Liberty Mutual reverses denial of short-term disability benefits and approves long-term disability benefits for advertising account manager

Our client was a top selling account manager in the advertising department of one of the country’s largest companies, in one of the company’s most demanding regional markets. Over the course of her career she exceeded sales quotas that were in the upper six figures, year in, year out.

In mid 2008, our client began suffering from severe anxiety and depression. Unable to handle the tremendous pressure and stress from her occupation, she made a claim for short-term disability benefits under her company’s salary continuation plan. Less than a month later Liberty Mutual denied her claim for disability benefits. It was around that time, our client relocated to be closer to family, and in the process of doing so learned of the law firm of Attorneys Dell and Schaefer. She contacted Dell and Schaefer to assist her in appealing her claim denial.

Review of Liberty Mutual’s denial letter made it clear to Dell and Schaefer what course of action needed to be taken to combat Liberty Mutual’s denial of disability benefits. The first course of action was to assist her in finding appropriate medical providers to treat with for her medical conditions. We explained to the client that medical support and documentation were going to be of the utmost importance in overturning Liberty Mutual’s denial of benefits. Corresponding with our client’s treating physicians, Dell and Schaefer was able to clarify and properly document the nature of our client’s disability in order to present the disability insurance carrier with evidence that our client could no longer perform her pre-disability occupation in light of her medical conditions.

An appeal for disability benefits was filed in February 2009, and approximately a month later Liberty Mutual overturned their initial denial of benefits. During the period of time it took to file the appeal, our client’s short-term disability period expired and her eligibility for long term disability benefits began. Dell and Schaefer continued to contact Liberty Mutual regarding long-term disability benefits during the time Liberty Mutual was making a determination for short term disability benefits.

Approximately two weeks after the favorable determination of short-term disability benefits, Liberty Mutual advised that based upon the appeal filed for short term disability benefits, long term disability benefits were approved as well. This claim was handled by Attorneys Stephen Jessup and Cesar Gavidia.

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There are 24 comments

  • Tasha,

    Please feel free to contact our office to discuss how we may be able to assist you in appealing the denial.

    Stephen JessupDec 21, 2015  #24

  • Tasha,

    I have been out of work since may 2015, for PTSD, Depression, and Anxiety. Liberty denied my LTD on November 25, 2015 and I have just requested my claim file in order to submit an appeal and waiting on it. I have a case worked with a terrible disposition. I know I have a 180 days to appeal and I am trying to gather all pertinent information. My denial was based on the documentation not supporting post-traumatic stress disorder. The documentation does not support the criteria according to the DSM-IV and I have doctors that says it does according to DSM-V. Liberty states it does meet for Depression/Anxiety.

    TashaDec 17, 2015  #23

  • Ashlie,

    Has Liberty advised you as to what the delay is? Please feel free to contact our office to discuss how we may be able to assist you.

    Stephen JessupMay 5, 2015  #22

  • I am having the same problem with Liberty mutual.. I been off since March 23. And haven’t got paid yet.. I am going though a lot of health problems. They aren’t helping.. I wish there was someone that could help me.

    Ashlie BoeykensMay 4, 2015  #21

  • Louis,

    Liberty Mutual typically only allows for one level of administrative appeal. At this point your only option may be to bring civil suit under ERISA. Please feel free to contact our office to discuss the next steps available in greater detail.

    Stephen JessupFeb 23, 2015  #20

  • Hi,

    I submitted my claim with Liberty Mutual for lupus which I have suffered from sincee 2006 and yes they are protected by ERISA. The first time it was denied due to lack of information and recent doctor visit due to me being unable to make a doctor visit from extreme fatigue but after reading their information judgement it seems they based it off my blood protein count to suspect kidney disease and if I had any swelling.

    I suffer from extreme fatigue with lupus and also facial markings and rashes the fatigue being the worst part of it.

    While i did make a appeal after I got denied and seen my doctor I did not see my Jan visit included in the decision and it was also based off kidney disease and swelling it seemed alone and that nothing else lupus is very different. Also I have epilepsy to when I would have a seizure my claim was approved no problems.

    LouisFeb 22, 2015  #19

  • Molly,

    I am sorry to hear about your claim denial. As you have unfortunately discovered, an insurance company can deny a claim despite your doctor’s opinions and recommendations. They do this most often by conducting their own internal medical review. Please feel free to contact our office to discuss how we may be able to assist you in appealing the denial of benefits.

    Stephen JessupFeb 22, 2015  #18

  • Just ran across this. I’ve been out of work since Dec 19, 2014, filed my claim with liberty mutual. All was eventually approved up until Jan 21. My doctor has me out until March 1st, then filled out ADA paperwork for my employer that states I need out another 6 months. I’m dealing with alit of chronic pain from fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, brittle type 1 diabetic and battering depression, anxiety, etc. Just last week after missing time that they denied my claim as they cannot find any reason why I cannot work based on records. How can they not go by what my doctor told them? Anyways he was supposed to mail me appeal paperwork but been a week now. Still no income coming in. Had to use income tax to pay rent. Not sure what to do now.

    MollyFeb 21, 2015  #17

  • Jessica,

    Please feel free to contact our office if you have not already filed your appeal.

    Stephen JessupApr 2, 2014  #16

  • I am in need of help with Liberty Mutual. They have sent me a letter stating that I have 45 days to appeal from 03/14/2014 what they call a decision on my STD. I was approved from July to Nov and when they learned my conditions may cause long term disability they stopped paying me and now in March saying my Lyme Disease and neck and back shoulder pain is not good enough. They are very mean people there and do not call back nor respond to voice mail. I can not get back the owed money they stopped paying me alone, nor can I keep depending on that company. Please help asap.

    JessicaApr 1, 2014  #15

  • Paul,

    Based on the limited information regarding your medical conditions, it would appear that you would have a viable claim. However, without a better understanding of your disability policy, your coverage under same, your medical conditions and their impact on your ability to work in your occupation, etc. it would be difficult to estimate your “chances”. Please feel free to contact us at for a free consultation so we can discuss your potential claim further and how we may be able to assist you.

    Stephen JessupMay 22, 2013  #14

  • I am a 56 year old male in the Financial Services industry (high stress levels), same company for 33 years. Diagnosed HCV+ in 2003, over the years I’ve taken 2 intermittent (2003-2008) Peg Interferon/Ribavarin treatments for 1 year, Geno-A, non responder. 6 months ago completed treatment #3 HCV cocktail (Incivik + Int. + Riba) as with other treatments severe side effects. I worked through all treatments as my employer was OK with my additional sick days. Cocktail initially showed non detect, now viral count rising. These treatments were supervised first by a Hepatologist, last 2 by Haematology/Oncologist who I still see monthly. Also diagnosed with Sarcoidosis, herniated cervical and desiccated lumbar discs, fibromyalgia + depression (psychiatric care for 10 years), anxiety and panic attacks. Cigna carries our LTD plan, I plan on taking the cocktail cure again soon and want to apply for long term benefits. What are my chances?

    Paul MitsakosMay 21, 2013  #13

  • I was told by my surgeon that I needed immediately gallbladder surgery and it would be a three week recovery period. I immediately prepared for the time off and spoke with my employer who recommended that I contact Liberty Mutual (LM) to get on short term disability. I did everything I was asked to do prior to surgery and at no time did LM indicate to me that my surgeon was not in the driver’s seat and that LM would only cover me for 8 days. I have 13+ years of service and was told I was eligible for up to 22 weeks of coverage if needed. At no time prior to surgery was I told LM only allowed one week for such a procedure. Then the day following my out patient surgery Liberty Mutual started calling me and harassing me about when I was going back to work and when was my next appointment with my surgeon. I was harassed daily and after two and half weeks off I was informed I would only be paid for 8 days not the 21 days the surgeon said I needed. I was devastated to learn the following day my pay-check had been reduced by 75%, while I was told by my surgeon I would need three weeks for recovery. I learned yesterday that under LM guidelines my disability was good for 8 days not the 21 days. I hope to recover some of the missing income through California Disability, but nothing is clear at this time. I may be forced to use my vacation time to recover funds. Only one word for this ‘UNFAIR’. Things seem to go well as long as the workhorse is healthy and performing at 100%. Until you have an unexpected emergency gallbladder surgery and the system breaks down. Worst recovery in my life, this added stress has delayed my recovery. Sad that they can be cruel to the working sick.

    Deborah EdwardsMar 2, 2013  #12

  • I started receiving benefits from Liberty Mutual in May / June for problems that I was having with carpal tunnel syndrome and tendonitis. My job requires repetitive lifting. They couldn’t accommodate my work restrictions so I was placed on medical leave. My Nurse Practitioner originally released me to go back to work Jul. 25, 2012, without a re-examination. She was out on vacation and I could not get into the Local V.A. office to see her until Sept 22, 2012. In the meantime, I continued to go to my occupational therapist, who stated that he couldn’t give me a date of returning to work.

    My nurse practitioner referred me to the plastic surgery department because she said that it was beyond her expertise. I saw them Aug 31, 2012. They denied my claim for disability after Jul. 24, 2012, a lot of the information that they said they used to deny it were lies. I submitted an appeal and it stayed in review with the medical board for almost 3 weeks. I have been to a plastic surgeon as well and have been scheduled for an MRI the end of October. I called last week and they said that they were waiting on additional information from my doctor to support continued disability. I contacted both the local V.A. office and the Release of Information Office at the main V.A. office that handles my records and they hadn’t received anything. My case manager said that she would re-fax it and if they didn’t receive anything back they would make a decision 25 Sept. (today).

    I called today 25 Sept. and they claimed they hadn’t received anything. Today I faxed to them the FMLA paperwork that the plastic surgeon had filled out, because Liberty Mutual hadn’t received anythign esle from the V.A.. The case manager called back this afternoon to say that the claim was still denied. She hasn’t received the fax as of yet. She said that once she receives it she will review it to see if it will change. The plastic surgeon does not have a date of return to work until my test results are received from my MRI. The only income I have coming in is $500 for child support and $134.20 from V.A. Disability. Please help!

    Monica L. AdamsSep 25, 2012  #11

  • Karen,

    If you have exhausted all of the appeals, then the only remaining option is to file a lawsuit. Please contact us privately and we will review the claim to determine if we can assist you and your husband.

    Gregory DellSep 24, 2012  #10

  • My husband and I both work for the same company. My husband had triple bypass surgery in Oct. 2010; shortly thereafter he was in a car accident; 2 months after that his father died suddenly out of state. We buried his father, sold their home, moved his mother in our State all within 7 days. His mother suddenly died 6 months later. Husband became very depressed, was unable to focus at work – could not complete job tasks, could not remember what he was assigned 15 minutes ago, could not remember where things were on the computer, could not sleep at night, forgot to take his medications – so doctor put him out on short term disability.

    Liberty Mutual denied his claim twice, and even claimed that Brian just didn’t want to go back to work. Brian has been diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress, has brittle diabetes, high blood pressure, anxiety, memory problems (forgets anything that he was told recently, but can remember things as a child), never used to get angry over little things but goes now, has become very obsessive if he can’t find something or can’t remember things, don’t know what else to do…

    Karen CathcartSep 22, 2012  #9

  • Ms. Walker,

    Please contact us privately and we will do what we can to assist you. Something does not seem right.

    Gregory DellAug 2, 2012  #8

  • Denise,

    If your claim is governed by ERISA, then the law forbids any action for bad faith or punitive damages. ERISA is a terrible law which protects insurance companies.

    Gregory DellAug 2, 2012  #7

  • Hello,

    My name is Latricia Walker. I’m writing because Liberty Mutual has had my Short Term Disability Case on hold for the past two months. I have not received any income except one weeks worth of pay. They keep telling me my case is pending. I stopped working because I began bleeding really heavy and could not find out the cause, I was told I needed a hysterectomy and was required to do a colonoscopy. Then I got really sick where I couldn’t breathe. Found out I had a pulmonary embolism and that landed me in ICU. I’m still in treatment and all this has happened in these two months but they won’t move forward with my claim.

    Please help.

    Latricia WalkerAug 1, 2012  #6

  • I am in California and Liberty Mutual is the insurance for my short term and long term disability benefits. I would like to pursue a bad faith action.

    Denise SannicandroJul 30, 2012  #5

  • Chris,

    We represent disability claimants nationwide. Please contact us to discuss your claim.

    Gregory DellFeb 2, 2012  #4

  • I have had nothing but grief from Liberty Mutual in regards to short-term disability. Now they tell me that I will qualify for social security disability easier than long-term disability through them. How can that be? What have I been paying premiums for? What states do you represent clients in? I’m interested in talking to someone about this. Thank you.

    ChrisFeb 1, 2012  #3

  • Marcia,

    We are glad you find the information on this site helpful. You can also keep track of the latest disability insurance information by liking us on Facebook at Facebook.com/diAttorney. If you need assistance with your Liberty Mutual Claim, please let us know.

    Gregory DellDec 15, 2011  #2

  • I am currently going through a tough time with Liberty Mutual and my short-term disability claim. While searching, I came across some horrible stories on the website “Complaints about Liberty Mutual”. Fortunately, I came across your website. I intend to share this site on my Facebook page because I can imagine there are many more out there who can use this information.

    Marcia GibsonDec 14, 2011  #1

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