Dell & Schaefer Wins Disability Appeal against Cigna for Mortgage Banker

Before contacting our office, Mr. Z had a long history of chronic cervical issues necessitating repeated surgeries, the most recent being in March 2014. In addition to other issues, Mr. Z had been suffering from worsening symptoms associated with headaches and upper extremity weakness due to cervical herniated disc with myelopathy. In September 2013, Mr. Z’s conditions had worsened to the point he was no longer able to work as a Loan Officer for Quicken Loans.

Luckily, Mr. Z was eligible for Short-term disability (STD) benefits through his employer sponsored group disability plan. CIGNA, the claims administrator for the STD plan, initially approved Mr. Z’s claim for benefits and paid him benefits through December 13, 2013.

Mr. Z was also covered by his employer’s Long-term Disability (LTD) plan, under which he was eligible for benefits after exhausting his STD benefits. However, relying on an estimated return to work date from Mr. Z’s doctor, CIGNA denied Mr. Z’s LTD claim beyond December 20, 2013.

CIGNA denied Mr. Z’s claim despite an update from Mr. Z’s doctor that Mr. Z’s condition had worsened and advising that Mr. Z is not to return to work on December 20. CIGNA also ignored the doctor’s statement that Mr. Z required additional surgery.

First Administrative Appeal

Mr. Z, with the help of his doctor, submitted an appeal of CIGNA’s denial of benefits. Mr. Z took on the burden of handling his appeal while suffering through intense pain in his neck, daily migraines, swelling and pain mixed with numbness in his ear.

Despite letters from Mr. Z’s doctor, MRI’s revealing the origin of his pain, EMGs showing chronic cervical radiculopathy as well as statements from Mr. Z’s doctor that he was in need of additional surgery to stop the pain, CIGNA denied Mr. Z’s appeal on February 4, 2014.

Voluntary Appeal by Dell & Schaefer

Luckily, Mr. Z had a second appeal available under his policy and, following the denial of his appeal, he contacted our office for help.

We immediately began working on Mr. Z’s case. Upon reviewing the claim file, it became apparent that CIGNA’s review had been less than thorough. Cigna had denied Mr. Z’s claim based on outdated medical documents and had ignored significant objective findings supporting Mr. Z’s claim.

We sorted through the claim file and determined what was needed to get Mr. Z’s claim overturned. The appeal was successful.

By letter dated September 24, 2014, CIGNA faxed notification overturning its denial and advising that it would pay all benefits owed.

Find more CIGNA disability cases discussed on this page.

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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, 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.


Bruce R. (Arizona)

Steve Dell has done an exceptional job with my disability application process. The firm is extremely well managed. They have acquired an incredible amount of experience over many years. I recommend them for disability insurance claims without reservation. 

Don (Florida)

I called this firm a few months ago completely disparaged due to a company cutting off disability benefits at a time that nearly caused me to lose everything.

Attorney Alex Palmera and Danielle worked hard to reach an amicable settlement and my case was settled a few months later. This is a good firm and the specific expertise in disability claims saved me countless hours of hassle at a time when an already fragile state existed.

Thank you Mr. Palamara and Danielle.

Sandra B. (Arkansas)

I have nothing but good things to say about how my buyout was handled with my disability claim. The level of professionalism was amazing. All of my questions and concerns were answered either by Danielle L. or Alex P. in such a timely manner and with such care I would recommend them in a heartbeat to anyone needing to approach their provider with buyout options.

They did a fantastic job communicating between the provider and me, always keeping my best interest at heart and always answering my many many questions. They really did take most of the stress out of this whole situation. I would give them a 10 out of 10 for every step of this crazy journey. Thank you so much for helping me through this.

Brenda R. (New York)

I needed assistance with an appeal for a LTD claim that was initially denied. Stephen understood what needed to happen to win the appeal and he did win the appeal for me.

Michael C. (Virginia)

Greg Dell and his assistant Anneli have been extremely responsive and helpful, not only our initial consultations, but in follow-ups 1 and 2 years later with the insurance company to ensure that they comply with their agreements (which they did), as well as a separate and only slightly-related inquiry about our health insurance. I always hear back from them very quickly, which is rare and greatly appreciated.

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