Prudential Agrees to Reinstate Long Term Disability Benefits for an Employee of DRS Technologies who suffers from very severe back issues

Due to his previous employment at DRS Technologies where he worked as an Environmental & Health Safety Specialist, our eventual client was covered under a Long Term Disability (LTD) Insurance Policy with The Prudential Insurance Company of America. This LTD Policy was in place for DRS Technologies’ employees should they be unable to perform the material and substantial duties of their regular occupation or any gainful occupation due to sicknesses or injuries. The policy would pay 60% of the employees’ previously monthly earnings should they satisfy the terms and conditions of this policy.

It was a good thing our eventual client was covered under such a policy because as of May 10, 2012, he was no longer able to “perform the material and substantial duties of his regular occupation.” Forced to stop working due to the physical limitations resulting from spinal stenosis lumbar region, sciatica, lumbago, myalgia and myositis, lumbar radiculitis, postlaminectomy syndrome of lumbar region, postlaminectomy syndrome of cervical region, cervical spondylosis without myelopathy, headache, cervicalgia, status post bilateral L5-S1 foraminotomy and right L5-S1 microdiscectomy, status post anterior cervical discectomy and fusion, our client applied for and was initially approved for LTD benefits by Prudential. LTD benefits began on November 6, 2012, after he satisfied the 180 day elimination period.

Prudential’s First Denial of LTD Benefits

After being paid LTD benefits for the period November 6, 2012 through September 30, 2013, our eventual client was informed by Prudential by way of a letter dated October 14, 2013 that his benefits would terminate as of September 30, 2013. In the aforementioned denial letter, Prudential relied upon a review of its in-house clinical team, the results of a Functional Capacity Evaluation (FCE) it commissioned and Covert Surveillance. Although the results of the FCE provided that our client performed with full effort and had no physical demand/work capacity, Prudential instead decided to rely upon the covert surveillance it had conducted over a three day period two months prior to the FCE.

Apparently because the covert surveillance showed our client “get in and out of two different vehicles”, shopping at a supermarket and a home improvement store, and entering a pizza parlor to pick up a pizza, Prudential felt that the results of the FCE were invalid and that the limited results of the covert surveillance were more compelling. As such, Prudential denied our eventual client’s continued claim for LTD benefits based on the covert surveillance.

Finding Dell & Schaefer

Within a week of being denied continued benefits, our now client contacted and hired Dell & Schaefer to assist him with his administrative appeals to challenge Prudential’s determination. After accumulating updated medical records, the administrative record from Prudential and the covert surveillance, a timely appeal was filed that challenged Prudential’s incorrect decision. Our appeal first focused on how the surveillance was not an accurate measure of our client’s ability to perform his own or any occupation on a full time basis. Furthermore, our appeal noted that Prudential failed to consider compelling medical evidence for the time before, during and after the covert surveillance was performed. Lastly, our appeal challenged Prudential’s decision to completely disregard the Functional Capacity Evaluation it had commissioned with a medical professional of its choosing.

Prudential’s Second Denial of LTD Benefits

Unfortunately for our client, our first attempt at convincing Prudential that its decision to deny was incorrect was unsuccessful. By way of a letter dated June 4, 2014, Prudential informed Dell & Schaefer that it was upholding its previous decision to deny continued benefits. This time Prudential relied upon the paper review of an “independent” physician consultant who specializes in Occupational Medicine. While this physician reviewer found that our client had restrictions and limitations, this physician ultimately sided with the insurance company who hired him. Utilizing this review of a doctor who never treated, evaluated or even laid eyes upon our client, Prudential once again denied our client’s claim.

Dell & Schaefer’s Second Appeal

With the option of filling a second/final appeal or filing a lawsuit, our client, confident in his medical records and file, chose to file an appeal with the hope of avoiding time consuming litigation. Armed with updated medical records and the claim file of the Social Security Administration, who also found our client disabled, a second appeal was timely filed.

Utilizing arguments to challenge Prudential’s “independent” physician consultant’s review, and again challenging Prudential’s reliance upon surveillance, the appeal left Prudential with no choice but to reinstate our client’s claim for LTD benefits.

Within 45 days of the second appeal being filed, Prudential finally came around and agreed that our client deserved to remain on claim. Furthermore, Prudential even agreed that our client was unable to perform the duties of any gainful occupation which meant that our client would continue to receive LTD benefits beyond the first 24 months of his claim.

Although our client was ready to file an ERISA LTD lawsuit against Prudential, he is happy to be reinstated and that Prudential agreed to find him disabled from any gainful occupation. Our client continues to remain on claim to this day and he knows that Attorney Alexander Palamara will continue to do whatever it takes to keep him on claim until he is either able to return to work or until his policy expires.

If you have been denied disability benefits by Prudential or any other disability insurance provider, please do not hesitate to contact the Attorneys at Dell & Schafer for a free consultation.

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Do you help Prudential claimants nationwide?

We represent Prudential 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 Prudential disability insurance policy?

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

How do you help Prudential claimants?

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

  • 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, 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.

Dell & Schaefer Client Reviews   *****

Patricia T. (Florida)

If you think the insurance company is going to be FAIR, you are WRONG! Get an attorney, I recommend Dell & Schaefer. They entered my life approximately 4 years ago. I was in the mid years of my life, moving along routinely finishing up my 29th year of continuous employment as a professional Acute Care Registered Nurse, looking ahead to planning my future and possibilities ahead of me. I had planned to work at least another 15 years and maybe more if I could. I was hitting the peak of my value in the health system that employed me and I loved my job. Income was never an issue for me, as in my profession I could always find work and make as much income as I needed raising a family etc… But just incase, my father always taught me to have a safety net. So every year for 29 years, around benefit time I would fill out the forms and check the boxes for STD and LTD and pay the monthly dues for those policies in case I would ever need them, never expecting to use them. Well life had other plans for me.

My illness began slowly, I made adjustments to my work schedule and life schedule hoping that would allow me to stay employed. I didn’t want to give up the money, my benefits, the years experience I had, the value I had to contribute etc… That lasted for about a year and half then suddenly my body just couldn’t do it anymore. My illness exacerbated, necessitating me to leave work. I went out on my STD policy and initially Aetna the carrier of the policy was cooperative and approved my claim. After several months when I didn’t improve my STD policy was over and it was time to begin my LTD. At this point Aetna suddenly switched and began to deny all my claims for the same illness they had previously approved. I was shocked and bewildered, I could not believe how Aetna could be doing such a thing. What was happening, how could they just say NO! This wasn’t fair, I paid into this for 29 years… and was lost as to what to do.

I did some research on line, and found out this was a common thing all insurers were doing to people who had these kind of policies. What a rip off I thought. Here I thought I had a safety net. I was so angry and realised I was disillusioned about this system and having a safety net. I sat and cried fluctuating between anger, sadness, worry, the gamut of feelings. What should I do I thought, I need help and help fast. I couldn’t live without income. I did some more research and found Dell & Schaefer, I went through their website reading all the information and decided I need to call them to see if they could help me. My illness was not listed as a common illness for disability approval.

When I called them, they put me through immediately to someone and took some information. Later that day an attorney called me back and went through my situation explaining to me all my options and that they could help me. I wasn’t ready to make a decision on the spot, so I told them I would call them back. I was skeptical because at this point I didn’t trust anyone for numerous reasons and felt like all the systems I had faith in were failing me. Is this going to be another rip off, I thought?

After thinking about it for a day or two and consulting friends and family, I nervously called back Dell & Schaefer and I told them my concerns, we talked some more they never pressured me. I reluctantly agreed, not because of something they said, it was my own issue with trust now clouding my decision. Reflecting back that was the best decision I ever made. My attorney in the firm was Alex Palamara, I dealt with him exclusively and he always called me back, emailed me and let me know what was happening promptly. Nothing was ever too small for him to answer and he had compassion when I would complain about how unfair Aetna was being with their denial of my case. And YES, they did deny, and are still trying to find ways to deny me to this day 4 years later. Through the hard work and timely action taking by the attorney my appeal was reversed and my claim continues to be approved with the help of the attorney. I no longer have random calls from Aetna asking me repetitive questions that I already answered numerous times and the firm continues to coordinate the yearly reviews with Aetna and my physicians. I faced another denial at the two year mark when the policy changes the definition of gainful employment. Yea isn’t that beauty they sneak into the policy that you have really don’t understand. Alex anticipated that fought that and I have had a seamless benefit check now for 4 straight years.

I will not give up my representation, as educated as I am, in no way am I versed in disability law and the new ways insurance companies try to get out of paying the policy we have paid our hard earned money into for a safety net. I know things will not be easy and I will have to fight to continue my benefits, having Dell & Schaefer gives me security that someone will be there fighting for me and my benefits. I can’t thank them enough, I find them to be prompt, compassionate, knowledgeable and very fair with their fees. If you are thinking about hiring an attorney for representation you will be pleased with this firm. As a side note, my last years of employment I worked for a large hospital system, my job was coordinating with the hospital, physicians and Insurance companies to make sure the hospital would get paid. Specifically, I worked on denials of patients inpatient hospital bills. The insurance company would deny claims for the most unbelievable reasons. They know some people will just give up and not fight, that’s what they are counting on. I didn’t think they would do the same thing with STD and LTD policies, I was wrong and naive. Do yourself a favour, HIRE an attorney immediately from the beginning, otherwise the carrier will jerk you around till you give up, and you may inadvertently say or fill out a form wrong or miss a date and boom you are denied. You will never get your benefit you paid into. Hire Dell & Schaefer.

***** 5 stars based on 165 reviews

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