CIGNA long term disability denial is reversed by New York Federal Judge

Steven Alfano was a wage and salary manager when he was injured in a car accident in May 1996. Though he returned to work after he recovered from his acute injuries, he still suffered from back pain and residual weakness in his left leg. Because of this he continued to see Dr. Michael Alexiades, an orthopedic surgeon.

His back condition got worse over time. By May 2000, it became apparent that he would not be able to continue working even though his position was sedentary. He could not sit for more 1/2 to 2 hours before he had to resort to laying down or sitting in a reclined position. Dr. Alexiades gave Alfano his official opinion that he should stop working on June 5, 2000. He followed his doctor’s recommendation.

Alfano had participated in group long-term disability benefit plan his employer, Cornell University Weill College contracted for with CIGNA Life Insurance Company (CIGNA). The plan stipulated that Alfano had to be disabled for 180 days before he could apply for benefits.

Realizing that he was indeed not going to be able to work again, Alfano applied for Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) benefits immediately, then waited as required by the plan to apply for his long-term disability benefits from CIGNA. He applied for disability benefits a few days before the 180 days waiting period ended. CIGNA denied his application for disability benefits, even though the decision to deny his claim occurred more than six months after he had to leave work.

Alfano hired a long-term disability attorney and appealed promptly. CIGNA upheld its denial once again, claiming Alfano had not fulfilled the 180 day waiting period. So he waited a full year, until April 2002 before he appealed the denial a second time. He added the most recent medical records to the multiple medical reports and tests provided with his initial application. All the evidence, doctor’s reports, MRIs and EMGs demonstrated that his condition had not improved over the intervening year.

Social Security found him disabled shortly after he filed his second appeal. So he informed CIGNA of this fact as well on September 13, 2002. It took the long-term disability company almost three months to respond, and when the claims handler contacted him, it was to inform Alfano that they needed to consult a health care professional with the appropriate training and experience.

Dr. David Trotter, the orthopedic surgeon CIGNA sent his file to, found that the evidence proved that the stenosis and nerve root impingement revealed in his MRIs and resulting inability to sit for long enough to work a full day effectively rendered Alfano disabled from his own occupation as a wage and salary manager. This finding played a key role in the decision to reverse its initial decision and to begin paying Alfano long-term disability benefits. The notice informed Alfano that retroactive payments would go to December 3, 2000 just two days after the day he filed his claim.

At the two year mark, CIGNA tried to invoke an “any occupation” evaluation of Alfano’s qualifications for disability. Alfano’s disability attorney quickly notified the disability insurance company that his policy did not have an “any occupation” clause. CIGNA corrected this understanding while making it clear that Alfano could only maintain his benefits by continuing to prove he qualified under the “own occupation” standard.

This involved regular reports from his treating physicians. One such report submitted in October 2004, convinced CIGNA that his condition had improved, even though subsequent communications corrected the misunderstanding that led to inaccuracy in the filling out of the form. Based on this one report that appeared to say that Alfano could now sit, walk and stand for up to 2-1/2 to 5 hours of an 8-hour workday, CIGNA terminated his long-term disability benefits.

From that point on, it seemed that nothing Alfano produced as evidence of his continuing disability had any effect. CIGNA ordered three separate transferable skills analyses (TSAs). Each one found that he could work in his own occupation. CIGNA ordered a functional capacity evaluation (FCE). The summary found he was capable of sedentary work, even though a quick read of the actual evaluation demonstrated the opposite. Two physicians, hired by CIGNA, found that his medical records coupled with the FCE failed to support his continuing disability. For a detailed pre-lawsuit history of Mr. Alfano’s case please see the article CIGNA terminates disability insurance benefits as claimant’s back condition gets worse.

After three appeals, Alfano had no choice but to file an ERISA lawsuit against CIGNA for wrongful denial of disability benefits. Both Alfano’s disability attorney and CIGNA’s attorneys agreed that the correct standard with which to review CIGNA’s decision was de novo. This standard allows the Court to look at a disability plan administrator’s decision with a more critical eye. The Court has the right to look at the evidence and evaluate whether the plan administrator’s decision was right, not just unreasonable.

Alfano’s disability attorney did not present any evidence that showed good cause for adding anything to the disability plan’s administrative record, so this would be the evidence that the Court would consider. The disability attorney had all the evidence necessary right in the record to demonstrate that CIGNA had made the wrong decision.

It was vital in this case for Alfano’s disability attorney to prove under ERISA that he was unable to perform sedentary work, as this was the classification the plan gave his occupation as a wage and salary manager. The question before the Court was this. Had Alfano met his burden to prove to the disability benefit plan that he was still disabled under the plan, before his benefits were terminated? Had a significant change in his condition warranted CIGNA’s decision to terminate his benefits? If the Court found that Alfano’s condition was the same or worse than when he was found disabled initially, terminating his benefits would weigh against CIGNA.

Indeed, this is exactly what a review of the medical record demonstrated. Alfano had submitted extensive evidence that he was disabled and continued to remain so. While two physicians were his primary care providers, no less than four additional neutral physicians had evaluated him and found him severely limited by L5-S1 radiculopathy. His need to take heavy doses of narcotics to manage his pain was also well documented. He had submitted to multiple MRIs which showed his condition worsening.

The functional capacity evaluation ordered at CIGNA’s request also supported his inability to work an 8-hour day. He was unable to perform many of the tests due to his inability to maintain control of his legs. The lifting test had to be stopped. He had to lie down numerous times during the test.

Despite this extensive medical support, CIGNA claimed that under ERISA it had no obligation to give weight to Alfano’s medical evidence. The Court disagreed. ERISA requires long-term disability plans to provide a clear rational for rejecting a treating physician’s opinion before it can discredit evidence a claimant has presented. The Court could not order CIGNA to give more weight to Alfano’s doctors, but it could require CIGNA to show just cause for ignoring the evidence.

The Court recognized that CIGNA didn’t have to order an independent medical evaluation. File reviews were adequate. Yet, because the Court was reviewing Alfano’s claim de novo it could consider whether the long-term relationship between Alfano and his physicians would make their opinions of more value than that of a doctor just reading his file. When the length of his relationship with at least six doctors was combined with the fact that eight separate physicians had concluded that he was disabled, including one hired by CIGNA. The Court would give this evidence substantial weight in the decision-making process.

Then there was the finding by Social Security that Alfano was disabled to consider. CIGNA tried to argue that it wasn’t bound to agree with a SSDI decision. Yet, the Court found that Social Security had used an even stricter standard for approving Alfano’s benefits – his inability to work in any occupation. The Court found it inconsistent for CIGNA to seek to benefit financially from Alfano’s receipt of SSDI benefits, yet not demonstrate how the requirements of the plan differed from those of Social Security. The Court determined that the Social Security decision should also bear substantial weight in its decision-making process.

The Court found that CIGNA’s presentation of vocations it claimed Alfano could work in was argued against by his medical record. Not a single job would have accommodated Alfano’s primary limitations – an inability to sit more than 2 to 2-1/2 hours per day or to walk for more than a total of 2-1/2 hours per day. The Court cited to another long term disability case in which they stated that “The ability to sit for a total of four hours does not generally satisfy the standard for sedentary work.”

The main problem with all three TSAs was the fact that they failed to consider all of the record. The last two TSAs obviously relied on the first page summary of the FCE performed on July 26, 2005. Unfortunately, this summary bore little resemblance to the information in the rest of the FCE. While the summary stated that Alfano was “functioning safely at a sedentary level for an eight hour period according to N.Y. Department of Labor Standards,” numerous contradictions to the statement appeared within.

The FCE noted that Alfano “was unable to stoop, kneel, crouch, or crawl.” This was due to decreased range of motion as well as weakness and the inability to prevent his lower extremities from buckling beneath him. The clinical data obtained during the evaluation did not support his ability to tolerate sitting for more than “10 to 15 minutes without a drastic change in position.” The tester stated that he had to lie down frequently during the test to alleviate his symptoms.” The Court found it inexcusable that CIGNA did not question the validity of the summary when the data more clearly supported the opinions of his treating physicians that he could not sit for more than 2-1/2 hours a day.

Such a careless reliance on the summary page of an FCE was not new to the Court. In Rappa v. Connecticut General Life Insurance Company, the Court found that a disability insurance plan is irresponsible when it depends upon a summary page instead of evaluating the full contents of an FCE. CIGNA could not argue that it had reached a correct decision when it ignored portions of the FCE that contradicted the summary.

Before reaching a decision, the Court had to also consider whether CIGNA’s dependence on the opinions of physicians it chose to review Alfano’s files was a credible reason to terminate Alfano’s benefits. Had the opinions reached by these reviews adequately and credibly presented a rebuttal to the findings of Alfano’s physicians?

One physician claimed that the medical evidence presented by Alfano failed to support his inability to sit for prolonged periods and his need to change positions frequently. This conclusion ignored MRIs, an EMG, and positive leg raise tests which supported the conclusion of several physicians that his ability to sit for more that 2-1/2 hours per day. It also ignored the findings of the FCE which confirmed the same conclusion.

Every other expert’s findings also leaned heavily upon the summary page of the FCE. Some stated that Alfano’s physicians had provided vague responses, a charge the Court found unfounded.

After reviewing all the evidence, the Court found that CIGNA’s position that Alfano’s condition had improved, making him capable of returning to his own occupation, was not grounded upon fact. In fact, the medical evidence suggested that his condition was continuing to deteriorate. CIGNA had wrongfully terminated Alfano’s benefits.

CIGNA argued that the Court should remand Alfano’s claim back into the disability company’s control. The Court refused to do this. Such a decision would send a message to disability insurance plans that they can continue to be careless and avoid the consequences of not abiding by the rules established by ERISA.

CIGNA’s termination had been improper. A clear decision granting Alfano’s disability attorney’s motion for summary judgment was the only appropriate remedy. The Court ordered CIGNA to reinstate Alfano’s long-term disability benefits retroactively and to continue making payments until he either ceases to be disabled or reaches 63 years of age.

Attorneys Dell & Schaefer did not represent Mr. Alfano as it related to his claim for disability benefits.


Did you find this helpful?
Unhelpful (0)

Resources to Help You Win Disability Benefits

Disability Benefit Denial Options
Submit a Strong Cigna Appeal Package

We work with you, your doctors, and other experts to submit a very strong Cigna appeal.

Submit a Strong Cigna Disability Appeal

Sue Cigna

We have filed thousands of disability denial lawsuits in federal Courts nationwide against Cigna.

Cigna Disability Lawsuit

Protect Your Benefits
Get Your Cigna Disability Application Approved
We help claimants throughout the entire application process.

Apply for Cigna Disability Benefits

Prevent a Cigna Disability Benefit Denial
We manage every aspect of your disability claim following claim approval.

Monthly Handling of Your Cigna Claim

Negotiate a Cigna Lump-Sum Settlement

Our goal is to negotiate the highest possible buyout of your long-term disability policy.

Cigna Long Term Disability Buyout

Cigna Reviews
(642)

Policy Holder Rating

0 out of 5
0
Read 0 reviews
0would recommend
5
0%
4
0%
3
0%
2
0%
1
0%
Timely Payments
0.0out of 5
Handling Claim
0.0out of 5
Customer Service
0.0out of 5
Dependable
0.0out of 5
Value
0.0out of 5
Showing 8 of 642 Reviews
Sedgwick

AT&T Was Great and Sedgwick Horrible

Reviewed by From a great job to a complete nightmare on March 20th 2024   Verified Policyholder | March 2024 date of disability
My Physician recommended that I take some time from a toxic environment after several deaths in my family coupled with AT&T trying to run tenured employees out of the door... read more >
New York Life

Keeps claiming they will not approve claim for pre existing conditions but my illness is not preexisting

Reviewed by M.T. on February 15th 2024   Verified Policyholder | May 2023 date of disability
I have been appealing a claim for LTD for 8 months! New York Life keeps claiming they will not approve claim for pre existing conditions but my illness is not preexisting ... read more >
Reliance Standard

Staff Lie

Reviewed by Tanya on February 12th 2024   Verified Policyholder | August 2021 date of disability
I had my disability cut off the day I was scheduled to find out whether I should have surgery. The claims examiner was aware that I had an appointment on that date and sai... read more >
Reply
Sent on February 12th 2024 by Attorney Gregory Dell

I am sorry to hear about your experience. It’s crazy that Reliance Standard would deny your disability benefits when you are suffering so badly that you need surgery.... read more >

Hartford

Former Hartford employee has had life insurance and accidental death policy's revoked for one late premium payment

Reviewed by Becky H. THOMAS on February 12th 2024   Verified Policyholder | February 2024 date of disability
Dislike how they are constantly interrupting the lives of their disabled EE's whom are entitled to benefit which they paid into out of there pay check every pay period onl... read more >
Reply
Sent on February 12th 2024 by Attorney Gregory Dell

Thank you for your review of Hartford and we appreciate you sharing.  It’s sad they don’t take care of their own employees.

Lincoln Financial

Never received benefits my entire leave - or help with them

Reviewed by Anna on December 19th 2023   Verified Policyholder | November 2023 date of disability
I used my short term disability insurance for maternity leave and started the process beforehand knowing when I would be out (scheduled induction.) It took a little over a... read more >
Sun Life

Unscrupulous Tactics

Reviewed by Misseekayy on December 19th 2023   Verified Policyholder | May 2023 date of disability
Sunlife uses unscrupulous tactics in order to prevent payment of claims. They wait until it is close to the 30 day mark and then they ask for another form of information o... read more >
Sedgwick

Lame

Reviewed by Dennis T. on December 11th 2023   Verified Policyholder | March 2022 date of disability
My experience with Sedgwick and personell is as follows: Unhelpful, unprofessional and an overall unpleasant experience.
Unum

Low payments

Reviewed by Dorothy on November 30th 2023   Verified Policyholder | November 2023 date of disability
I was injured at work. I did house keeping in a hospital. I tore just about everything imaginable in my knee. I was let go from my job, because I was no longer able to do ... read more >
Answered Questions by Our Lawyers
(58)
Showing 8 of 58 Answered Questions

Q: Do I have to be an active employee to apply for LTD?

Answered on October 27th 2022 by Attorney Steven Dell
A: Lori: Generally speaking, if out on claim and a new/different disability arises you can add that to your exist... Read More >

Q: Is my plan governed by ERISA?

Answered on October 9th 2020 by Attorney Alex Palamara
A: LeRoy, we will have to review the policy in order to give an opinion as to whether it would be governed by ERI... Read More >

Q: Can I add a physical disability claim to my mental health one without seeing a doctor (hard to get an appointment with COVID)?

Answered on April 14th 2020 by Attorney Cesar Gavidia
A: Heather, the only way to effectively include your physical disability claim is to see a physician qualified to... Read More >

Q: Do you handle CIGNA cases in Florida?

Answered on February 12th 2020 by Attorney Rachel Alters
A: Vito, yes. We absolutely do handle Cigna cases in Florida. Please email me at Rachel@diattorney.com and send... Read More >

Q: Do you handle closed cases only, or open ones as well?

Answered on May 10th 2019 by Attorney Stephen Jessup
A: Renee, we handle all types of open claims with Cigna – applications, claims handling, appeals, lawsuits, buy... Read More >

Q: I filed an appeal and lost. Is it worth pursuing?

Answered on September 29th 2017 by Attorney Stephen Jessup
A: Kim, in my opinion, yes. If you are still within your timeframe to file a lawsuit you have little to lose in t... Read More >

Q: Is 6 month reporting normal?

Answered on March 8th 2017 by Attorney Stephen Jessup
A: Joe, six month reporting is very normal, and often Cigna requires monthly or every three months so the six mon... Read More >

Q: How long is the ERISA disability policy statue of limitatation?

Answered on August 30th 2016 by Attorney Rachel Alters
A: Sebastian, did you ever appeal the denial of benefits. The law can be very black and white that failure to app... Read More >
Helpful Videos
(896)
Showing 12 of 896 Videos
Disability Benefit Tips
(331)
Showing 8 of 331 Benefit Tips

Is Cigna Seeking To Offset Disability Benefit by Social Security Survivor Benefit?

I recently spoke with a gentleman who called into our office who has been receiving long term disability benefits from Cigna for several years and is also receiving Social Security disability benefits. Employer provided disability policies contain what is known as an “Other Income” provision that identifies all the sources of income that will offset your monthly benefit- the most common of which is Social ... Read More >

Is Cigna's Denial of Your Appeal Really a Denial?

Following the submission of your appeal has Cigna sent you a letter stating that after review of the information provided on appeal their decision to deny your claim was correct but also providing you a copy of their medical reviews?Recent changes by the Department of Labor to ERISA regulations now require that a disability insurance company provide you an opportunity to respond to adverse information crea... Read More >

What Should a Claimant Expect When Suing Cigna or any Other Disability Company for Long Term Disability Benefits?

ERISA disability lawsuits are complicated due to the pro-insurance company laws. Our disability attorneys have handled thousands of ERISA disability lawsuits and Cigna is one of the companies that we sue on a routine basis. In this video, attorneys Cesar Gavidia and Gregory Dell discuss the fundamentals of a disability lawsuit against Cigna. If you have a potent... Read More >

Are Cigna Short Term Disability Denials on the Rise?

When it comes to claims for short term disability benefits under ERISA governed group policies, more often than not the short term disability policy is not underwritten by an insurance company, but rather it is administered by an insurance company. What this means is when a policy is underwritten by an insurance company the insurance company financially funds the disability benefit to be paid from its own asse... Read More >

Cigna's latest strategies for handling and denying disability benefit claims

Watch Gregory Dell and Stephen Jessup discuss Cigna's latest strategy for handling disability benefit claims. This video has some tips which may help you to secure disability benefits. Any of our lawyers are available for a free initial phone consultation to discuss your claim.... Read More >

Is a Claimant's Complaints of Pain Enough to Qualify for Short or Long Term Disability Insurance Benefits?

The answer to this question applies to the vast majority of long term disability insurance claims that we handle on a daily basis. Pain is subjective. This means that there is no medical device or verifiable method for confirming pain. A claimant's ability to collect disability benefits based upon pain will depend upon the level of documentation and treatment received from treating physicians. In a recent case... Read More >

Is My Insurance Company Allowed to Take An Offset of My Monthly LTD Benefit for Social Security Benefits My Kids Receive As A Result of My Disability?

It is common practice for insurance companies to find ways to limit the amount of money they have to pay to claimants. If you are receiving long-term disability benefits from a policy governed by ERISA, you have most likely been required to also file for Social Security Disability Income benefits. Insurance companies write this requirement into their policies so they can reap the benefits of any past money awa... Read More >

Is My "No-Fault" Auto Insurance Settlement an Offset Under My Long Term Disability Insurance Policy?

If your policy is an employer provided group disability policy governed by ERISA, then any proceeds you receive from a settlement based on "No fault" auto insurance may very well be subject to repayment as "Other Income Benefits." This situation came to light in a recent federal court case in Michigan against Life Insurance Company of America (LINA-more commonly known as Cigna) and serves as a warning to any c... Read More >
Dell Disability Cases
(375)
Showing 8 of 375 Dell Disability Cases

Cigna Sued For Failing To Make A Timely Decision on Appeal

If your disability insurance claim has ever been denied you will have received a formal denial letter from your insurance carrier in which you are advised as to the basis of the denial as well as provided guidelines set forth by ERISA as to the filing of an administrative appeal to challenge the denial of benefits. The most important of these ERISA guidelines is the notification that you have 180 days from the... Read More >

CIGNA Overturns a Waiver of Premium for Group Life Insurance Policy

In early 2019, the widow of a decease man contacted our firm as she was troubled by the actions of CIGNA, also known as Life Insurance Company of North America. Prior to contacting our firm, the lady’s husband had died from metastatic prostate cancer in July of 2018. Through his prior employer, the decedent was covered under two insurance policies:  (1) a group long term disability insurance p... Read More >

Cigna Admits Error In Denying Disability Benefits

Our client, a former school teacher, suffering from multiple severe medical conditions including autonomic nervous system damage, small fiber neuropathy, a history of prior back surgery, and severe immune conditions had been receiving long term disability benefits through Cigna for approximately two years under his school system’s group disability policy when he first contacted our office. Like the vast majo... Read More >

CIGNA Overturned Their Denial of LTD Benefits for Nevada Healthcare Coordinator

Our client, Ms. G, formerly worked as a Healthcare Coordinator for a large regional healthcare provider. For many years Ms. G suffered from chronic debilitating effects of multiple physical conditions and ailments, including, among other conditions, Intractable Pain, Chronic Venous Insufficiency, which left her with debilitating physical and cognitive impairments. Ms. G was unwilling to give up her career and ... Read More >

CIGNA Denies Technology Manager under the Own Occupation Provision & Dell Disability Lawyers Wins Appeal

Our client, Mr. N, formerly worked as a Technology Manager / Vice President for a large bank. For many years Mr. N suffered from chronic debilitating effects of multiple physical conditions and ailments, including, among other conditions, Parkinson’s Disease, Parkinson’s Dementia, Dystonia and Bradykinesia, which left him with debilitating physical and cognitive impairments. Mr. N was unwilling to give up ... Read More >

CIGNA overturned previous denial of waiver of life insurance premiums

Our client was the husband and beneficiary of Ms. S, who formerly worked as a registered nurse for a regional Healthcare System. In January 2016 a number of medical issues, including cerebrovascular constriction syndrome, vasomotor headaches, unspecified neurocognitive disorder, chronic fatigue, and chronic pain syndrome forced Ms. S to stop working and submit her claim for disability benefits under her employ... Read More >

Dell Disability Lawyers successfully appeal denial of benefits to claimant with CRPS/RSD

Ms. S contacted our firm after receiving a letter from her disability carrier, Cigna, denying her claim for short term disability benefits under her employer sponsored disability plan. Ms. S was suffering from multiple ailments including a rare, often misunderstood condition called Complex Regional Pain syndrome (CRPS), also known as Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD). At the start of the claim, Cigna accepted... Read More >

LINA overturned its previous LTD denial for Medical Technologist

Our client, Ms. H, formerly worked as a Medical Technologist for a National Clinical Laboratory. In July 2017 a number of medical issues, including psoriatic arthritis and osteoarthritis forced Ms. H to stop working and submit her claim for disability benefits under her employer’s long-term disability (LTD) policy, which was funded and administered by LINA. Under her employer’s disability policy she would ... Read More >
Disability Lawsuit Stories
(765)
Showing 8 of 765 Lawsuit Stories

Cigna Denial of LTD Benefits for Schlumberger Shop Manager Upheld

In Jerry Courville v. Life Insurance Co of North America (LINA), Plaintiff was employed as a shop manager for Schlumberger Technology Corporation (STC). In 2015, he began experiencing neck and back pain. In July 2015, he underwent a three-level spinal fusion. Three months later, he underwent a one-level spinal fusion.Plaintiff filed a claim for short-term disability (STD) benefit... Read More >

Missouri Court Rules Cigna Wrongfully Terminated Disability Benefits

In the case of Lapidus vs. Life Ins. Co. of N. Am. a Missouri federal court ruled against Cigna finding that Cigna wrongfully terminated long term disability benefits to Lapidus after having initially approving her claim for benefits. Prior to filing for disability benefits Lapidus worked as the vice-president of medical benefits for BJC Healthcare. Despite having undergone a spinal fusion and additional conse... Read More >

Missouri Court Orders Cigna to Pay LTD Benefits to Medical Sales Executive

The Plaintiff in this case was vice-president of Medical Benefits at BJC Healthcare when a severe back condition required her to have a spinal fusion. She was awarded short term disability (STD) benefits while she recovered. Unfortunately, she suffered serious complications following the surgery which delayed her recovery. Her application for long term disability (LTD) benefits was initially approved, but four... Read More >

Cigna's Termination of Disability Benefits was Arbitrary and Capricious

The case of Lani Kyle Moar v. Cigna Corporation, et al., demonstrates the lengths insurance companies will go to avoid paying long term disability benefits. This Plaintiff’s perseverance resulted in the Court ordering Cigna to pay past due benefits, but also gave Cigna a new chance to deny benefits in a way that will not be arbitrary and capricious.It began in 2000 when Plaintiff, a flight attendant with... Read More >

Court Criticizes Lina For Failing to Perform Independent Examination

Disability Insurance companies are criticized often for failing to perform independent medical evaluations and instead relying exclusively on file reviews performed by in house doctors. The tendency to perform reviews in this fashion is more common with some carriers than others. Such is the case with Life Insurance Company of North America (LINA) also known as Cigna.In Guest-Marcotte v. Life Insurance Com... Read More >

Lockheed Martin Systems Integration Analyst Wins Long-term Disability Lawsuit against CIGNA

Cal Van Steen had been employed as a Systems Integration Business Analyst at Lockheed Martin Corporation and participated in the company’s group long-term disability plan with Life Insurance Company of North America a/k/a CIGNA.In 2011 while walking his dog he was assaulted during an altercation which resulted in a traumatic brain injury that affected Mr. Van Steen’s cognitive abilities, namely his abi... Read More >

Colorado District Court overturns denial of benefits by Life Insurance Company of North America

In Johnson v. Life Insurance Company of America, a Colorado District Court ruled in favor of the claimant finding LINA’s decision unsupported by any reasonable basis. The case dealt with a denial of long term disability benefits at the change in definition from own occupation to any occupation. After paying 24 months of benefits to Ms. Johnson, LINA concluded that Ms. Johnson did not qualify for any occupati... Read More >

Texas Judge Disagrees with Cigna and Applies Claimant Friendly Disability Standard of Review

In Brasseur v. Life Insurance Company of America (LINA), Plaintiff Wilfred Brasseur, a computer engineer, worked in the Houston office of Chicago Bridge & Iron Company when he became disabled. LINA denied his application for long term disability benefits on the grounds that he “was not disabled as defined by the Plan’s terms.” Ultimately, Brasseur filed an ERISA lawsuit in Houston. He filed a motion ... Read More >

Reviews from Our Clients

Request a Free Consultation

Our Lawyers Respond Same Day

5 Ways We Help Get Your Benefits Paid

Get Your Disability Application Approved

Our goal is to get your application for disability income benefits approved. Applying for disability insurance benefits can be a difficult process and the information you provide is critical. Most disability insurance companies look at your application in hopes of finding a reason to deny your claim. Your disability company will ask you to complete numerous forms, interview you, request lots of information, speak with your doctors and possibly request to have you examined by their "hired gun" doctor.

Through our experience of having helped thousands of disability insurance claimants, our disability insurance lawyers will guide you through the entire application process and give you the best chance to get your disability claim approved the first time.

Submit A Strong Appeal Package

If your disability insurance benefits have been wrongfully denied, then our disability insurance lawyers know exactly what it takes to get your disability claim approved. You only get once chance to submit an Appeal, therefore every piece of evidence that will support your disability claim must be included. The goal is to win your disability benefits at the Appeal level, but while preparing your Appeal you must consider how a federal judge will review your disability claim if your benefit denial is upheld.

Preparing a strong disability appeal package is an art that requires you to understand how the courts interpret your disability policy language, ERISA regulations / laws, and how to strategically present evidence in support of your definition of "disability". We encourage you to contact any of our attorneys for a free immediate review of your disability denial.

Sue Your Disability Company

98% of the disability insurance lawsuits filed by our law firm have resulted in either the payment of benefits or a lump-sum settlement agreement. Our disability insurance attorneys have filed ERISA governed and private policy long term disability insurance lawsuits against every major disability insurance company in state and federal courts nationwide and we love fighting for the "little guy" against the multi-billion dollar insurance company giants.

We have recovered hundreds of millions of dollars for our clients and we would like the opportunity to provide you with a free review of your disability benefit denial. There are many complex factors in a disability benefit lawsuit and the legal battle to win long term disability benefits can be fierce.

Prevent A Disability Benefit Denial

Approval of long-term disability is a continuous process as every disability insurance company will evaluate your eligibility for benefits on a monthly basis. You can never let your guard down and assume that your disability company will continue to pay your benefits for as long as you think you need them.

Our disability insurance law firm offers a reasonable flat fee monthly claim handling service in which we handle every aspect of your long-term disability claim and do whatever it takes to make sure you are paid every month.

Negotiate a Lump-Sum Settlement

Let's discuss if a lump-sum settlement or buyout of your disability insurance claim is both available and makes financial sense for you. Our disability insurance lawyers have negotiated more than five-hundred million dollars in disability insurance buyouts and we know how to get you a maximum settlement. A disability insurance company is not required to offer a buyout and not every disability company offers them.

Questions About Hiring Us

Who are Dell Disability Lawyers?

We are disability insurance attorneys that know how to get your short or long term disability benefits paid. As a nationwide law firm we have helped thousands of disability insurance claimants throughout the United States to collect hundreds of millions of dollars of disability insurance benefits from every major disability insurance company.

In more than 98% of our cases, our attorneys have been able to either get our clients paid monthly disability benefits or obtain a one-time lump-sum settlement. Our disability insurance lawyers have seen it all when it comes to disability insurance claims and we know exactly what it takes for your disability claim to be approved.

We offer disability insurance attorney representation nationwide and we welcome you to contact any of our lawyers for a free immediate review of your disability claim. We also invite you to visit and subscribe to our YouTube channel where we have more than 850 videos and regularly provide tips to help protect your disability benefits.

Who do you help?

Our disability insurance attorneys help individuals that have either purchased a long term disability insurance policy from an insurance company or obtained short or long term disability insurance coverage as a benefit from their employer. We have helped individuals in almost every type of occupation with monthly disability benefit payments ranging from $1,500 to $50,000.

Our clients include all types of employees ranging from retail associates, sales representatives, government employees, police officers, teachers, janitors, nurses, pilots, truck drivers, financial advisors, doctors, dentists, veterinarians, lawyers, consultants, IT professionals, engineers, professional athletes, business owners, and high level executives.

A strong understanding and presentation of the duties of your occupation is essential for securing disability insurance benefits.

Do you work in my state?

Yes. We are a national disability insurance law firm that is available to represent you regardless of where you live in the United States. We have partner lawyers in every state and we have filed lawsuits in most federal courts nationwide. Our disability insurance lawyers represent disability claimants at all stages of a claim for disability insurance benefits. There is nothing that our lawyers have not seen in the disability insurance world.

What are your fees?

Since we represent disability insurance claimants at different stages of a disability insurance claim we offer a variety of different fee options. We understand that claimants living on disability insurance benefits have a limited source of income; therefore we always try to work with the claimant to make our attorney fees as affordable as possible.

The three available fee options are a contingency fee agreement (no attorney fee or cost unless we make a recovery), hourly fee or fixed flat rate.

In every case we provide each client with a written fee agreement detailing the terms and conditions. We always offer a free initial phone consultation and we appreciate the opportunity to work with you in obtaining payment of your disability insurance benefits.

Do I have to come to your office to work with your law firm?

No. For purposes of efficiency and to reduce expenses for our clients we have found that 99% of our clients prefer to communicate via phone, email, fax, or video conferencing sessions. If you prefer an initial in-person meeting please let us know. A disability company will never require you to come to their office and similarly we are set up so that we handle your entire claim without the need for you to come to our office.

How can I contact you?

When you call us during normal business hours you will immediately speak with a disability insurance attorney. We can be reached at 800-698-9159 or by email. Lawyers and staff must return all client calls same day. Client emails are usually replied to within the same business day and seem to be the preferred and most efficient method of communication for most clients.

Helpful Resources