Hartford Reinstates Long Term Disability Benefits on Appeal to Computer Systems Administrator Suffering with Chronic Back Pain

Prior to filing for disability benefits with Hartford our client worked as a Senior Database Administrator and had been in the computer industry since 1978. Needless to say his entire work history and all of his skills and occupational training revolved around computers. Over those 33 years working, as he continued to excel in his career, so did his congenital form of cervical spine disease, which resulted in multiple levels of severe disc degeneration, cervical kyphosis and stenosis. Despite his best efforts to continue to work, eventually the pain and discomfort became too great a burden to bear. He experienced increased difficulty concentrating through the pain or the ability to perform the physical requirements of his job. With a work product that was declining as rapidly as his health our client filed for disability benefits under his employer provided disability policy with Hartford.

Approved… but not for long

Hartford initially approved our client’s claim for benefits. At first it seemed as if he would have no problems with Hartford – his claim for benefits with Social Security was approved and Hartford was not contacting him frequently with requests for information. However, review of the denial letter and claim file indicates that Hartford began investigating his claim shortly after he returned his Social Security overpayment. True to form, Hartford employed its usual process to deny benefits: video surveillance, field interview, and peer review. What made this case a little different than most was the fact that our client’s claim was being investigated under the “own occupation” definition of disability as opposed to the transitional period leading up to the change in definition to the much more liberal standard, “any occupation” definition of disability.

With less than a year on claim, no documented improvements in his medical condition, continued support from his treating physicians and an award for benefits from the Social Security Administration, Hartford determined that there was nothing that would prevent our cleint from returning to his former occupation. With that his claim was denied.

The Appeal

Prior to contacting our office, our client was represented by a different attorney who advised him that he would no longer represent him against Hartford. As such he contacted Dell & Schaefer with less than a month left in which to file his appeal within the 180 day deadline. He felt hopeless, defeated and willing to walk away from his policy. Attorney Stephen Jessup worked with him to secure a brief extension of time with which to file the appeal to ensure a copy of the claim file could be received, reviewed and undermined. With time of the utmost essence, Attorney Jessup coordinated additional functional testing for our client, consulted with his treatment providers to issue responses to Hartford’s medical review, and poured over the claim file finding numerous inconsistencies and holes in the video surveillance, vocational review and medical review to attack.

With all the updated information needed to counter Hartford’s reasons for denying the claim, Attorney Jessup submitted our client’s appeal. In less than the 45 days allowed under ERISA to render a decision, Hartford informed our office that it was overturning its decision to terminate the claim, reinstating the benefit and forwarding all benefits owed.

Has Hartford denied your claim for benefits under the “Own Occupation” definition of disability?

We are seeing increased denials of benefits by Hartford during the own occupation period of disability. We believe this to be a tactic by Hartford to allow them to set the tone for another denial at the “any occupation” period of disability. The reason being that if Hartford denies the benefit under your “own occupation” any subsequent appeal review will be with respect to the “own occupation” definition. In effect, Hartford could reinstate the claim for the remainder of the own occupation period and then enter denial under the any occupation period, prompting another appeal. It is presumed that Hartford hopes this will deter people from wanting to continue to fight for the benefits they are entitled to.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding a claim with your disability insurance carrier, please feel free to contact Attorneys Dell & Schaefer at 1-800-828-7583.

Learn about the Hartford disability lawsuit and appeal.

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FAQ

Do you help Hartford claimants nationwide?

We represent Hartford 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 Hartford disability insurance policy?

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

How do you help Hartford claimants?

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

  • 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.

Reviews   *****

Mark M., DDS

If you have a disability insurance situation, you need a pro like Steven Dell from the start to guide, support, and battle the insurance company for you. Don’t try to take on the powerful insurance companies on your own as they have all the tactics in place to try to delay and deny your claim, no matter how legitimate. If you try to do the claim on your own, you will be at a disadvantage. Our experience with Steven Dell was exceptional. I was diagnosed with severe cardiac disease. As a result, my cardiologist and other doctors told me that I needed to cease working immediately or risk a severe heart attack or death. Unfortunately the disability insurance company did not see it that way and tried to delay and dismiss the seriousness of my illness and attempted to set up a denial.

The insurance company is on your side as long as you are paying your premiums and do not file a claim. I found out that the insurance company will try to do all that they can to deny paying a claim. Fortunately Steven Dell was on our side from the start and helped us get through this stressful and lengthly process of filing a disability claim. Steven Dell advised and guided us through each step of the way and on many instances had to go head-on with the insurance carrier. The amount of paperwork in filing a claim can be substantial. Mr. Dell’s professional staff (especially Merlin) was efficient in handling everything to ensure that all the necessary paperwork was in order and submitted to the insurance company. I owe a debt of gratitude to Mr. Dell, he was a Godsend, and we were able to win the case. If you have a disability situation you need a pro like Mr. Dell from the start if you want a successful outcome. Our lives are better now because of Steven Dell ~ Thank you Steven!

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