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FedEx and Aetna Disability Benefit Claim Ruling is Great for Disabled FedEx Employees

One of the most difficult things in any ERISA governed long term disability claim is dealing with a discretionary clause. A discretionary clause is language found in most ERISA disability policies which gives a plan administrator the ability to choose who will make decisions to approve or deny claims. If a disability policy has a discretionary clause then usually a court must apply an abuse of discretion standard when a case is litigated. The abuse of discretion standard is very bad for disability claimants and the courts have stated, “Under the abuse of discretion standard, the denial of a benefits claim will not be reversed “if reasonable, even if the court itself would have reached a different conclusion. Thus, as long as the denial of benefits is the result of “a deliberate, principled reasoning process and… is supported by substantial evidence,” it will not be disturbed.” There have been more than 18 states that have abolished discretionary clauses and made them illegal.

In every case an experienced disability insurance attorney must verify whether or not the insurance company has discretion. If the insurance company does not have discretion, then the claimant will receive a “de novo” review of their claim. A “de novo” review means that a Judge can review the administrative record and make determination regardless of how the insurance company ruled. In a recent case against Federal Express, they argued that they had discretion and therefore the court could not conduct a de novo review. The South Carolina Federal Judge disagreed with Fedex and ruled that since the FedEx LTD Plan did properly delegate final decision making authority to Aetna, then the court will review the decision to deny pursuant to a de novo standard. This is a great victory for any Fedex employee that is subject to the same disability policy that applied to this case. We are sure that Fedex will be making some changes to their LTD plan after the ruling in this case.

Our disability attorneys have handled numerous cases against FedEx and Aetna insurance company. Contact us for a free consultation to discuss your disability claim.

A copy of the South Carolina court’s decision against FedEx can be read by clicking here.

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There are 2 comments

  • Hank,

    As it relates to a claim for long term disability your legal recourse to secure benefits would be through the mandatory administrative appeal process and if that is unsuccessful through litigation under ERISA. Please feel free to contact our office to discuss your claim in greater detail.

    Stephen JessupJan 11, 2015  #2

  • I am getting the same treatment from FedEx. They, and Aetna specifically, have reviewed my case after the regular LTD period and denied my disability. Although the 3rd party SSDI firm Allsup, which works for them and represents me, continues to litigate my SSDI case before SSA. They did the same to my co-worker, basically saying he wasn’t qualified any longer, giving him a certain amount of days to pick an open job anywhere in the company, or they would consider him resigned. So, unable to work and still going through SSDI proceedings, he was “resigned”, then a year later his SSDI was approved. This is happening in MD. My question is, is there some sort of legal recourse to take against FedEx/Aetna? Thanks!

    HankJan 10, 2015  #1

FAQ

Do you help Aetna claimants nationwide?

We represent Aetna 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 Aetna disability insurance policy?

Our disability insurance lawyers help policy holders seeking short or long term disability insurance benefits from Aetna. 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 Aetna.

How do you help Aetna claimants?

Our lawyers help individuals that have either purchased a Aetna 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 Aetna:

  • 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   *****

Dr. Robert F.

A year ago in August I had the unfortunate situation where I injured my left hand playing in a recreational adult ice hockey game. My first reaction was fear, panic, and my work career is in danger. Having a job as a physician my hands are critical in day to day life but more important to do my job. I remembered at that point a local radio discussion about disability and knew that I had bought a policy 20 years ago and never thought I’d need it but always paid the policy just in case of a potential need.

I contacted Dell and Schaefer and I must say it was one of the best decisions of my life. Now my attorney, Cesar all I can say is THANK YOU! Michal THANK YOU! It at times going through the process was nerve racking scary but they walked me through it and always were there for my questions and concerns. When your life changes in one second you don’t know how to react. The group at Dell & Schaefer do. They understand not only what your going through but realise its individual for each client but always take a personal interest in your concerns. All I can say is my life has changed but choosing Dell & Schaefer to assist me in my claims process was one of the best decisions I ever made in my life

Thank you Cesar, Michal, and the whole firm. I’m with you for life.

Regards, Dr. Rob F.

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