Reliance Standard reverses long term disability denial following appeal submitted by Attorneys Dell & Schaefer

Denials of long term disability benefits commonly occur when the definition of disability changes from own occupation to any occupation. In a recent case handled by our law firm we were shocked that Reliance Standard expected our 63 year old client to be able to return to any occupation. Our client was employed as a Senior Clinical Research Associate for many years. She worked in a sedentary position, but due to several health issues including pulmonary hypertension, morbid obesity, chronic kidney disease, cardiomyopathy, heart failure, inflammatory arthritis, lumbar disc disease and diabetes mellitus she had to resign from her job. In addition, the medication she took on a daily basis to keep her alive caused multiple serious side effects which added to her inability to work in any gainful occupation. She applied for long term disability benefits and was approved and paid by Reliance for two years under the “own occupation” definition. After two years, Reliance terminated her benefits claiming that she was capable of working in “any gainful occupation” on a full-time basis. Our client’s treating physicians completely disagreed with Reliance’s position as it was their opinion that she was incapable of working with any reasonable continuity due to her chronic and severe medical problems and side-effects from her medications.

Reliance Standard failed to properly review medical records

Reliance Standard completely ignored our client’s vast medical records documenting several medical problems as well as her physicians’ opinions that she was incapable of working even in a sedentary capacity. In its denial letter, Reliance acknowledges several of our client’s medical problems including issues with heart failure, pulmonary hypertension, pulmonary emboli, chronic gastritis, diabetes and sleep apnea. The denial letter also addressed knee pain, degenerative joint disease, back pain, osteoarthritis and chronic kidney disease. However, Reliance stated in its denial, that despite her advanced age and all of her medical issues, the only restriction and limitation she seemed to have was her inability to get on a plane and travel. Other than that one restriction Reliance believed that she was perfectly capable of working in a sedentary position 8 hours a day, 5 days a week.

Reliance Standard ignored and disagrees with Social Security Disability Determination of Disability

Reliance Standard informed our client that she was required to apply for Social Security Disability, if she did not, they would automatically reduce her monthly benefits. Our client applied for SSDI and was immediately approved. Reliance took a set-off for the Social Security benefits she was receiving, but chose to ignore the Social Security Administration’s opinions that she was completely disabled from any gainful occupation as a result of the above-mentioned medical problems. Unfortunately, this is a common occurrence with insurance companies. Reliance encouraged and even assisted her in getting approved for social security disability income benefits in order to receive the benefit of a set-off, but then turned around and claimed that they do not agree with the Social Security Administration’s opinions that the claimant was disabled, as the SSA’s definition of disability differs from their own.

Dell & Schaefer submits an ERISA Appeal seeking payment of LTD benefits

Disability Attorneys Dell & Schaefer were retained in order to assist in appealing the denial of disability benefits by Reliance Standard. Prior to submitting an ERISA appeal for long term disability benefits, Attorney Rachel Alters obtained and reviewed the administrative record, obtained and reviewed all of her updated medical records and conferred with her client’s treating physicians. In her appeal attorney Alters submitted written opinions from her client’s treating physicians supporting her inability to work in a sedentary capacity. The evidence clearly indicated that it would be impossible for this 63 year-old markedly obese woman who had multiple severe medical issues to work in even a sedentary job with any reasonable continuity.

Based on the overwhelming medical evidence and appeal letter drafted by Attorney Rachel Alters, Reliance overturned its decision to terminate our client’s benefits, and paid all past due benefits. Our client remains on claim and we continue to handle her claim on a daily basis in order to improve her chances of another disability denial.

Our firm has represented thousands of disability insurance claimants at all stages of a claim for either short term or long term disability benefits. Contact us for a free consultation and review of your disability claim.

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FAQ

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   *****

Cynthia B.

I learned in March 2014, that my LTD insurance provider was auditing my case. Two weeks later I received a denial letter. I didn’t even have time to provide the info requests to my doctors much less have them completed and sent back to the LTD company. I promptly called the rep who fumbled about for a few minutes then stated that the letter was mistakenly sent to me. The rep (I’ll refer to him as L) was often rude and aggressive even bordering on threatening on the phone.

They did not contact me from early June, I think, until September when L called me to inform me that my payments had already been stopped and a denial letter was in route. This letter informed me I had not complied in getting information from my Doctors and, he claimed in part that since they were not responsive to the insurance company, I was now in receipt of this denial letter. After all he claimed, I really was just fine (not quoted but implied in my opinion). I had not heard a word from L in 3 months prior to that call. I had been promised I no longer had to talk to L after I complained to the insurance company. How surprised I was to pick up a call from L. He seemed quite pleased to let me know they had already stopped my payments. Long story short, like you perhaps, I was scared and had no idea where to turn. Did I need to find a local attorney? That’s what I started doing. I quickly learned there were a lot of people who had or were currently going through the same thing. Misery really does seem to love company.

I started reading other people’s stories and often ran into the Dell & Schaefer name. I was skeptical. I mean, who chooses an attorney over the internet? I learned there were topics this law firm had placed on You Tube? I intently read everyone of them. I admittedly was impressed as they carefully described the process and what to expect. I read more than once. I called the national number listed. I made my choice when I spoke with Alexander Palamara, Esc. He was very informative, confident and encouraging. All of which I was not feeling prior to that call. I made my decision and never looked back. I knew without question that I would never be able to win this case on my own. I was so naive that I didn’t understand that what I thought was a very reputable and certainly well known Insurance company, would blatantly lie. They did. My attorney learned during the discovery process that they had, had much of the information they said they never got. They had had it for months. I never had to wait for response from Alexander, my attorney. If he was not available, his assistant would contact me. I was always in the loop and well informed. I was still shocked at the glaring discrepancies noted in my filing as opposed to what was noted by the insurance company’s denial letter. Some say, “Trust but verify”. I would Strongly recommend, “Don’t trust And Verify!” Act as early as you are able. Expect to provide your doctors names, addresses and phone numbers and dates. Then expect to be well represented. It’s well worth your time and money to pursue your case with Dell & Schaefer.

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