Beware of Traveling While on Disability with Unum

In the past several months our office has been hired by two separate clients who had individual disability policies purchased privately through insurance agents; that had received benefits for an extended period of time; and that were denied by Unum, in part, on the basis that their ability to travel was indicative of the ability to work. The first client, a doctor had coverage with Paul Revere Life Insurance Company, and the other client, a Court Reporter had coverage through New York Life Insurance Company- both of which are administered by Unum. 

The Ability to Travel Does Not Mean the Ability to Work

When purchasing a disability policy through an agent one of the most common riders selected is an “Own Occupation” rider in which “disability” is determined based on the inability to perform your actual job duties. More often than not this “own occupation” definition of disability is for the term of the policy. Both our clients had such language in their respective policies. 

In the case of the doctor, he had been receiving disability benefits for nearly 15 years when Unum terminated his claim due in large part to online investigations conducted which indicated that he had traveled extensively while on claim and had written about it on a personal blog.

traveling while on disability with Unum

As Attorney Stephen Jessup would come to find out our client took extended trips with his spouse in order to have additional days to rest as he would inevitably experience a great deal of pain from any physical activity; that the travel was usually in business or first class so he would be able to lay down through the flight (a position he spends most of his day in regardless); and given his love of writing he embellished the trips to make the blog posts more appealing to readers and often recounted the stories of friends he vacationed with an passed off as his own. To that and he provided Attorney Jessup with documentation to verify everything. However, prior to terminating his claim Unum made no inquiry whatsoever regarding the travel, nor did they seek any additional clarification as to what the travel entailed. Without verification, the claims manager found the blog posts on the internet and saw it as a “smoking gun” justification to deny benefits.

Administrative Appeal Challenges the Definition of Total Disability

Attorney Stephen Jessup prepared and submitted an appeal with Unum on our client’s behalf. Although an individual disability policy does not require an administrative appeal be filed it was agreed that given the horrible misrepresentations made by Unum in the denial letter it would be appropriate to clarify our client’s travel and provide additional medical information in support of continued benefits prior to filing a lawsuit. It is our position that our client’s travel does not have bearing on his ability to practice medicine or how Unum must review policy language to determine disability. The applicable portions of the definition of total disability contained in his policy read:

  • You are unable to perform each of the important duties of Your Occupation; and
  • You are not engaged in any other gainful occupation

There is nothing in that definition that defines disability to mean that one is disabled if they are unable to perform activities of daily living, or if you are unable to perform at the physical demand level your job requires as determined by the Department of Labor (ex: Sedentary, Light, Medium, Heavy, Very Heavy). Policies are written to mean that due to injury or sickness one is unable to perform one’s occupational duties.

So how is that Unum will justify the argument that the ability to travel is indicative of the ability to practice medicine? It essentially comes down to is the appearance of impropriety. Unum is more concerned with how something appears rather than the reality of the situation.

This was also the case with the second client who worked as a Court Reporter. Her policy contained substantially similar language regarding “disability” in that she would be deemed disabled if she was unable to perform her pre-disability occupation. Similar to our doctor, she had been on claim receiving disability benefits for a period of time, and Unum’s initial review of her continued eligibility was predicated on information that she had taken a once in a life time trip overseas. Unum argued in its denial letter that her ability to take an extended trip was indicative of physical ability to perform the “light” duty physical demands of her prior occupation. 

In both cases Unum’s reviewing doctors paid more credence to the “travel” than they did the actual medical records. No matter what information was provided Unum had blinders on and focused so heavily on the ability to travel as some great wrong that I believe they saw our clients more as frauds trying to “pull one” over on Unum.

Despite detailed clarification and strong additional evidence of disability, Unum denied the doctor’s appeal and Attorney Jessup is pursuing legal remedies on his behalf. The appeal for our Court Reporter client is still pending, but given Unum’s actions during the claims and appeal review of our doctor client it would not be unreasonable to expect Unum to continue with such behavior.

Beware.

In a world of social media and online postings insurance companies are now, more than ever, scouring the internet to obtain information about their insureds. The digital footprint you leave, no matter how seeming innocuous, can have lasting ramifications. Without a doubt disability policies do not define disability to mean you are unable to perform activities of daily living, but insurance companies will review your abilities to travel or perform normal activities as evidence that your symptoms may not truly be impacting your ability to work.

If you have concerns with your disability insurance carrier due to inquiries into travel, requests for interviews, or over video surveillance that may have been shown to you or sent to your doctors please contact our office to speak with Attorney Jessup or one of our other disability insurance attorneys to discuss your claim in detail.


Did you find this helpful?
Unhelpful (0)

Resources to Help You Win Disability Benefits

Disability Benefit Denial Options
Unum Disability Denial

Let’s discuss your case your Unum disability denial.

Unum Disability Denial

Submit a Strong Unum Appeal Package

We work with you, your doctors, and other experts to submit a very strong Unum appeal.

Unum Disability Appeal

Sue Unum

We have filed thousands of disability denial lawsuits in federal Courts nationwide against Unum.

Unum Disability Lawsuit

Protect Your Benefits
Get Your Unum Disability Application Approved
We help claimants throughout the entire application process.

Learn more

Prevent a Unum Disability Benefit Denial
We manage every aspect of your disability claim following claim approval.

Learn more

Negotiate a Unum Lump-Sum Settlement

Our goal is to negotiate the highest possible buyout of your long-term disability policy.

Learn more

Unum Reviews
(642)

Policy Holder Rating

1.6 out of 5
Read 60 reviews
0%would recommend
5
0%
4
0%
3
1%
2
55%
1
43%
Timely Payments
1.8out of 5
Handling Claim
2.1out of 5
Customer Service
2.1out of 5
Dependable
2.1out of 5
Value
1.9out of 5
Showing 8 of 642 Reviews
Unum

Low payments

Reviewed by Dorothy on November 30th 2023   Verified Policyholder | November 2023 date of disability
I was injured at work. I did house keeping in a hospital. I tore just about everything imaginable in my knee. I was let go from my job, because I was no longer able to do ... read more >
Unum

They closed my claim and I have been without income since they closed it

Reviewed by Mary C. on November 8th 2023   Verified Policyholder
Went off work on 9/26/22 due to back issues. Applied for Short Term Disability. On Jan 2023 switched over to Long Term Disability and Unum had me to apply for Social Secur... read more >
Unum

I feel like Unum is giving me the runaround!

Reviewed by Rachelle H. on May 11th 2022   Verified Policyholder
I have contacted UNUM multiple times since I’ve needed them. I feel like they are giving me the runaround! Please help!
Reply
Sent on May 11th 2022 by Attorney Stephen Jessup

Rachelle, the law provides certain timelines and deadlines with which to provide information or decisions. Please feel free to contact our office to discuss your situat... read more >

Unum

Unum terminated my benefits with no warning

Reviewed by K. Potter on September 9th 2020   Verified Policyholder
I was told I was covered with Unum through my employer (continuum). I got an email today for my termination, no prior talks of infractions with attendance, no warnings, no... read more >
Reply
Sent on September 9th 2020 by Attorney Stephen Jessup

K. Potter, termination as in your employment was terminated or a disability claim was terminated? If your employment was terminated and you had not filed a claim for di... read more >

Unum

I've been trying to care care of my Unum benefits for over a year. They’ve been so rude

Reviewed by Tracey W. on August 30th 2020   Verified Policyholder
I have been trying to take care of my Unum benefits for over a year. I’ve called and back in November I did appeal letter, they say they never received. I did everything... read more >
Reply
Sent on August 30th 2020 by Attorney Gregory Dell

Tracey, I am sorry to hear of your issues with Unum. We would love to learn more about your claim to see if we can get Unum to pay or if we can sue them with you. Pleas... read more >

Unum

I've paid for STD for 20+ years. Now, I'm actually sick and can't get paid

Reviewed by Natalie on June 29th 2020   Verified Policyholder
My employer uses unum for short-term disability. I was hospitalized back on june 13 and discharged on june 25. I was admitted for double pneumonia and hypoxia, which I end... read more >
Reply
Sent on June 29th 2020 by Attorney Rachel Alters

Natalie, hopefully your claim will be approved. If they deny the STD claim then you will need to appeal the determination.

Unum

Unum thought I was fine to work. I wasn't

Reviewed by Elizabeth L. on May 21st 2020   Verified Policyholder
48 yoa dentist POTs Dx aug 22. Attempted to return to work initially but got sick. Was going to go back 2 days/wk in September but could not. Then did go back part time as... read more >
Reply
Sent on May 21st 2020 by Attorney Stephen Jessup

Elizabeth, please contact our office to discuss the denial of your claim and your rights to pursue legal action against Unum.

Unum

Unum has made me feel like a criminal

Reviewed by Kevin on February 6th 2020   Verified Policyholder
Hi, I am currently receiving LTD from UNUM. I used to work as a Radiologist Tech at Vanderbilt Medical Center in Nashville, TN. for about 10 years. Than I started having g... read more >
Reply
Sent on February 6th 2020 by Attorney Gregory Dell

Kevin, I am sorry to hear all that you are going through and the stress this is causing you. The policy governing your claim likely does allow Unum to conduct an in-per... read more >

Answered Questions by Our Lawyers
(98)
Showing 8 of 98 Answered Questions

Q: Does Unum stop paying when you retire and or if you qualify for Social Security Disability?

Answered on April 16th 2024 by Attorney Gregory Dell
A: In most group Unum disability disability policies a retirement benefit that is funded by an employer and ssdi ... Read More >

Q: Can receiving a Unum group LTD benefit settlement lower my SSDI benefit?

Answered on March 29th 2024 by Attorney Gregory Dell
A: Jeff,The acceptance of a Unum Lump Sum Buyout offer should not reduce your ssdi benefit. You should contact ... Read More >

Q: Do we have any legal action against Unum?

Answered on January 15th 2024 by Attorney Alex Palamara
A: I am sorry to hear of Unum’s actions here and how they have treated your claim, especially in their long del... Read More >

Q: Is it normal for “UNUM” to ask for a police report?

Answered on January 15th 2024 by Attorney Alex Palamara
A: Derrick, a simple answer to your question is Yes, if there was some sort of MVA accident which caused or contr... Read More >

Q: Unum stopped my COLA benefits at age 65

Answered on December 19th 2023 by Attorney Rachel Alters
A: Unum policies usually only pay COLA increases until you turn 65 even if the policy pays longer. Read More >

Q: Survivor's benefits

Answered on December 15th 2023 by Attorney Gregory Dell
A: Cindy: A few things come to mind. Your disability policy will have a section called deductible sources of inco... Read More >

Q: FMLA and my LTD claim

Answered on December 6th 2023 by Attorney Gregory Dell
A: Unum doesn’t consider FMLA as they only care if you meet the terms of your disability policy with Unum. Read More >

Q: Is the recipient responsible for overpayment when they had nothing to do with the reporting?

Answered on November 30th 2023 by Attorney Gregory Dell
A: Jeanne:The beneficiary, which would be you, is responsible for a legitimate overpayment regardless of who ... Read More >
Helpful Videos
(888)
Showing 12 of 888 Videos
Disability Benefit Tips
(331)
Showing 8 of 331 Benefit Tips

Is UNUM a Good Insurance Company?

One common question the attorneys here at Dell Disability Lawyers receive comes from policyho... Read More >

How Long Does UNUM Long Term Disability Last?

When it comes to long term disability (LTD) insurance, every UNUM disability insurance policy... Read More >

Can You Sue UNUM?

If UNUM denies your long term disability insurance claim, can you sue? Generally, t... Read More >

How Does UNUM Define Disability?

UNUM Group - the Tennessee-based Fortune 500 insurance company that includes UNUM US, UN... Read More >

Beware of Traveling While on Disability with Unum

In the past several months our office has been hired by two separate clients who had individual disability policies purchased privately throug... Read More >

If I Sue Unum for a Disability Insurance Denial, What Should I Anticipate?

Disability insurance Attorneys Gregory Dell and Stephen Jessup discuss the numerous issues th... Read More >

Unum Disability Benefit Denial Trends, A Legal Perspective

In this video we discuss the recent trends they have observed with regard to Unum Insurance C... Read More >

A New Bait and Switch Tactic by Unum Disability Insurance Company

Unum reached a new low today which displays absolute disregard for the rights of a UNUM insured. Our law firm advised Unum in a January 16, 20... Read More >
Dell Disability Cases
(375)
Showing 8 of 375 Dell Disability Cases

Transportation Manager with Brain Injury Wins Unum Disability Benefit Appeal

Unum unjustly terminated our client’s long term disability claim after it had approved and... Read More >

Louisiana State College Director Wins Unum LTD Appeal But Then Denied Again

Client was Regional Director for the State of Louisiana. She was diagnosed with cervical rad... Read More >

Unum Approves LTD Benefits for Pharmacist with Eye Disorder

Rachel Alters of Dell Disability Attorney’s currently represents an Ambulatory Operations P... Read More >

Billing Manager With Back Disorder Wins Unum Long Term Disability Denial Appeal

Despite suffering with chronic knee and back pain for 7 Years, Unum still needed to be convi... Read More >

Unum Lifts Mental Health Limitation on Disability Claim

When our client first contacted our office and spoke with Attorney Stephen Jessup her claim for long term disability benefits had been approve... Read More >

Unum Approves Long Term Disability Application to a Program Manager

Our client, a high level Program Manager for a large international aeronautics company, was involved in an automobile accident that resulted i... Read More >

After appeal filed by Attorney Jay Symonds, UNUM overturned previous denial of long term disability benefits for South Carolina Nurse

Our client, Ms. L, formerly worked as a Registered Nurse for a nursing home. In November 2014 a number of chronic physical conditions and pain... Read More >

Unum Overturns Original Decision to Deny Benefits to Disabled Account Manager Following Appeal Submitted by Dell Disability Lawyers Appeals Team

In 2016, Sarah, an Account Manager, began suffering severe abdominal pain accompanied by bloody diarrhea. The frequency and condition was so s... Read More >
Disability Lawsuit Stories
(765)
Showing 8 of 765 Lawsuit Stories

Unum Wrongfully Terminated Disabled Lawyer’s Disability Claim of Depression and Anxiety Despite Improvement in His Condition

This Unum lawsuit and appeal in federal court is a great victory for all Unum disability claimants. This ca... Read More >

Court Rules Plaintiff's Medical Records Was Replete With Evidence Supporting Claim of MS & Was Not A Pre-Existing Condition

BackgroundIn Bayer v. Unum Life Insurance Company of America, C.A. No. 18-9702 (E.D. LA 2020), Plaintiff began working as a seni... Read More >

After paying for 13 years Unum Denies Disability Benefits to Woman with Lyme Disease and Endometriosis

In Stephanie Dorris v. Unum Life Insurance Company of America (Unum), Plaintiff was President of Beans Plus, Inc... Read More >

Inexperienced Lawyer Handles Unum Disability Lawsuit and Fails to Provide Evidence to Support Occupational Argument

The case of Stephanie Dorris v. Unum Life Insurance Company of America (Unum) is an example of how an inexperien... Read More >

Can UNUM Deny LTD Benefits When Plaintiff Proves Eligibility by a Preponderance of the Evidence?

In the case of Paul Luu v. First Unum Life Insurance Company of America (Unum), Plaintiff had been employed by MUFG Union Bank ... Read More >

Is Remand Required If Plaintiff Proves Disability by a Preponderance of the Evidence?

In Ralph Dewsnup v. Unum Life Insurance Company of America (Unum), Plaintiff was a trial attorney with the law firm of&nbs... Read More >

Can Unum Deny My LTD Benefits After Paying For 15 Years?

In the case of Michael J. Christoff v. Unum Life Insurance Company of America (Unum), plaintiff was a partner in the firm ... Read More >

Court Rules Proper Standard of Review is Abuse of Discretion

In Christoff v. Unum Life Insurance Company of America, Plaintiff Christoff suffered from severe fibromyalgia. He was insured under a group em... Read More >

Reviews from Our Clients

Request a Free Consultation

Our Lawyers Respond Same Day

5 Ways We Help Get Your Benefits Paid

Get Your Disability Application Approved

Our goal is to get your application for disability income benefits approved. Applying for disability benefits can be a difficult process and the information you provide is critical. Most disability insurance companies look at your application in hopes of finding a reason to deny your claim. Your disability company will ask you to complete numerous forms, interview you, request lots of information, speak with your doctors and possibly request to have you examined by their "hired gun" doctor.

Through our experience of having helped thousands of disability insurance claimants, our lawyers will guide you through the entire application process and give you the best chance to get your disability claim approved the first time.

Submit A Strong Appeal Package

If your disability insurance benefits have been wrongfully denied, then our lawyers know exactly what it takes to get your disability claim approved. You only get once chance to submit an Appeal, therefore every piece of evidence that will support your disability claim must be included. The goal is to win your disability benefits at the Appeal level, but while preparing your Appeal you must consider how a federal judge will review your disability claim if your benefit denial is upheld.

Preparing a strong disability appeal package is an art that requires you to understand how the courts interpret your disability policy language, ERISA regulations / laws, and how to strategically present evidence in support of your definition of "disability". We encourage you to contact any of our lawyers for a free immediate review of your disability denial.

Sue Your Disability Company

98% of the disability insurance lawsuits filed by our law firm have resulted in either the payment of benefits or a lump-sum settlement agreement. Our disability lawyers have filed ERISA governed and private policy long term disability insurance lawsuits against every major disability insurance company in state and federal courts nationwide and we love fighting for the "little guy" against the multi-billion dollar insurance company giants.

We have recovered hundreds of millions of dollars for our clients and we would like the opportunity to provide you with a free review of your disability benefit denial. There are many complex factors in a disability benefit lawsuit and the legal battle to win long term disability benefits can be fierce.

Prevent A Disability Benefit Denial

Approval of long-term disability is a continuous process as every disability insurance company will evaluate your eligibility for benefits on a monthly basis. You can never let your guard down and assume that your disability company will continue to pay your benefits for as long as you think you need them.

Our law firm offers a reasonable flat fee monthly claim handling service in which we handle every aspect of your long-term disability claim and do whatever it takes to make sure you are paid every month.

Negotiate a Lump-Sum Settlement

Let's discuss if a lump-sum settlement or buyout of your disability insurance claim is both available and makes financial sense for you. Our lawyers have negotiated more than five-hundred million dollars in disability insurance buyouts and we know how to get you a maximum settlement. A disability insurance company is not required to offer a buyout and not every disability company offers them.

Questions About Hiring Us

Who are Dell Disability Lawyers?

We are disability insurance lawyers that know how to get your short or long term disability benefits paid. As a nationwide law firm we have helped thousands of disability insurance claimants throughout the United States to collect hundreds of millions of dollars of disability insurance benefits from every major disability insurance company.

In more than 98% of our cases, our lawyers have been able to either get our clients paid monthly disability benefits or obtain a one-time lump-sum settlement. Our lawyers have seen it all when it comes to disability insurance claims and we know exactly what it takes for your disability claim to be approved.

We welcome you to contact any of our attorneys for a free immediate review of your disability claim. We also invite you to visit and subscribe to our YouTube channel where we have more than 700 videos and regularly provide tips to help protect your disability benefits.

Who do you help?

Our lawyers help individuals that have either purchased a long term disability insurance policy from an insurance company or obtained short or long term disability insurance coverage as a benefit from their employer. We have helped individuals in almost every type of occupation with monthly disability benefit payments ranging from $1,500 to $50,000.

Our clients include all types of employees ranging from retail associates, sales representatives, government employees, police officers, teachers, janitors, nurses, pilots, truck drivers, financial advisors, doctors, dentists, veterinarians, lawyers, consultants, IT professionals, engineers, professional athletes, business owners, and high level executives.

A strong understanding and presentation of the duties of your occupation is essential for securing disability insurance benefits.

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 phone, email, fax, GoToMeeting 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 800-698-9159 or by email. Lawyers 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.