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Court upheld Standard’s decision to deny disability benefits

Carol Shepherd, a fork-lift operator for Daramic, was insured under the company’s group disability plan with Reliance Standard Life Insurance Company. In 2004, Ms. Shepherd had an anxiety attack at work and Daramic suspended her and required that she participate in anger management before returning to work. During her suspension, Ms. Shepherd was receiving treatment at Owensboro Medical Health System Outpatient Counseling Center where she was diagnosed with major depression and anxiety disorder.

Prior to her suspension, Ms. Shepherd worked the swing shift but when it was time to return to work she requested the day shift because her treating physician believed the sleep disturbances would aggravate her psychological conditions. When Daramic refused to give Ms. Shepherd the day shift her doctor said she could not return to work and Ms. Shepherd applied for long-term disability benefits.

Reliance denied Ms. Shepherd’s claim stating that she is not totally disabled and had their own reviewing psychiatrist evaluate her medical records. Reliance upheld its denial of benefits on appeal and Ms. Shepherd sued, seeking benefits under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA).

After reviewing the case, U.S. Judge Joseph H. McKinley Jr. of the Western District of Kentucky found that Reliance’s decision to deny benefits was reasonably supported by Ms. Shepherd’s medical record. The judge rejected Ms. Shepherd’s claim that Reliance failed to conduct a personal psychological evaluation since the company’s psychiatrist “thoroughly reviewed Ms. Shepherd’s medical record and relied on the evidence therein to form his opinion.” Judge McKinley found that there was no competent medical proof in the record to support a disability claim.

See Carol Shepherd v. Reliance Standard Life Insurance Co., No. 4:06CV-83, W.D. Ky.; 2007 U.S. Dist..

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FAQ

Do you help Standard claimants nationwide?

We represent Standard clients nationwide and we encourage you to contact us for a FREE immediate phone consultation with one of our experienced disability insurance attorneys.

Can you help with a Standard disability insurance policy?

Our disability insurance lawyers help policy holders seeking short or long term disability insurance benefits from Standard. We have helped thousands of disability insurance claimants nationwide with monthly disability benefits. With more than 40 years of disability insurance experience we have helped individuals in almost every occupation and we are familiar with the disability income policies offered by Standard.

How do you help Standard claimants?

Our lawyers help individuals that have either purchased a Standard long term disability insurance policy from an insurance company or obtained short or long term disability insurance coverage as a benefit from their employer.

Our experienced lawyers can assist with Standard:

  • ERISA and Non-ERISA Appeals of Disability Benefit Denials
  • ERISA and Non-ERISA Disability Benefit Lawsuits
  • Applying For Short or Long Term Disability Benefits
  • Daily Handling & Management of Your Disability Claim
  • Disability Insurance Lump-Sum Buyout or Settlement Negotiations

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 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 telephone, e-mail, fax, GoToMeeting.com sessions, or Skype. 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 attorney. We can be reached at 800-682-8331 or by email. Lawyer 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.

Dell & Schaefer Client Reviews   *****

Michael A., DDS

I have enjoyed my working experience with the firm of Dell & Schaefer. Specifically, upon becoming my attorney, Greg Dell carefully managed all aspects of my case. He took the time to keep me both informed and calm as we navigated the sometimes difficult waters that led to my long term disability claim being approved. In the five years since my application Greg has expediently handled all of the inquiries made by my disability carrier. I feel confident going forward that Greg will ensure that I receive all the benefits to which I am entitled.

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