• Northwestern Mutual Disability Benefit Lawsuit Expectations & Legal Tips
  • Northwestern Mutual Doctor & Dentist Disability Benefit Legal Help
  • Northwestern Mutual Long Term Disability Claim Tips
  • Northwestern Mutual Disability Denial Lawyer Help
  • Northwestern Mutual Insurance Disability Claims
  • Beware of Hired Gun Doctors in Disability Insurance Claims (Ep. 23)

Northwestern Mutual

Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company is one of the three most credible companies that sells long term disability insurance coverage. Compared to other companies, Northwestern Mutual clearly approves more disability claims than they deny.

Our disability lawyers have assisted numerous doctors, lawyers, and other business owners throughout the nation at all stages of their claim for disability benefits with Northwestern. We can provide references upon request.

Through the multiple lawsuits that we have filed against Northwestern Mutual, we have gained an inside understanding into their claims handling practices. We could tell you stories and try to tell you that they like to engage in intentional denials of claims, but it would not be true. The reality is that Northwestern attempts to do a good job of reviewing a disability claim, but their mistakes can be incredibly frustrating and scary for a disability claimant.

Why Would Northwestern Mutual Deny A Disability Claim?

A Northwestern Mutual disability claim denial usually occurs because the claims examiner has set unjustified expectations with regard to the claimant’s ability to prove they are disabled.

Every disability policy has a proof of loss provision which places the burden of proving that he or she is disabled on the claimant. This means that a claimant will be responsible to submit medical evidence of their disability as well as proof of their pre-disability occupational duties.

In most disability claims, Northwestern Mutual will have their own internal doctors and outside medical consultants review a claimant’s medical records. Northwestern will look for very specific information in your medical records to determine if you are disabled.

Most treating doctors don’t take great notes and they certainly don’t expect their medical notes to be scrutinized by an insurance company. We have seen many claims were the claimant is clearly disabled, but the medical records don’t tell the true story.

Unfortunately the disability insurance company will usually only review the claim based on the medical records and never exam the claimant. If the insurance company does choose to exam the claimant, it is rare that the claimant will receive a fair evaluation as the reviewing doctor is being paid by the insurance company. Watch the second video on this page about “hired gun physicians”.

In many claims we have been able to dissect the review of Northwestern Mutual’s hired doctors and explain to Northwestern why our client is medically disabled.

Contact us at any stage of your claim to discuss how we may be able to assist you recover disability benefits. We offer both hourly and contingent fee agreements in order to make our fees affordable for our clients.

Doctors And Lawyers Must Be Able To Prove Their Pre-Disability Duties

If you are a doctor or lawyer seeking Northwestern Mutual Disability benefits, then you must be aware that Northwestern is going to want to know very detailed information about the work you were performing before you became disabled. For example, if you were doctor, then you will be asked for your monthly and annual CPT production reports for at least the one year before your date of disability. You will also be asked for monthly profit and loss statement, tax returns, and your daily appointment book.

If you are an attorney seeking disability, you will be asked for your appointment book for the past 2 years, your case list with an itemization as to the types of cases, your litigation related work if you are litigator, tax returns, and monthly profit and loss statements for at least 2 years.

If a claimant is seeking Partial disability, then the request for occupational information will usually be more extensive.

Most claimants will also be asked to be interviewed by a Northwestern Mutual representative. These interviews should never take place without legal representation.

We often see claims denied because Northwestern is asking for information that cannot reasonably be produced. In addition to filing appeals and lawsuits, our attorneys regularly work with claimants to submit their application for disability benefits. You may find it helpful to watch our video discussing the disability application process.

Northwestern Mutual Lawsuits, Court Decisions, And Complaints / Comments

In order to educate claimants about Northwestern Mutual disability claims we share public information about lawsuits and court decisions around the country dealing with Northwestern Mutual.

You can also read or post comments, complaints and questions to our website and our lawyers will respond.

If you would like to discuss your claim, please contact us privately for a free phone consultation.

Cases & Claim Tips (10)

Comments (66)

  • Every day, millions of people rely on Northwestern Mutual for their brokerage, financial advisory, life and disability insurance needs. However, much like other large insurance companies, the organization continues to value its profits over policyholders. If Northwestern Mutual undervalued, delayed payment, or even denied your disability insurance claim outright, you do not have to fight alone. 

    Harrison Jul 30, 2021  #66

  • Marcella, yes, we do assist in negotiating lump sum settlements of policies. Northwestern Mutual is very selective when offering lump sum settlements and only do so in limited cases. Please feel free to contact our office if you would like to discuss your situation in grater detail.

    Stephen Jessup Aug 11, 2020  #65

  • I am interested in buying out of policy – do you help with this?

    Marcella B. Aug 11, 2020  #64

  • Carol, in almost all cases, no. If the policy explicitly allows for the offset, the offset is enforceable.

    Stephen Jessup Apr 23, 2020  #63

  • Are there successful arguments to appeal Northwestern Mutual’s offset of claimant’s LTB by the amount of SSD benefits awarded?

    Carol W. Apr 23, 2020  #62

  • Daniel, disability insurers ask these questions in order to obtain information relating to your level of activity. NWM can say you’ve traveled to Europe and S. America on vacation this year therefore we believe that based on your travel activity you can go back to work in your occupation. Also, some policies contain foreign residency limitations which limit the period a disability insurer must pay you benefits if you reside more than a specific amount of time outside of the U.S. Your policy may contain this type of provision. For the same purpose they will ask about your engagement in other business activity or ownership. They will reason that if you are able to own another business or engage in other business activity then you could work in your former occupation. As for the bankruptcy question, if you file for bankruptcy and fail to declare your disability insurance benefits and policy as a form of income or potential income then the disability insurer can claim that you are judicially estopped from seeking disability benefits under the policy even if you had dutifully paid premiums for years.

    Cesar Gavidia Aug 5, 2019  #61

  • While on claim, I receive from NWM an occasional “Request for Continuation of Disability Benefits” form to fill out, sign and send back to them by a certain date. The form asks various questionsz. One is asking about the details of the disability condition(s) which prevents me from working, one asks what the daily activities that I participate in outside of work, One asks if I am in business for which I have ownership or if said business is in bankruptcy, another asks about any other disability benefits which I receive or have applied for since my last “Request for Continuation of Disability Benefits, another asks if since my last “Request for Continuation of Disability Benefits if I have been outside the US for any reason, and if so, what dates was I outside the US and what countries did I travel to. I am confused by these questions and the reason for them. I understand that this data needs to be collected periodically. I would just like to know if you can offer me an explanation for the questions, why they are asked, etc… I have not been nor do I intend to travel outside the US, but why do they ask?
    Thank you!

    Daniel Aug 5, 2019  #60

  • My Northwestern Disability policy has a presumptive total clause which pays lifetime benefits for loss of use of one hand and one foot. They Have claimed I do not fulfill their definition because I can walk. My left foot is paralyzed. My sensation is abnormal, I cannot balance and cannot walk without a cane and functional neuromuscular stimulator or AFO. I receive benefits nowfor disabilityand this clause would only be important after I am 65.

    Dave B Jul 8, 2019  #59

  • Dav, these types of issues are fact specific and highly dependent on the specific language in the disability policy. I suggest you send in your Northwestern Policy and contact our office and speak with one of the attorneys to address the specific questions you have regarding your situation.

    Jay Symonds Apr 19, 2019  #58

  • My Northwestern private long disability policy has a presumptive total disability close which provides lifetime coverage fir loss of use – one hand and one foot, hearing and sight. I am 56 and the policy normally goes to 65. I meet the one foot and one hand loss of use now. They will not address this claiming. I have not lost use of my foot since I can still walk. As an orthopedic surgeon, I know this is false. I require a brace fulltime, require a can and have no proprioception (I do not sense where my foot is in space). Additionally. I need botox injections every 3 months for spasticity. They are paying my benefits now. Is there a reason I should make them address this now? They are hoping I die first. BTW, provident approved me for catastrophic for loss of two extremities, but that increased my monthly payment. A lawyer has told me I have suffered no loss, don’t worry. Any thoughts?


    Dav B. Apr 19, 2019  #57

  • Walter, the only way for me to answer your questions is to first review your policy as I do not know if it defines gainfully employed. If it does not, then the insurance company usually will consider you gainfully employed of you are working and earning an income that is being reported on your tax returns. IF you were considered totally disabled you would have to be unemployed under your policy. If you would like me to review your policy you can contact my office or email me at Rachel@diattorney.com.

    Rachel Alters Aug 29, 2018  #56

  • You have a great website.

    Based on my claim application, NWM determined I was not fully disabled, but they did determine I was partially disabled. In my contract it states that “the insured is partially disabled” when:

    •Unable to perform some but not all of my principal duties
    •Unable to spend as much time in regular occupation
    •At least 20 % loss of earned income
    •The insured is gainfully employed in an occupation

    My question has to do with the final sentence, the clause about being gainfully employed. I assume it is placed in the contract to force me to generate income so as to potentially offset their monthly benefit payout.

    What do they mean by gainfully employed? Is there a minimum number of hours per week that is required? Could I have a regular job for only 10 hours per week? Could I start my own business, and if so will I have to demonstrate that I am seeing a certain number of clients or customers per week?

    Also, will this become a monthly debate with NWM? What if we disagree as to what constitutes ‘gainful employment?” Can NWM use their own set of rules in this determination? What are my rights in this scenario?

    Thank you for reading my post. Your site is very helpful to us.

    Walter T. Aug 28, 2018  #55

  • Dr. Suhayda, please call our office and speak with one of our attorneys to discuss your next steps. We will need to review a copy of your policy with you.

    Victor Pena Aug 10, 2018  #54

  • I am a board certified general surgeon with almost 25 years of experience. In the last 5 years I have had progressive arthritis and weakness of my dominant hand/ index finger. I have been told my options medically include either arthroplasty of my metacarpal phalangeal joint or joint replacement. I have had multiple steroid injections which do not help anymore. I suspect the arthritis is secondary to years of using instruments of poor ergometric design.

    My ability to perform general surgical procedures has declined. I can no longer tie knots or hold many instruments.I have horrible pain not only in the OR but during all daily activities. In the last year I have intentionally limited cases and given cases to my partners.

    I have a NWM disability insurance which has an “any occupation clause”.

    What should my next step be to get the process started?

    Magda S. Aug 9, 2018  #53

  • Carol,

    Gainful work would imply you are performing steady work for payment and getting paid $20 for baby sitting and receiving $100 from a garage sale would not qualify. If you are concerned you may not qualify for benefits beyond age 65 due to activities that you believe could be considered gainful employment you should contact one of our attorneys to review your policy and discuss your options.

    Victor Pena Apr 5, 2018  #52

  • I live in New York and have Northwestern Mutual with lifetime benefits. After age 65, my policy states the following, “The insured is totally disabled when he is unable to perform the principal duties of his occupation and is not gainfully employed in any occupation”. What exactly does Northwestern mean by “not gainfully employed in any occupation”? This is confusing because my policy does not define the words “Gainfully”, “Employed” nor “Occupation”. Does this mean that I cannot make any amount of money doing anything? Taking this to an extreme, would I forfeit my lifetime benefits, if a friend paid me $20 for baby sitting or made $100 doing a garage sale? Would baby sitting or having a tag sale be considered an occupation?

    Carol Apr 4, 2018  #51

  • Jim, first and foremost, NWM is one of the most reputable insurance carriers in the industry. Although your condition may not have changed an insurance carrier will always continue to evaluate a claim for disability. The typical minimum reporting requirement is once a year, so it would not be unheard of for NWM to request an in-person review. Please feel free to contact our office to discuss your claim in greater detail.

    Stephen Jessup Oct 25, 2017  #50

  • I have paid NWM disability premiums for over 24 years. April 2016 while at work I experienced a cardiac event requiring CPR, resulting in fractured ribs. Earlier I had been diagnosed with NASH developing into moderate to severe Cirrhosis with portal hypertension and severe esophageal varacies. It is thought at the time of my event I was severely anemic and had a coagulopathy due to platelet thrombocytopenia resulting in a variceal rupture, or a gastric ulcer bleed. I developed chronic fatigue, moderate to severe abdominal pain, diminished mentation and at times momory loss due to evevated ammonia in my blood causing hepatic encephalopathy. I also have had a worsening tremor that prevent me from venous access, especially on newborns and todlers as will as arterial and central line access. Also I cannot administer central and prepheral nerve blocks safely.

    I was granted full disability Benefits from NWM, Soscial Securty, As well as a statement of total, disability from Sunlife Ins.Coro. A second plan the hospital provided but could not receive benefits due to circumstanses as to the date the policy went into effect. So NWM has been sending monthly payments for over a year, however now they want to review my claim and have hired a Privare Investigator to conduct a Field Interview.

    What is this about my condition has nor changed perhaps worse. Is this a common practice with NWM? What are they trying to accompolish? All physian statements are filled out in a timley manner. Because of my failing Liver I cannot take tylenol or NSAI for pain so I have been prescribed a narcotic pain pill for everyday use. What is NWM agenda, why am I being harassed daily? Now sent a log in wich im required to report my daily activities every two hours… Highly stressful… any insight?

    Jim T. Oct 25, 2017  #49

  • Miller, there is no easy or clear cut answer to your question. If you would like to discuss your situation and policy further, please feel free to contact our office and speak with one of our disability attorneys.

    Stephen Jessup Feb 9, 2017  #48

  • I have a disability policy with Northwestern that is job specific. I have been diagnosed with meniere’s disease.
    I have a bouts with vertigo and hearing loss that is getting worse over time despite treatment. My question would be at what point if the symptoms get worse should I initiate a claim. I am self employed as a business owner with 25 employees.

    Miller Feb 6, 2017  #47

  • David, you do have the ability to limit the authority granted, or to refuse it- but you will be responsible for making sure to provide any and all requested information in support of your claim. To hopefully provide you some peace of mind, the authorization sounds like a fairly standard one. Please feel free to contact our office to discuss your concerns in greater detail.

    Stephen Jessup Mar 31, 2016  #46

  • I have just received an “authorization” form from NML, re: disability benefits. It is scary since it says NML has the right to look into everything about me — everything. The language goes far beyond medical information. I have been on disability for 10 years after suffering TBI from an accident where a tour bus ran into the back of the car I was riding in. Very well documented, brain scans showing the damage, years of rehab (it continues still I see a neurologist every six months), and even a jury trial that ended with a unanimous verdict in my favor, agreeing that I have lost the ability to do the job I was responsible for (I ran an advertising agency). Must I sign and return? Are there any cases that have challenged this? I am not concerned about the medical records, they are pretty solid. But have them able to look into every facet of my life is unnerving. Anything I can do? Or should I just sign and send it back? Thanks.

    David G. Mar 30, 2016  #45

  • We would not be able to determine your ability to return to work without first reviewing your disability policy. Please feel free to contact our office with a copy of same so we can better advise you.

    Stephen Jessup Sep 25, 2015  #44

  • I have been receiving lifetime LTD disability benefits from a NWML policy I got in 1982. I am 70 and have the unexpected opportunity to do some regular part time consulting work. If if goes well it could continue for one or two years. Would this jeopardize my LTD payments in any way? It would be nice to have some extra income but my retirement is largely dependent on my disability income.

    Can I work part time while receiving LTD at age 70 Sep 23, 2015  #43

  • Neil,

    Please contact our office to discuss your claim in detail. Rental income is almost always considered passive and not earned income for purposes of a disability policy. However, indicating you are acting in the capacity of a “landlord” does imply you are working in or on your rental properties, which could cause a grey area between passive and earned income in NWM’s eyes.

    Stephen Jessup Jun 17, 2015  #42

  • I need to know whether this is approachable in court….is it a strong case or are they being fair?

    Neil Perry Jun 16, 2015  #41

  • I’ve paid into a disability policy with them (NWML) for 16 years before making a claim for a bad hip (had successful operation in Feb of ’14). I’m, since, a retired electrical contractor who’s a landlord of two buildings.

    I have a history of using my hands and arms for repair work, which, since July of last year, have acquired trigger finger (left hand is beginning to show signs of the same), Deputryens Contracture (for a second time), tendonitis in both arms, carpal and cubital tunnel syndromes. Every time I do something manual, I have a repercussion for the next few days. Typing and biking hurt and cause palm heel aches and tingling after five minutes. Aside from these “small” issues, I have some neuropathy in my feet which sting like sunburn, recent X-rays show that my C7 is in “Advanced” stage of disc degeneration, my left knee suffers degenerative arthritis and do C4, 5, & 6. I have such bad plantar fasciitis that standing for 15 minutes is exhausting….I can’t perform for any great length of time on my feet, I have prostate issues which force me to wear diapers because going to the bathroom 25 times a day is a hassle and inefficient.

    My doctor misrepresented me (from Kaiser) by erring on NWML’s side, stating in his physician’s statement, “appears to be ready for work.” Since records from Kaiser have finally come through to NWML, they agree that there is some disability and have rendered two more checks but are four months behind.

    To make things more interesting, the semantics of “earned income” is becoming a concern. I only receive rental income and NWML is calling this “earned.” Is this correct or not?

    Neil Perry Jun 16, 2015  #40

  • Frustrated,

    Please feel free to contact our office to review the correspondence from NWM as the duty to appeal the “denial” of benefits in August might begin as of the date of the letter. Hopefully, you will be fully recovered by August, but in an abundance of caution it would be wise to address the matter sooner than later.

    Gregory Dell May 29, 2015  #39

  • Frustrated,

    Please feel free to contact our office to review the correspondence from NWM as the duty to appeal the “denial” of benefits in August might begin as of the date of the letter. Hopefully, you will be fully recovered by August, but in an abundance of caution it would be wise to address the matter sooner than later.

    Stephen Jessup May 20, 2015  #38

  • Just a follow up. NM has paid my claim through the 24 month long term disability but my benefits end in august. They state that my lifting restriction is 25 lbs an that means I can do light duty work as a nurse and have the ability to earn 80% of my indexed predisabilty earnings. Their vocational is specialist review along with my work experience suggests I can perform 3 occupations now..school nurse, office nurse an occupational health nurse. My question is this…is there any provisions on location of these jobs? I live in a rural area, the school nurse positions no longer exist heee and are rare even in the state of michigan, every job I have called on in these categories won’t take anyone on a lifting restriction. Must be able to do all functions of the job. Their market analysis was not done in any county within 2 counties of me. The reason I tok the homecare job which was less pay was because of location to where I live. These jobs they state I can perform don’t exist where I reside an the ones that have come up within 40 to 80 miles of me, require no restrictions on lifting. The vocational specialist letter states in my labor market in sufficient numBers? so not true. Is there any laws on the search criteria in terms of distance?? I have my BSN an can be adjunct faculty at local college but the pay is no where near their numBers of the predisabilty index earnings. I’m getting full reconstructive sn surgical repair of the rectocele, endocele an cystocele at the end of june. I’m hoping I will be fully recovered before my claim end in august.
    Frustrated in midwest

    frustrated in the midwest May 19, 2015  #37

  • Dave,

    Without reviewing your policies we would not be able to accurately advise you as to the coverage you purchased. Please feel free to contact our office for a free consultation regarding same.

    Stephen Jessup May 9, 2015  #36

  • I have multiple Northwestern Mutual Disability policies and wanted to understand the differences on The Initial Period definitions:
    1. The Initial Period (Own Occupation Period) is ——————————TO AGE 65
    The disability insurance annual policy statement glossary states: Initial Period: The period of time in which the definition of total disability is based on the insured’s inability to perform his or her occupation. After the Initial Period, the Insured is totally disable when unable to perform his or her own occupation and not gainfully employed.
    My question is that how long is the own occupation period? Is it till 65 and when will the second sentence “and not gainfully employed” become a factor. I am a physician and when I was sold this policy I was told that with this own occupation period till 65 that as long as I was not able to perform the duties of being a physician that I would be consider fully disable, collect my full disability benefits even if I started a new occupation.

    2 The Definition of Total Disability is ———————-EXTENDED INITIAL PERIOD
    Glossary states: Extended Initial Period: The insured must be disable from his or her own occupation.
    Which is a better definition?
    Thanks for your help

    Dave May 8, 2015  #35

  • BJ,

    You will have rights to appeal this denial. If you have not already done so please feel free to contact our office to discuss how we can assist you.

    Stephen Jessup Apr 21, 2015  #34

  • While waiting for NW Mutual’s decision on my claim for LTD benefits, I was terminated. The following week, NW Mutual sent me a letter denying my claim. Denial was seemingly based upon my “Return to Work” form submitted by the surgeon who performed my emergency gallbladder surgery, which happened to occur while I was already on medical leave. There was very little attention to the Physician Notes from my Pain Management Doctor, and NO attention given to my Depression diagnosis. My claim was handled so unprofessionally – almost no written communication from NW Mutual. My HR Benefits Coordinator would contact me to inform me of information NW Mutual needed. NW Mutual never requested any information from me via written communication. The whole thing just doesn’t sit right with me. I’d like hear your opinion.

    B.J. Robinson Apr 20, 2015  #33

  • JP,

    I think your claim could be in a grey area if the issue is not a current flare up causing disability as defined under the policy, but merely the risk of relapse. Nevertheless, it is arguable that a hematologist should be reviewing your file, though from our experience it would probably be highlighted that your numbers are normal so there should not be any issue from that standpoint. That is not to say that the concerns of a relapse in light of your co-morbid diagnoses would not push you over the threshold for disability. Please feel free to contact our office to discuss your claim in greater detail.

    Stephen Jessup Mar 29, 2015  #32

  • Hi there. I have a chronic autoimmune disease that has temporarily placed me on LTD 5 times over the last 18 years. I currently am in remission although I remain on several drugs that are essential to preventing a life threatening relapse. I am also receiving LTD benefits for an “own occupation” policy I have had for almost 25 years. Over the years I have had multiple rounds of IV chemotherapy, a stem cell transplant and a splenectomy. There have been some complications from the illness that have, for the most part, recovered. I have been a practicing surgeon for many years but at this point I question my capabilities due to the recurrent nature and treatment of my illness. Since another relapse is all but certain I would like to call it quits. My hematologist has documented that I can’t work the intensity and hours of the past because of the threat of relapse and the cumulative impact of my treatments and co-morbidities. NML has refused to have a hematologist review my claim since my “number are currently normal”. I disagree with this line of thinking and view it as a way to ignore my primary concern. Is my claim legit?

    JP Mar 28, 2015  #31

  • Christine,

    If you failed to disclose a medical condition on an application to purchase a disability insurance policy, Northwestern may have grounds to rescind the policy. Please feel free to contact our office to discuss your situation in detail.

    Stephen Jessup Jan 6, 2015  #30

  • I recently had a work related L4L5 disc herniation that resulted in decompression laminectomy on the cauda equina that was presenting neurologic symptoms. NWM is asking for authorization for them to access every record ever produced in my life, which I find very invasive when my injury is pretty specific and straight forward. Can they deny me based on a past illness of 20 years ago that I am not ill for now if I forgot to disclose it? Do I have to sigh the release or would it stop the claim?

    Christine Jan 5, 2015  #29

  • Joseph,

    Please feel free to contact our office to discuss your situation. Upon receipt and review of your disability policy we would be better able to advise you what your options for filing are under the specific terms and conditions of your policy.

    Stephen Jessup Jul 22, 2014  #28

  • I am a 53 year old Dentist with an occupational disability policy. I do not want to retire, but several conditions have been getting worse over the years. I have just had a nerve induction test and I have moderate carpal tunnel syndrome in both hands. I also have ‘dentist’s back’ with degenerative arthritis, bulging disks, etc.

    I am concerned that because my injuries are not dramatic, compared to losing eyesight, etc., that my claim will be denied once I submit it. What is your experience with disabilities of this nature?

    Also, do you file while you are still practicing, or should you wait until you have had to stop 100%?

    Thank you.

    Joseph Jul 21, 2014  #27

  • To the teacher with MS, NML seems to be prejudiced against “stress”, fatigue, etc. FYI

    Info Only Jun 24, 2014  #26

  • Still Frustrated,

    Northwestern Mutual is providing benefits under what is commonly known as a “Reservation of Rights” meaning that while they review the claim they are going to issue the benefit check, but in doing so are not admitting liability under the policy. It is by all accounts a courtesy. If your benefits are approved then the accommodation payments would be applied to what is owed to you. If your claim is denied, then they have indicated they will not request the forwarded benefits back. Most insurance companies do not provide such benefits. You can cash the check without detrimental effects to your claim. Please feel free to contact our office to discuss your claim further.

    Stephen Jessup May 21, 2014  #25

  • So I have jumped through all NWM hoops and still wasn’t getting answers. I have asked them myself to have their doctors and outside examiners review my file because it’s pretty self explanatory. My OB doctor has everything documented related to my uterine and bladder cystocele and rectocele. I have been a nurse for over 17 years so I have been able to explain to my claims agent that what she continues to ask me for is stated in the letter. My claim is still being reviewed since end January 2014 but here’s my question now.

    They sent me a letter stating they are still reviewing my claim but are providing me with financial assistance in the form of an accomadation payment while my case is being reviewed. They state therefore under a seperate cover, they issued me a payment and will pay me said amount monthly u till they finalize their determination. These accomadation payments will be applied toward my claim if my claim is approved. If they don’t approve my claim, the letter states this accomadation payment IS NOT owed back to NWM. The letter keeps saying that although northwestern mutual is providing assistance to me by way if a payment, they DO NOT accept liability for my claim. Now this is very confusing and puts up a big red flag! Should I cash the check? Can they be in default somehow? Something doesn’t seem right. I appreciate the check which covers the months thy haven’t covered but why such an explanation without approving my claim?

    Still Frustrated in the Midwest.

    Frustrated in the Midwest! May 20, 2014  #24

  • Frustrated in the Midwest,

    Without reviewing your information we would not be able to provide any guidance in appealing the decision. Please feel free to contact our office to discuss how we may be able to assist you.

    Stephen Jessup May 9, 2014  #23

  • I was off on short term disability during pregnancy. I have a clotting disorder called factor 5 Leiden an had a sub chorionic bleed while pregnant. After delivery, I had severe back pain. Northwestern paid me long term 5 months after delivery and closed my claim even before I had gotten an MRI. Months later MRI showed degenerative changes but no herniated disc so the physicians at Northwestern suggested I try returning on light duty even though I explained to my doctor I’m still having pain, he told me we had to follow the doctors suggestions as Northwestern. My work was unable to accomadate my restrictions stating I can’t have any restrictions because of my job. MY OB doctor feels my back pain is a result of a forces delivery in which I had an internal tear. Delivery also has resulted in stage 4 uterine prolapse along with a cystocele an rectocele. Regardless of all this documentation, they stated they will have another physician review my record. I was also told the uterine prolapse will not recover from physical therapy and hysterectomy is recommended to repair, pelvis floor repair for bladder an rectal issues. My claims lady is nice but has no clue of medical terminology or what it means. I am a registered nurse and have requested to speak to the nurse case manager an physicians. It’s impossible for an OB doctor to review my case and not see that I’ve been off for OB related issues since my claim started. Forces deliveries are known to cause trauma along with extensive pushing results in this type of injury Because tendons an ligaments weren’t stretched but torn. I need to know how I can appeal their decision, what I can do to get my claim paid. My policy I have states I should be getting paid even because they said return to work an my work can accomadate me. Please advise!

    Frustrated in the Midwest! May 8, 2014  #22

  • Debi,

    Insurance carriers have been seemingly tough of MS claims due to the fact that like you said, you appear ok and have been able to work. Please feel free to contact our office to discuss how we may be able to assist you. For additional information you can watch the video we did on Multiple Sclerosis: diattorney.com/multiple-sclerosis-claim-long-term-disability-insurance-benefits/

    Stephen Jessup Feb 17, 2014  #21

  • I have not applied for disability yet. I have Multiple Sclerosis. I am a teacher and have been able to do my job well until recently. I am considering putting in for disability since my health is declining and the stress of the job has had a negative affect on my health. I guess what I would like to know is what they will be looking for in order to label me as disabled so I can stop working.

    I appear to be healthy and have not needed to call in sick. I have accumulated 180 sick days over my 28 year career. The reality is that the stress of the job has caused heart arythemias and palpitations. I have had a neuropsych exam which documents a decline in my cognitive abilities which affects my teaching. I suffer from fatigue but that only becomes apparent when I get home.

    I need to know what the criteria is for claiming disability. Do I qualify? And what happens if I apply and am rejected? Can I reapply?

    Debi Feb 16, 2014  #20

  • AMP,

    Please contact our office to speak with one of our disability attorneys.

    Stephen Jessup Sep 23, 2013  #19

  • I have an open claim with NWM for temporary total disability secondary to a brain infection and encephalitis from a Lyme infection. The period of time in question was from July, 2012 through April, 2013, when I returned to work on a very limited trial basis as an anaesthesiologist.

    I went for neuropshych testing after the total disability period in question ended, upon return to work, as I wanted to know for myself, as I was still having subtle memory problems and multi-tasking challenges. Despite 26 physicians documenting and identifying cognitive dysfunction during the period in question, they said there was inadequate information to justify a total disability. Despite an abnormal brain SPECT scan and abnormal EEG waves in neurofeedback sessions, there isn’t enough information for them. I had a PICC line in place for over a year and had 6 antibiotics a day for 6 months. That’s not enough information for them.

    I have many questions, but the most pressing one is related to the legal period of time that they are allowed to use records to determine a decision. NWM is delaying a decision on my temporary total disability claim until they receive the neuropsych testing results. The problem is that the testing was done after the claim period in question. Is this legal to delay a decision waiting for information from a period of time not even in question? As one would hope given I was returning to work in an acute care setting, the testing was close to normal, although there were some concerns. Do they have a right to base their decision on information that was collected after the disability period? Do I have to send it to them?

    AMP Sep 22, 2013  #18

  • Sam,

    Each claim, and the way each carrier reviews same, is unique. Please feel free to contact our office to discuss how we may be able to assist you in securing a lump sum buyout of benefits.

    Stephen Jessup Aug 21, 2013  #17

  • I am a small business owner. I got the policy in 2008 and was involved in a bad accident in which my car was totaled. I had a surgery on my knee, however the pain has not gone away. Additionally my back and neck continue to hurt. NW approved my claim and I have gotten payments for 25 months now. I still own my business but have employees run it 100%. The work is very labor intensive and I am unable to perform any duties.

    Over the last few months I have been thinking about closing my business and going back to school so I can start making the money I made before, or even starting a new business that is not as labor intensive. NW has not offered me a buy out, how would I approach them? Is it worth it?

    I am 29, my chiropractor and orthopedic surgeon think I may have pain for a long period of time and will eventually need more surgeries.

    Sam Aug 20, 2013  #16

  • Thanks for this blog. Your YouTube channel is wonderful also. I subscribe to it and have watched all of your videos. Your website is a must read and watch for anyone on Group or Individual LTD. You said “Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company is one of the three most credible companies that sells long term disability insurance coverage.”

    I am curious after reading this who in your opinion are the other two most credible companies? Also in your opinion, who is the most egregious? Thanks again for all the wonderful information you provide.

    John Jun 15, 2013  #15

  • Northwestern claims examiner automatically ruled against my relatives’ claim “not justified.” We had one doctor who told us all he could do for my relatives pain was to give him medication “only” no matter the situation. Northwestern doubled the premium but for what reason we do not know.

    Lyn N. May 29, 2013  #14

  • Garett,

    In my opinion Guardian/Berkshire and then the next selection would depend on your occupation. If you are blue collar worker I would suggest Illinois Mutual and if you are seeking a benefit in excess of $5,000 monthly it would be a close tie between Principal and Mass Mutual.

    Gregory Dell Feb 6, 2013  #13

  • You say that NML is one of the three most credible companies selling disability insurance. What are the other two?

    Garrett Feb 6, 2013  #12

  • NRW,

    If Northwestern is certifying the “replica” policies as copies of the original policies, then they function the same as a replica policy. Without an old policy or a copy of the old policy you have no way to verify if you are being sent a copy of the same original policy that was purchased. The underwriting file maintained by Northwestern will have notes of the terms and conditions contained in the policy that was initially purchased.

    Gregory Dell Apr 10, 2012  #11

  • Dear Mr. Dell,

    I am sorry to say your answer to Ms. Behrens was incorrect. They initially wanted a release to “reissue” a NEW policy that would REPLACE the existing but lost policy, which if found was void and to be immediately returned to the company (NML). They did eventually provide “replica” policies. Is this really a true copy?

    NRW Apr 10, 2012  #10

  • Mary,

    If the life insurance policies are on the life of your brother, then he can probably contact the carrier and attempt to terminate the policies. He can also attempt to revoke the POA and take back control of the policies. I am assuming your brother in law is still alive.

    Gregory Dell Mar 7, 2012  #9

  • My brother-in-law, a disabled vet, was – we believed – poisoned by his ex wife. Because he was unable to take care of his own affairs his wife was given POA. She transferred all of his three life insurances to her name. He paid for these insurances for 30 years out of his payroll checks. But today the insurance company will give him no info, claiming he no longer owns them. What would you suggest he do?

    Mary Mar 7, 2012  #8

  • Beate,

    If he sends a request to Northwestern Mutual, then they will provide him with a copy of the policies. It is essential to review the terms and conditions of each policy. Please watch our video on the disability application process (click here) to learn more about some things to consider when filing a disability claim. If you would like assistance, please contact us for a free consultation.

    Gregory Dell Feb 16, 2012  #7

  • Hi Gregory,

    My significant other has a total of 5 different insurance policies with NML, one of them being “an own occupation disability policy”. He is, or was, an invasive cardiologist, and has been paying his premiums for about 20 years now. Recently he underwent a 12 hour neck-surgery, which left him with metal vertebrae and numbness in his extremities.

    My question to you is: he lost his actual policies (through a divorce) and NML won’t supply him with copies? Which makes filing a claim, or responding to their answers difficult! How can he get copies?


    Beate Behrens Feb 16, 2012  #6

  • Pam,

    Thanks for your comment. Bad Faith can be a very powerful tool, however ERISA governed disability insurance policy holders have no right to a jury trial and no right to bring a bad faith suit. Unfortunately there are only a few states in the country that allows a disability insurance claimant to sue for bad faith damages.

    Gregory Dell Sep 27, 2011  #5

  • I have two words for each of you: “BAD FAITH”. Sue NML, ask for a jury trial and let justice prevail. There is no reason why your legitimate claims have been denied. These accounts go to the very heart of why the public does not trust insurance companies.

    Pamela Cherry Sep 26, 2011  #4

  • Cynthia, I am sorry to hear about your situation. In order to determine if we can assist you, we need to review your denial letter and a copy of your policy. Please contact us confidentially so that we can discuss your claim.

    Gregory Dell May 18, 2011  #3

  • I am a litigation attorney with a paralyzed right vocal cord. My treating physician has placed me on vocal rest and said after the 7 years since my condition I can no longer practice law or work in any capacity involving extensive speaking. NML says I have no limitation and are refusing me any benefits at all on an occupation specific policy I purchased almost 30 years ago. My appeal has been denied.

    Cynthia I. Chiefa, Esq. May 16, 2011  #2

  • I am a board certified cardiologist with severe diabetic comorbidities. I have had occupation specific DI policies with NML since 1980. I am now legally blind, have no feeling in my feet or hands, have severe and disabling dysautonomia with severe low blood pressure and near syncope on standing for more than 5-10 minutes. I have restricted myself from the operating room due to the fact that my vision is so poor and my manual dexterity is non-existant. I am also unable to stand for more than a few minutes.

    NML claims analysts have determined that since I still go into my office to manage my staff and other physicians who work for me that I am not totally disabled. I was told that the policy I have was no longer being offered to certain professionals and that despite the fact that I can no longer performs one or more of the major duties of my profession, I am not considered disabled since the onset of the diabilities was gradual over 5-8 years that no definite start date can be defined and therefore I lose.

    I filed an appeal but as you might guess, they ruled again in their favor. NML has played this game so many times that they know the loopholes and how to screw the policy holder who has no where near the experience in fighting the “giant.” If they should lose the case, their only outcome is to pay what they would have paid if the claim was settled fairly.

    When I argued that the NML representative misrepresented the product that he sold to me, their response was that the selling agent was just a salesman with no extensive policy knowledge. They also stated that they were not present during his sales pitch and therefore could not comment on any of his statements to me.

    Northwestern is the Quiet Company that silently screws its policy holders but are too big to fail, I guess.

    Andrew Kasper, M.D. May 12, 2011  #1

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Questions About Hiring Us

Do you handle ERISA Northwestern Mutual appeals?

If your disability income claim has been denied by Northwestern Mutual and your disability income policy has been offered through your employer, then federal ERISA law requires you to file an appeal with Northwestern Mutual. Our law firm has handled thousands of ERISA appeals against Northwestern Mutual and we will prepare a very strong appeal on your behalf.

Do you help with Northwestern Mutual applications?

The application for disability benefits with Northwestern Mutual is the foundation of your claim. One mistake can result in your claim for disability insurance benefits being denied by Northwestern Mutual. Our lawyers will guide you through the entire application process and make sure you are in the best possible position to have your claim approved by Northwestern Mutual. We welcome you to contact our attorneys to discuss important information about applying for disability benefits with Northwestern Mutual.

Do you file Northwestern Mutual lawsuits?

If Northwestern Mutual has denied all of your ERISA disability appeals, then you have the right to file a lawsuit in federal court against Northwestern Mutual. An ERISA disability lawsuit is different than any other type of lawsuit and you should hire a attorney that has handled thousands of disability denial lawsuits against Northwestern Mutual. Our disability insurance lawyers know what to expect with the challenges filing a federal lawsuit against Northwestern Mutual.

Can you help with a Northwestern Mutual disability Insurance denial?

We have helped thousands of individuals collect long term disability benefits from Northwestern Mutual and we know the unreasonable denial tactics used by Northwestern Mutual to deny disability insurance benefits. Our experienced attorneys know the many options available to get your disability benefits paid by Northwestern Mutual.

Do you manage Northwestern Mutual monthly claims?

Monthly disability insurance claim management is a unique service we offer. Our goal is to make sure your Northwestern Mutual disability benefits continue for as long as you need them. Many claimants either don't trust or experience aggravation dealing with Northwestern Mutual. Disability Insurance Attorneys Dell & Schaefer manages every aspect of your claim for disability income benefits from (Northwestern Mutual. Northwestern Mutual only interacts with our law firm. Contact Disability Insurance Attorneys Dell & Schaefer to learn how we can manage your disability claim.

Can you negotiate a Northwestern Mutual lump sum buyout?

Lump sum buyouts and disability buyouts are occasionally offered by Northwestern Mutual. Our disability lawyers have established relationships with the people at Northwestern Mutual that make the decisions on disability buyouts. We have negotiated hundreds of lump settlements with Northwestern Mutual. Our goal is to get you the highest buyout possible.

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.

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