Executive Director with Meniere's Disease Denied Disability Benefits By Hartford

Our client, came to us when he was unjustly denied his claim for LTD benefits by Aetna, now Hartford, asserting that his medical records did not demonstrate “a consistent inability to perform [his] sedentary occupation”.  Aetna abused its discretion in reaching this determination as its decision was not only wrong but arbitrary and capricious and was not based on a full nor fair review of his claim. Our client is a former Executive-Internal Audits for The Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation who has long suffered from the debilitating effects of Meniere’s disease. Meniere’s is a chronic, incurable disorder of the inner ear characterized by unpredictable episodes of severe vertigo and dizziness along with symptoms to include but not limited to ear pressure and pain, hearing loss, balance instability, and cognitive dysfunction. He developed Meniere’s in the mid 1990’s and has undergone surgical intervention to include anendolymphatic shunt in 1995 and a vestibular neurectomy in 1996 without any significant improvement to his condition. In fact, the neurectomy resulted in loss of functional hearing in our client’s right ear as well as the onset of constant and severe tinnitus. His Meniere’s also progressed bilaterally with the healthier left ear becoming diseased in 2008.

Despite the severity of his condition, our client was not yet ready to give up on his rewarding career, struggled to continue working while enduring great physical and cognitive difficulties. Unfortunately, his condition continued to deteriorate and on March 28, 2019, he was ultimately forced to cease working and apply for Long Term Disability Benefits under his policy with Aetna. Aetna, clearly seeking to avoid liability under its LTD policy, neglected to provide him with a full and fair review, and unjustly denied his claim for disability on the false assertion that he did not meet the LTD policy’s definition of disability. Upon review of his claim file, it was evident that Aetna’s review, assessment, and conclusion were not only wrong but flawed for several reasons.

In its decision letter dated October 15, 2019. Aetna asserted that our clients “medical records do not show a consistent inability to perform [his] sedentary occupation throughout the 180 day Elimination period which is from [his] date of disability 3/28/19 through LTD benefit date of 9/24/19. Therefore, [his] Long Term Disability claim is denied”. This assertion, however, was not only wrong but inconsistent with Aetna’s own determination on his Short Term Disability (STD) claim. Utilizing the very same medical records as well as essentially the same definition of disability as the LTD policy, Aetna had previously found our client to be disabled under its STD plan and approved his STD claim from March 28, 2019 through the STD benefit maximum date of October 2, 2019. As this period of time overlaps the LTD elimination period, it was illogical for Aetna to later determine that his medical records did not show an inability to perform his occupation through the LTD elimination period. Not only was this contradictory but arbitrary and capricious.

In an eagerness to deny benefits, Aetna equated his occupational duties to that of an Auditor (DOT #160.167-054). However, his high functioning and demanding role as Executive Director- Internal Audits far exceeded that of just an auditor. Our client’s occupation as Executive Director, on the other hand, involved not just auditing but also the management and oversight of a team of professionals, relationship building, meeting deliverables, and presenting to executive and board members amongst many other taxing functions. Given the severity and progression of his Meniere’s disease as substantiated by his medical history and the medical records, he would certainly be unable to effectively perform the aforementioned functions with reasonable continuity and reliability. This would have been evident to Aetna if they had performed their due diligence in appropriately assessing and considering the demands of his occupation. To dispute Aetna’s erroneous conclusions, we retained a Vocational Specialist to perform an Independent Vocational Assessment which not only confirmed that her would not be unable to perform the material duties of his occupation on a sustained basis but also correctly determined his occupation to be consistent with that of a Financial Services Vice President (DOT#186.117-078) not an Auditor as incorrectly asserted by Aetna.

In an Attending Physician Statement form dated April 12, 2019, his neurotology physician specialist, who has been responsible for his treatment since 1995, confirmed his inability to effectively perform the material duties of his occupation as Executive Director on a sustained basis due to the progression of his Meniere’s disease and secondary diagnoses of imbalance and hearing loss. Specifically, his doctor documented that his severe impairments currently rendered him incapable of performing the critical occupational functions of managing a workload, performing leadership functions, conducting presentations, performing technical reading and data analysis, and engaging in long term computer work. His doctor’s corresponding office notes substantiated his opinion demonstrating a progressive severity of impairment that would in fact preclude work in his high functioning and cognitive demanding role. In a telephonic contact documentation dated September 27, 2019, his doctor noted advising Aetna’s physician consultant, Dr. David Foyt, of our client’s disability and even indicating that he was “quite surprised and impressed that he has worked as long as he has with his current symptom complex”.  Unfortunately, in an effort to facilitate his employer’s, Aetna, predetermined decision to deny benefits, misrepresented conversation with treating doctors and the consultant report dated October 7, 2019 minimized the expressed severity of his disability.

It is clear from the review of Aetna’s claim file and claim denial letter that Aetna’s review, opinions, and ultimate decision to deny his benefits were not only FLAWED, but arbitrary and capricious and demonstrated an abuse of any purported discretion that it may have under the LTD plan. The medical evidence from our client’s treating physicians and even the opinion of Aetna’s own physician consultant substantiates a severity of impairment related to diagnosis of Meniere’s disease that would prevent him from performing with reasonable continuity and reliability the material and substantial duties of his high functioning and cognitive demanding occupation as Executive Director-Internal Audits. In an Attending Physician Statement (APS) dated March 5, 2020, his treating doctor confirmed his ongoing, “severe – extreme”, symptomatology to include vertigo, dizziness, imbalance, cognitive dysfunction, short term memory deficits, mental confusion, and fatigue. He further noted that he would be unreliable in the work place with frequent absences and unscheduled breaks due to exacerbations of symptoms.

After reviewing our in depth appeal, Aetna/Hartford overturned their decision to deny his LTD benefits, admitting that our client was indeed disabled and paid him his back benefits he was owed since the date his claim was filed. We are currently managing his claim to ensure that he stays on claim as long as he remains disabled under the terms of the policy.


Did you find this helpful?
Unhelpful (0)

Resources to Help You Win Disability Benefits

Disability Benefit Denial Options
Submit a Strong Hartford Appeal Package

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

Learn more

Sue Hartford

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

Learn more

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

Learn more

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

Learn more

Negotiate a Hartford Lump-Sum Settlement

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

Learn more

Hartford Reviews
(71)

Policy Holder Rating

1.5 out of 5
Read 71 reviews
0%would recommend
5
0%
4
0%
3
1%
2
52%
1
46%
Timely Payments
1.9out of 5
Handling Claim
1.9out of 5
Customer Service
1.8out of 5
Dependable
1.8out of 5
Value
1.9out of 5
Showing 8 of 71 Reviews
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.

Hartford

Bad Faith

Reviewed by Dustin G on October 12th 2023   Verified Policyholder | November 2020 date of disability
They kept asking my doctor for the same information that they did not need to process my claim. He kept sending in the same information, and they kept asking for it. My do... read more >
Hartford

Denied by Hartford after 20 years of Payments

Reviewed by Mary on October 11th 2023   Verified Policyholder
Hello,I am a Multiple Sclerosis patient. I also have Lymph-edema, Asthma, Blood-clot problems, Bi-Polar 1 Depression, and Head & Neck Injuries. And now, due to MS, Spast... read more >
Hartford

This company is a scam!

Reviewed by Hana K. on July 13th 2023   Verified Policyholder | December 2022 date of disability
The Hartford does not pay claims. The Hartford only collects premiums. The Hartford doesn’t care if you are terminally ill. I’ve been employed at my employer since 201... read more >
Hartford

Hartford Stopped Payments

Reviewed by Fed up in PA on April 13th 2023   Verified Policyholder | January 2023 date of disability
Worst company ever. Their analysts will go against your treating provider every single time. Horrible experience, just horrible.
Hartford

Hartford never paid me

Reviewed by Nanette M. on April 26th 2020   Verified Policyholder
I went on disability March 25, 2019 until Dec. 23, 2019 from my job FedEx. The Hartford insurance company didn’t pay me my disability check after the end of July. I appe... read more >
Reply
Sent on April 26th 2020 by Attorney Gregory Dell

Nanette, we are sorry to hear that your claim for benefits for the period of July through December was denied. Please feel free to contact us for a free consultation.read more >

Hartford

Hartford rep felt so guilty over how the company treated me that she quit

Reviewed by Delton on April 8th 2020   Verified Policyholder
It’s been since 1998 but they really screwed me over big time and caused my family and I much distress ~ first they required me to go to a psychiatric doctor before they... read more >
Reply
Sent on April 8th 2020 by Attorney Rachel Alters

Delton, I’m sorry to hear about the experience you had with Hartford. Unfortunately since your claim dates back to 1998 it would be too late to file suit as the statu... read more >

Hartford

Hartford ajuster won't return my calls. I might have to move back to California

Reviewed by Jesse on March 17th 2020   Verified Policyholder
I was awarded medical for life, for my back injuries at work by the court of Los Angeles in California years ago. I moved to Colorado two years ago and for the past few mo... read more >
Answered Questions by Our Lawyers
(66)
Showing 8 of 66 Answered Questions

Q: Disability company dropped my monthly benefits

Answered on February 28th 2024 by Attorney Rachel Alters
A: Since you went back to work full time you would not qualify for further benefits. You could file a new claim i... Read More >

Q: The Hartford stopped monthly benefits for repayment due to an overpayment. Once monthly benefits end do I still have to repay remaining overpayment balance?

Answered on February 28th 2024 by Attorney Rachel Alters
A: Yes, you will still be responsible for the overpayment even if your Hartford benefits end. Read More >

Q: Short term vs long term

Answered on February 14th 2024 by Attorney Jay Symonds
A: Nightwatcher, you and your treatment providers will be required to submit additional records and information a... Read More >

Q: Can I do anything to get my LTD ?

Answered on February 3rd 2024 by Attorney Gregory Dell
A: Jacqueline:You should call us to discuss your Hartford disability claim. It usually takes 60-90 days for Har... Read More >

Q: Lifetime disability policy with Hartford

Answered on January 29th 2024 by Attorney Gregory Dell
A: Deb,Thank you for your question about a Hartford lifetime disability policy. In order to support your pos... Read More >

Q: Can the Hartford reduce my long term disability payment due to a rental income?

Answered on January 25th 2024 by Attorney Cesar Gavidia
A: Usually non-work that is not described a deductible source of income the disability policy would not reduce th... Read More >

Q: Is there a specific video to help me prepare for a Hartford doctor appointment (IME)?

Answered on January 3rd 2024 by Attorney Gregory Dell
A: We have prepared a few videos on independent medical exams requested by disability insurance companies. Whethe... Read More >
Helpful Videos
(861)
Showing 12 of 861 Videos
Disability Benefit Tips
(330)
Showing 8 of 330 Benefit Tips

Does Hartford Pay Disability Insurance Claims?

At Dell & Schaefer, we get questions about Hartford long term disability policies on ne... Read More >

How Does Hartford Long Term Disability Work?

The most common questions for a disability attorney involve understanding how disability cove... Read More >

What Happens If My Hartford Short Term Disability Claim is Denied?

Understand your rights once your Hartford short term disability income claim has been denied.... Read More >

How Long Does a Hartford Short Term or Long Term Disability Claim Last?

Hartford disability income policy holders expect Hartford to pay their Short Term & Long-... Read More >

If I Convert my Former Employee Disability Policy to a Private Policy Does ERISA Govern?

Many employer welfare benefit plans offer employees who quit their employment the option of converting their disability insurance pl... Read More >

Is the Hartford Disability Purchase of Aetna Bad for Aetna LTD Policy Holders?

In October 2017 Hartford Insurance company agreed to purchase the disability and life insuran... Read More >

Hartford Disability Claim Problems

Hartford is requesting long term disability claimants to provide additional documentation fro... Read More >

How Can I Protect Myself At A Hartford IME Exam?

In this video, disability insurance attorneys Rachel Alters and Cesar Gavidia discuss what yo... Read More >
Dell Disability Cases
(369)
Showing 8 of 369 Dell Disability Cases

Nurse With Knee and Back Disorder Wins Hartford Disability Appeal

We represent a General Duty Nurse who was denied long term disability benefits as Hartford im... Read More >

Executive Director with Meniere's Denied Long Term Disability Insurance Benefits By Hartford

Our client, came to us when he was unjustly denied his claim for LTD benefits by Aetna, now Hartford, assert... Read More >

A Hartford Disability Benefit Lawsuit Victory for Truist Banker with Lupus

Our client found us after she was denied continued disability insurance benefits by the Hartf... Read More >

Hartford Denies Disability Benefits To Home Depot Employee 3 Weeks Before Change of Disability Definition

Our client was a former in-store merchandising associate responsible for the movement of merc... Read More >

Hartford Denies Long Term Disability Benefits After Paying for 22 Years

It is crazy that Hartford denied long term disability benefits to our client after paying for... Read More >

Hartford Overturns Denial of Disability Benefits on Appeal

Our client, a former clerk at a coal mine with severe lumbar back problems first, contacted our office and spoke with Attorney Stephen Jessup ... Read More >

Hartford Approves Disability Claim After Appeal Deadline

Prior to filing for disability our client worked as a registered nurse in a hospital setting, suffering from multiple chronic medical conditio... Read More >

Hartford overturned its previous denial of LTD benefits for Illinois Account Representative

Our client, Mr. K, formerly worked as an Account Representative for an international brokerage firm. In May 2017 a number of medical issues, i... Read More >
Disability Lawsuit Stories
(764)
Showing 8 of 764 Lawsuit Stories

Federal Court Overturns Aetna Denial Of Disability Benefits

In the recent case of Ferrin v. Aetna Life Ins. Co. a federal judge from the Northern District of Illinois determined that Aetna improperly te... Read More >

Hartford Admits to Improper Offset, Agrees to Reimburse 10 Years of Wrongfully Withheld Money

In August of 2019, the next of kin for a man currently incarcerated in Florida State Prison reached out to our firm as his relative had been d... Read More >

Court Finds Video Surveillance Renders Claimant’s Self-Reporting Unreliable and Upholds Hartford’s Termination of LTD Benefits

In Cummings v. Hartford Life & Accident Ins. Co. (Hartford), Plaintiff was employed by the Free-Port McMoran ... Read More >

Can Medical Records Created After the Eligibility Period Support a Claim for Disability Benefits?

In James s. Louis v. The Hartford Life and Accident Insurance Company (Hartford), Plaintiff was a Senior Principal Product... Read More >

Appeals Court Upholds Hartford's Termination of Disability Benefits

In Scott Griffin v. Hartford Life & Accident Insurance Company, Plaintiff was a medical transcriptionist who was initially awarded long te... Read More >

Hartford Disability Company Field Interview Request and Video Surveillance

Hartford Disability Company, and other disability insurers, use video surveillance and field interviews as a technique to deny claims. A recen... Read More >

Hartford Long Term Disability Benefit Denial Reversed by Minnesota Federal Judge

A long term disability insurance claimant had his benefits denied when a doctor made a mistak... Read More >

Federal District Court Overturns Hartford's Denial of Long Term Disability Benefits

In the recent decision of Tobin v Hartford Life & Acc. Ins. Co. a Michigan Federal District Court overturned Hartford’s denial of long t... 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 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 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 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 lawyers 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 lawyers 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 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 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 lawyers 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 lawyers have been able to either get our clients paid monthly disability benefits or obtain a one-time lump-sum settlement. Our 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 welcome you to contact any of our attorneys 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 700 videos and regularly provide tips to help protect your disability benefits.

Who do you help?

Our lawyers 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 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, GoToMeeting 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 800-698-9159 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.