Hartford pays disability benefits for 12 years and then uses video surveillance to deny benefits

Our law firm was recently contacted by a woman that has been denied long-term disability benefits by Hartford. The claim is currently pending, but I asked if I could share her story so that others could learn about the real actions taken by disability companies such as Hartford. I strongly advise all disability claimants to never submit for a field interview without the presence of an attorney.

Hi Greg. YES you can share my story, if it helps only one other person out there it would make me happy. I worked for U.S. Bank for 25 years when I started being hospitalized with chronic asthma/copd, with stays lasting anywhere from 2 to 13 days. USB told me in 1996 I needed to go on Long term disability so I applied and got approved as of January 1997. First through UNUM and then two years later they switched to Hartford. Hartford made me file for Social Security Disability which I was awarded 2 years later. So Hartford has been paying me disability for 12 years. My main disability is the asthma/copd but because I am steroid dependent I also became obese, had cataracts removed from both eyes and now have diabetes with neuropathy in my feet and hands. I answered all of Hartford’s letters honestly, and then they video taped me behind my back, they tried 6 times but I only left the house for 3 of those instances. I was running errands, using bank machine and grocery shopping. Then of course I had the interview which I agreed to because I didn’t have anything to hide. Three hours of interrogation with Hartford, I was exhausted. Then 3 months later I got the denial letter. I couldn’t find an attorney to help me, so I wrote my own appeal letter. So yesterday I got a letter from Hartford telling me they are going to send me to an IME. Not trusting Hartford any longer I got on line and sent you a message. So I am very suspicious of why they are sending me to an IME when everyone I talked to told me they would deny me again. I think they are trying to get another “expert independent opinion” on their side to use against me.

I advised this woman that she should videotape her IME exam and request that Hartford send a copy of the IME report to her treating physicians prior to rendering a final decision on her claim. I also told this woman that she should make sure that each of her doctors review the disability video surveillance and provide a written response to Hartford. Hartford has a practice of denying a claimant’s request for videotapes, but they will secretly send the video tapes to your treating physicians and ask one-sided questions in an effort to deny a claim.

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Comments (7)

  • Ashley, please contact our office to discuss the Hartford case so we can determine what your legal rights are at this time.

    Stephen Jessup Mar 25, 2020  #7

  • I to work for US Bank. I am only 32 years old but I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis and I was on disability through the Hartford I would say almost 2 years or year and a half with US Bank. US Bank wrote me up three different times while I was in the hospital and when I would return to work I would have the write ups presented to me. My FMLA was running concurrent until January 11 of 2017. Once I felt like US Bank was harassing me I decided not to return to work there a few days before my FMLA was to be up.

    I am currently still dealing with my disability, it causes me to be admitted into a hospital most of the time three days. It has been three years and I have got absolutely no help. I have applied for almost every benefit I thought I could get. And each time been turned down. I am a single mother of two children and have not had a job nor been able to hold a job for the past three years because of US Bank and The Hartford. Is there anything you guys could suggest I could do to help get me benefits or anything to help me? I am currently being sued by Deaconess hospital in Indiana which I did not know could happen but apparently Indiana can see you for unpaid hospital bills but I do not have any insurance nor will anybody give me any help with insurance.

    Ashley M. Mar 25, 2020  #6

  • Jules,

    There is no set time in which a doctor has to provide an IME report. That being said, if the report is favorable the chances are you will not be notified or made aware of it and your benefits will continue. Additionally, if there is video surveillance, Hartford will typically send a copy to your doctor for comment, at which time it is your doctor’s prerogative to review or not review it.

    Stephen Jessup Nov 11, 2014  #5

  • How long after an IME does the Dr. have to give his report to the Hartford? And is there a timeframe in which they have as well what’s their timeframe on giving me a letter stating cont benefits or termination of them? It’s going on 3 weeks now and I have not heard anything in regards to the IME findings.

    Another question: Hartford sent me to one of their IME after they submitted a letter to my pain Dr wanting him to do an IME but Hartford told me when I was digging for info to what was going on my Dr wanted too much money so they sent me to a Dr I don’t know to do it; he cost less. So my question is, did my Dr review this survillance they supposedly told me about after I complained of the quack Dr they sent me to that never read my file nor knew what was going on. All he asked about is stuff not related to my condition (RSD).

    Just curios, will my doctor be able to see the video or I was told I could not gave any of the evidence or statement from the IME unless I was found where benefits were being stopped then I could request them and had 6 months to appeal. What’s funny is this IME had no clue that I was also on SSI and went through all their hoops for SSI and he had no clue that I have been seeing other Drs for my condition amongst other things going on like nerve damage in both hands, had all tests done by a neurologist and being treated for depression and chronic fatigue as well for fibromyalgia which I never told Harford about because that asked only for Drs treating me for RSD. So will my treating Dr for RSD get the survillace even though he didn’t get payed what he asked and they sent me elsewhere?

    Jules Nov 10, 2014  #4

  • I have started tape recording every conversation with Hartford because they frequently lie. Complaints to Insurance Department are useless.

    Marie Nov 30, 2011  #3

  • Sabrina, your claim denial from Hartford is similar to the hundreds of other disability denials we see from Hartford. You have several options at this point, but we would need to review your denial letter and a copy of your policy. You should contact us confidentially so that we can discuss your claim. We will try our best to help get your benefits paid again.

    Gregory Dell Jun 1, 2011  #2

  • I have also been denied my LTD benefits from The Hartford, even though they had been paying me for the past 2 years and I was only a week and a half away from my SSD hearing. They also had surveillance on me behind my back and they sent a representative who interviewed me for 5 hours which was VERY uncomfortable. He was putting words in my mouth the whole time to make everything ‘sound better’ and I didn’t know what to do because I had nothing to hide.

    While I was being watched I was having a good day and decided to take a walk in the park. I had a book bag on because I needed to carry water and a water bowl for my small dog and the surveillance guy said in his report that he ‘overheard’ me telling someone that I put weights in my bag which was a TOTAL LIE!!! He also mentioned that I wore a brace on my right knee which was also incorrect, I wear it on my left!! They sent the video to my Dr. and he said that he felt I was doing nothing wrong!

    I want to dis-credit this surveillance guy because he lied, you can see that my bag is empty in the video the way it was sagging. I need help! I don’t know what to do! I can’t afford an attorney, and now I have absolutely no income! What can I do? I need to write an appeal letter but I need to make sure it’s correct and I don’t put my foot in my mouth. Any advice or help would be greatly appreciated!

    Sabrina Jun 1, 2011  #1

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