How Does UNUM Define Disability?
UNUM Group – the Tennessee-based Fortune 500 insurance company that includes UNUM US, UNUM UK, and Colonial Life – defines disability in its own unique way. This means that the most commonly-accepted interpretations of “disabled” or “disability” may not quite gel with what UNUM considers disabled. What should long term disability insurance claimants know about how UNUM defines “disability”?
If a UNUM Claimant Can Still Perform Normal Daily Activities Are They Entitled To Benefits?
One of the most common questions UNUM disability claimants ask is this – if you’re still able to perform most activities of daily living, are you entitled to long term disability benefits with UNUM? The answer is often yes, but depends on how closely these daily activities are tied to your work duties. In other words, someone whose job requires them to sling 40-pound boxes onto the back of a truck may no longer be able to work after a rotator cuff tear, but might still have no problem tinkering in their garden or going on a jog around the block. It’s important to note that UNUM can (and often will) engage in video surveillance and can use this sort of evidence against you. But in most cases, as long as you can show that your disability prevents you from engaging in work activities, you should be protected.
UNUM’s Definition of “Own Occupation”
UNUM defines a claimant’s “own occupation” or “regular occupation” broadly, and uses definitions and parameters from the national economy, not the claimant’s individual situation. (For example, if you can’t perform your former job because it requires you to assemble widgets while standing, while other widget-assemblers across the U.S. are often allowed to sit, UNUM may consider you able to perform your “own occupation” – since standing isn’t an essential function of the job.)
How Can a Claimant Prove What Their “Own Occupation” Is?
Proving a disability insurance claimant’s “own occupation” will depend on factors like the job title, the job description, and the job’s essential duties. Some occupations are common enough (and some disability insurance companies are big enough) to have their own classifications that are simply plugged into UNUM’s systems, while other occupations may need to be finessed a bit to reflect the claimant’s true duties and position.
What Is “Any Gainful Occupation”?
During the beginning of a UNUM disability claim, a disability insurance claimant will generally be qualified to receive long term disability benefits if they’re considered “unable to perform the material and substantial duties of your regular or own occupation” due to illness or injury. But after about two years, this definition shifts – 24 months into a claim, UNUM will consider a claimant disabled only if they’re unable to perform the material or substantial duties of any gainful occupation based upon their training, education, or experience. This is a much stricter standard, and simply being unable to perform the job you were doing when you became disabled may not be enough. UNUM can rely on a claimant’s work history, resume, and other data to create a profile in its vocational databank to see what other jobs, if any, the claimant is qualified to do even with their disability.
If you need to apply for long term disability benefits, appeal a denial of benefits, or even sue UNUM to receive the disability insurance benefits to which you’re entitled, give Dell & Schaefer a call. Our disability lawyers can provide you with a free consultation to see how we can assist with your disability claim.
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I’m extremely satisfied with the experience I have had with this firm from day one. The lawyer who has handled my case, Alex, is very efficient and attentive to all my questions and concerns. They are always aware of how my case has gone and they care about my health. I feel optimistic with them because they are very attentive during the process of my claim. I would not hesitate to recommend families and friends if in any situation they need their services. Kathleen as well has been very well and assisted me with this case. I highly appreciate everything they have done for me.
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Mr. Symonds and Sonia as well as everyone else we have worked with throughout this process have been very helpful, professional and caring to our situation. We are very thankful to have this great team on our side.
Without them my LTD company was dropping my plan with me still suffering from my accident, even with doctor’s statements I’m still disabled. The LTD company didn’t want to advance my policy to the next stage of years of pay. Dell Disability Lawyers saved my policy, and helped to enforce the LTD company’s own policy (for its policy holder, me) that I would be covered still under the LTD policy I had paid for at my previous job, when my accident occurred. These lawyers know what they are doing and can help you too. LTD companies will try to drop you when you still need coverage just because they don’t want to pay on your policy anymore. Don’t let them break contract with ya because they are trying to get out of it. Hit em with legal action to ensure the continuation of your policy you paid for. Dell Disability worked very well for me and continue to do so.
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This law firm is the best so far. MetLife denied me two times, they appealed two times for me and they won of course. So if you are on disability and want a chance at winning your case use this firm Dell disability lawyers, kind courteous understanding and they get the job done. You won’t be disappointed.