis. In 2005 I went to the Mayo Clinic for a full work up where they found fibromyalgia and I have seen many Drs over the years and ongoing care with a rheumatologist and pain specialist. I am a single mom of a grown son and hold advanced degrees. I have worked for my company for 25 (!) years and the pain and symptoms have become too intense and my cognitive abilities and forgetfulness causes problems on the job. I am missing a lot of work and currently been on short term dis. for three months. I can’t work. I do not say this lightly. I am my only means of support. I have paid Sun Life for years in the event something like this should happen and now they will ot help. I need someone to come to my rescue before I become homeless.

Please email me if you think you can help me. I need help and quick. I can get you nearly ten years of documentation if that helps your decision any. Thank you.

Attorney Stephen Jessup:


Please contact our office to discuss how we can assist you with your claim.


I recently received a letter from SunLife that requests I fill out a Social Security Consent Form. They want to look into my SSDI benefits and my bank accounts to see if I’m getting overpaid. I’m not. I do receive a payment from my 401K, but even with that I am not far above the poverty level. If they think I’m overpaid, they’ll reduce my LTD benefit and make me pay them back. Do I have to sign this letter? I’ve been diagnosed with ALS since 2010, I need every cent I can get.

Attorney Stephen Jessup:


If the policy does not require you to sign the letter then you may not have a legal obligation. That being said, Sun Life may still find out about a SSDI award and offset accordingly. Furthermore, most policies give an insurance carrier the right to deduct an estimated SSDI amount should you fail to apply for SSDI or provide information as to same.

Rebecca Wells:

I have been on short term California disability for almost a year. I applied for LTD and submitted all their required documents and my doctors submitted their reports, my employer also submitted all the required paper work. The company denied me due to not enough medical information. I am suppose to return to work in one month or I will lose my job. I have a numb leg and foot due to a herniated disk, as well as weakness in my legs and thighs. I also have periodic pain. My biggest issue is the weakness and numbness which makes my gate unstable.

They have an MRI which shows the issues with my back. I was wondering if I have to return to work despite my issues if I can still appeal the denial. If I did win, they would at least owe me from may to Feb. the difference between my STD and what LTD pays.

Thank you,
Rebecca Wells

Attorney Stephen Jessup:


The questions as to whether or not you can return to work is a determination for you and your doctor. In the event you are not medically able to return to work you would still have the right to appeal the adverse determination. Please feel free to contact our office with a copy of your denial letter to discuss how we may be able to assist you in appealing.


If I could draw my regular Social Security and dismiss SunLife, would I still owe them? Not SSDI by SS. Old enough and the hassle is unbearable. Filed for SSDI but not going to get it in time.

Attorney Stephen Jessup:


Any period of time that Sun Life were to pay you benefits and you receive a source of “Other Income” Sun Life would be entitled to a repayment. I can understand dealing with Sun Life being a pain, but would advise you to consider thoroughly your options as if you pull your SSR early you will be monetarily working against yourself in the long run.


I have recently applied for LTD after being on STD for surgery. My STD was denied when the doctor extended my time off for an additional 6 weeks.

How can Sun Life determine if a person is ready to return to work without an exam?

During my recovery time I addressed an ongoing back issue that seems to be getting worse and spreading to other body parts due to compensating for the back by standing improperly. The specialist I sought help from (who examined me 18 months prior) said he supports my claim for LTD. My back is only getting worse and will continue to do so. If my work leave runs out will my claim for the Sun Life disability case be valid?

If I am applying for LTD with my employer, do I also need to apply for it with my government?

Attorney Stephen Jessup:


Have you filed an appeal of the denial of STD benefits? Your policy may require completion of the STD prior to any review/entitlement of LTD benefits. Please feel free to contact our office to discuss your claim in greater detail.

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