Reliance Standard Insurance Company Overturns Decision to Deny Long-term Disability Benefits to Pediatrician With Ovarian Cancer

Prior to her disability Dr. Julie worked as a pediatric physician for a nationally recognized health system based in Florida. In 2015, Dr. Julie received a diagnosis of ovarian cancer and underwent a total abdominal hysterectomy and chemotherapy. Although the chemotherapy and treatment likely saved her life, she remained suffering from residual neuropathy in her hands and feet, as well as chronic and severe fatigue.

As a result of her debilitating symptoms, Dr. Julie was forced to stop working and submit a long-term disability claim with her employer sponsored group long-term disability insurer, Reliance Standard Insurance Company. After receiving her claim application and attending physician reports declaring her totally disabled from her own occupation as a pediatrician, Reliance Standard approved the disability claim.

However, after only paying benefits for 2 months, Reliance Standard terminated her disability claim, and stated that her impairments from her own occupation were no longer supported.

Dr. Julie’s occupation as a pediatrician required working at a medium physical demand level. It required her to often exert 20 to 50 pounds, which most often occurred when she was lifting and carrying child patients. It also required critical thinking and analysis when treating children, who often presented with a wide variety of acute and chronic health issues. Given her chronic peripheral neuropathy and fatigue caused by her chemotherapy treatment it was absolutely clear that Dr. Julie was unable to work in her own occupation.

Dr. Julie was referred to Dell & Schaefer by a local attorney she had contacted. Although the attorney handled employment matters, the handling of a long-term disability insurance claim was outside of her field of expertise. Dr. Julie hired Attorney Cesar Gavidia and his team to address the denial of her disability claim. Although there was the strong likelihood that Dr. Julie’s claim was not governed by ERISA, since her employer was a public hospital, Attorney Gavidia determined that the best and safest course of action was to submit an administrative appeal to Reliance Standard addressing the arbitrary denial.

In addition to submitting evidence of her disability by way of her medical records, Attorney Gavidia and his team attacked the fact that Reliance Standard failed to perform an accurate vocational assessment of Dr. Julie’s occupational duties. The Appeal also addressed that Reliance Standard made no attempt to contact Dr. Julie’s treating physicians to discuss the extent of physical and cognitive restrictions and limitations, nor did Reliance Standard perform a functional capacity examination (FCE) or Independent Medical Examination (IME) to assess her physical functional limitations. It was clear that Reliance Standard’s decision to deny Dr. Julie’s long-term disability claim was not supported on the basis of any reasonable or substantiated medical evidence.

Soon after the Appeal was submitted, Reliance Standard notified Dr. Julie that its prior adverse decision to deny her claim was being overturned. Soon after receiving notice that Reliance Standard had overturned its decision and reopened her claim, Dr. Julie was approved for social security disability benefits as well. Although the initial battle was won, Reliance Standard’s requests for medical records, claim forms and attending physician statements continue. If the requests are not fulfilled in a timely manner, Reliance Standard threatens to terminate the disability claim. Attorney Gavidia and his team remain involved so as to ensure that Reliance Standard does not again arbitrarily deny Dr. Julie’s disability claim.

Feel free to contact Attorney Cesar Gavidia to discuss any questions that you may have regarding your long-term disability insurance claim.

Questions About Hiring Us

Do you help Reliance Standard claimants nationwide?

We represent Reliance Standard 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 Reliance Standard disability insurance policy?

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

How do you help Reliance Standard claimants?

Our lawyers help individuals that have either purchased a Reliance Standard 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 Reliance Standard:

  • 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.

Dell & Schaefer Client Reviews   *****

Jeff S. (Kansas)

Due to my vision and health issues testimonials are not typical of me. Dell & Schaefer however did such a sensational, and professional job we felt it absolutely necessary to share the experience.

I had been thinking of pursuing a lump settlement on long term disability with the insurance company for some time. Decided on Dell & Schaefer after much research on several firms across the country. Residing in the Midwest did cause some reservations about choosing a firm around 1500 miles away. However shortly after choosing Dell & Schaefer my concerns where quickly put to rest by how proficient the team is, and how they are always there with you. Never waited for a response and always felt like we knew exactly what was going on every step of the way.

I got the pleasure of working with Mr. Stephen Jessup Esquire, along with Sonia R. Nogueira, and team on my case. After contemplating my situation Steve was contacted to let him know it would be about three months before moving forward. I mention this because no pressure was ever felt to pursue or take a settlement and the firm awaited me to contact them again. No annoying emails, calls, letters, or any type of pressure to hire them. When questions arose the team was right there for me through the entire process and only a phone call or email away. Never had to wait for a response before or after retention. Mr. Jessup at one point during my case was out of country and still offered guidance when needed, almost immediately after emailing. Sonia also went above and beyond and took my call around six P.M. on a Friday to help me with some document questions. Simply an incredible level of service that seems rare anymore. I always felt truly comfortable!

Mr Jessup and everyone with the firm seemed to have a very good rapport with the insurance company. I mention this because within about two weeks of retention we had the first offer. Within less than four weeks we had reached a settlement agreement, and funds where in my account about two hassle free weeks later. This all transpired even with delays of the insurance rep taking vacation twice. Overall my settlement expectations where far exceeded. During the original consultation Mr. Jessup mentioned a monetary figure that was lower than the actual final settlement. There where no false promises or over inflated estimates as sometimes found elsewhere. Just an upfront honest answer of what could be to come. During the process I still received my monthly benefit and never had to deal with the insurance company directly. This in itself took so much stress out of my life. After three years I no longer had to continually jump through hoops when the insurance company requested something or worry that I might undeservedly lose benefits.

The above is just a small part of my experience on how I felt the professional and courteous team was always willing to go the extra mile. If you or someone you might be concerned about are in need of guidance my opinion is a better choice could not be made than contacting the team at Dell & Schaefer about options.

Because of the work done by those at Dell & Schaefer I now have the funds to live while attempting medical procedures that insurance will not cover. Hopefully because of this someday I can return to a career as I’m still almost twenty years from retirement age.

Thank you all at the firm again for returning some normalcy to my life and treating me like a person not a case!

***** 5 stars based on 202 reviews

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