Unum relies on independent medical exam as basis for denying long-term disability benefits (Part I)

A disability insurance claimant’s medical records and the support of a treating physician are vital to supporting a long-term disability claim. The case of Blackwell v. Unum Insurance Company of America highlights this once again. In this article, we will look at one man’s medical records and the disability insurance plan’s response to the records. There may be lessons to learn in the process.

Paul Blackwell had worked for Beverly Enterprises, Inc. as the Vice president of Quality Management when he chose to participate in his employer’s ERISA governed long-term disability income plan. His position involved extensive travel evaluating the quality management standards of over 550 Beverly facilities across the United States. Unum Insurance Company of America (Unum) issued the policy on January 1, 1999. The policy defines disability as occurring when he became “limited from performing the material and substantial duties of [his] regular occupation due to [his] sickness or injury;” and he experienced “a 20% or more loss in [his] indexed monthly earnings due to the same sickness or injury; and during the elimination period” he could not “perform any of the material and substantial duties of [his] regular occupation.”

In 2000, Blackwell began experiencing severe pain and stiffness in his joints and back. As time passed, he found the strain of long hours on the road and in the air became too much to bear. He stopped working on December 18, 2001 and applied, at the age of 52, for long-term disability benefits from his Unum policy. Unum denied the claim on July 26, 2002. Blackwell appealed the denial, but Unum upheld its decision on December 16, 2002. Blackwell’s disability attorney filed an ERISA disability lawsuit against Unum.

Here are the medical records that Blackwell’s disability attorney would encounter when trying to prove that Unum’s decision was arbitrary and capricious.

  • A May 16, 2000 visit to Dr. Mouhammad K. Sheikkha diagnosed Blackwell with “left shoulder pain and bursitis, and also acute upper respiratory tract infection.” The doctor prescribed Vioxx and recommended that Blackwell use a Z-Pak.
  • A July 27, 2000, CT scan of Blackwell’s lumbar spine showed that the 3-4 disc was showing some mild annular bulging but no focal protrusions. Mild facet hypertrophy was noticed at this level. 4-5 also showed diffuse bulging, mild ligamentum flavum hypertrophy and facet hypertrophy with overall slight canal stenosis. 5-1 also showed mild disc bulging. Again, no focal protrusion was observed.
  • A July 31, 2000 another lumbar spine MRI was performed at St. Edward Mercy Medical Center, Department of Radiology, Nuclear Medicine and Medical Imaging. The purpose of the MRI was to identify the source of Blackwell’s lower back pain. The results were comparable to the July 26 CT scan.
  • A June 6, 2001, visit to Dr. Sheikha at the Cooper Clinic resulted in the renewal of his Vioxx prescription, an additional prescription for Allegra and advised to stop smoking. Dr. Sheikha summarized his final diagnosis as follows: “1. The patient was diagnosed with chronic pain. 2. Cough related to allergic rhinitis.”
  • An October 5, 2001, visit to osteopath Dr. Daniel C. Martin, D.O., resulted in a set of nearly illegible notes, though the check box for musculoskeletal system was checked for “abnormal.”
  • A November 9, 2001, visit to Dr. Martin shows more illegible notes though it appears that he stated that Blackwell’s chief complaint would be found in his records. Musculoskeletal system was once again marked as “abnormal.”
  • A November 26, 2001 visit to rheumatologist James McKay, D.O., resulted in the diagnosis of Symmetrical polyarthralgias, weakly positive rheumatoid factor with a history of low back pain. Dr. McKay reported Blackwell’s description of his pain as well as his findings that Blackwell’s “passive range of motion was normal in cervical spine, shoulders, elbows, wrists, hips, knees, and ankles. The PIPS of each hand were reduced 50% in flexion range of motion. There were no signs of actual joint effusion, nodulosis, sclerodactyly, cutaneous vasculitis, digital ischemia, or RA like deformity.” Dr. McKay concluded that Blackwell had symmetrical polyarthralgias which went about a year back. He wasn’t sure whether this represented osteoarthritis alone, or whether an inflammatory component may have also been involved.
  • A December 12, 2001 visit to Dr. Martin appeared to diagnose Blackwell with arthritis.
  • A December 27, 2001 visit to Dr. McKay noted Blackwell’s joint pain and “weakly positive RA.” Dr. Mckay ordered a bone scan.
  • The January 2, 2002 bone scan of Blackwell’s hands and feet showed suspicious findings at L3 that suggested mild compression deformity or posttraumatic deformity. The bone scan also showed suspicious diffuse mild localization to the feet, knees, wrists, hands, and elbows suggesting some mild degenerative process was occurring.
  • A January 3, 2001 visit to podiatrist Maureen L. Crotty notes that Blackwell claimed to have difficulty trimming his toenails because of the stiffness in his back, knees and fingers caused by his arthritis. After attending to his ingrown toenails, Dr. Crotty noted that the muscle tone and strength of Blackwell’s dorsiflexors, plantarflexors, invertors and evertors were within normal limits even though they were somewhat splinted due to pain. She found no overt bony deformities.
  • A January 9, 2001 visit to Dr. Martin indicated it was a follow-up visit for Blackwell’s arthritis. Dr. Martin added rheumatoid arthritis (RA)to his diagnosis.
  • A January 21, 2001 follow-up visit to Dr. McKay confirmed the diagnosis of osteoarthritis (OA) with Blackwell’s RA being weakly positive, but not significant.
  • A February 9, 2002 visit to Dr. Martin resulted in the doctor concluding that Blackwell needed disability forms filled out for rheumatoid arthritis.
  • A March 4, 2002 visit to Dr. McKay concluded that Blackwell’s condition had not changed. He saw no synovitis and found Blackwell had a normal range of motion in all his joints.
  • A March 7, 2002 visit to Dr. Martin resulted in Dr. Martin ordering a C-reactive protein test to measure the level of inflammation in Blackwell’s body. The results came back in the normal range.
  • An April 18, 2002 visit to Dr. Martin resulted in the doctor reiterating his primary findings as OA and RA.

When Blackwell applied for disability benefits on February 6, 2002, he prepared both the Attending Physician’s Statement and the Claimant’s Statement. Dr. Martin signed the Attending Physician Statement which stated that Blackwell was diagnosed as RA positive on October 5, 2001. It pointed to the bone scan which showed mild diffuse degeneration to multiple joints. Under symptoms, Blackwell listed: “Pain & Stiffness bilateral hands. Pain in shoulders, wrists, knees, feet & back.” Blackwell indicated that his symptoms first appeared in 2001, and RA appeared in October 2001.

The Attending Physician’s Statement asked, “Has patient ever been treated for the same or similar condition?” Dr. Martin agreed that Blackwell’s osteoarthritis began in 2000. He also agreed with the list of restrictions Blackwell came up with: “Writing & typing which would aggravate symptoms. Excessive activity which irritates joints.” He also approved the following list of limitations: “Cannot lift luggage & laptop computer. Cannot fly, or drive for extended periods. Cannot sit or stand without changing position frequently. Cannot bathe or dress without assist. Cannot climb stairs.”

Unum acknowledged it had received Blackwell’s claim on February 18, 2002. After reviewing the medical records Blackwell had provided, Unum found that they did not support Blackwell’s loss of work capacity. On February 28, Unum faxed Blackwell’s health care providers requests for medical records. When these were received, Unum asked D. Scott Farley, RN to conduct an in-house clinical review. On April 8, Farley found that the restrictions and limitations seem to be excessive when compared to the findings of lab tests and examinations.

Farley then sent the file on to Dr. Laird D. Caruthers, Vice-President and Medical Director of Unum, for a full medical review. Dr. Caruthers noted that Dr. Martin’s office notes weren’t readable, and while Dr. McKay had postulated that Blackwell might have RA during Blackwell’s first visit; subsequent visits had not found evidence of an inflammatory process. He saw no evidence in the medical documentation to support Blackwell’s work capacity impairment except self-reported joint pain. He recommended an independent medical examination (IME) and a functional capacity evaluation (FCE).

Unum sent this medical file review to Dr. Martin on April 15, 2002, asking him to respond. They also asked him to send a prescription for an FCE.

Dr. Martin responded on April 23, 2002. He did not disagree with the medical file review. He updated the current restrictions and limitations to “no lifting” and “no repetitive hand movements.” He stated that his prognosis for Blackwell returning to work full-time was guarded and recommended part-time, sedentary-type work. He also revealed that he had filled out the Attending Physician’s statement with the assistance of Blackwell and had signed the form. He also agreed to set up the FCE.

Unum arranged for NovaCare/VerNova to conduct the FCE. The disability insurance plan sent a copy of Blackwell’s job description along with a description of the limitations Dr. Martin had recommended. Blackwell took the FCE on June 5, 2002. The test demonstrated that Blackwell could lift at a medium level low lifts and mid lifts. He could do light lifting at a light level. He could also walk, kneel, reach to the immediate right or left, finger, push or pull a cart weighing 40 lbs., and carry 20 lbs. frequently. He could stoop, crouch, handle, climb stairs, sit and stand on an occasional basis.

The person performing the test noted that Blackwell’s performance had failed to demonstrate his ability to continue with any activity for an extended time. He observed that the longer Blackwell walked, the more unbalanced his gait became. He saw clear evidence of fatigue. He noted that Blackwell could not sit in one position for more than 2 – 3 minutes. The FCE recommended that Blackwell be permitted occasional changes in position and regular breaks.

Unum responded to this report by asking Blackwell to go to Dr. Timothy Pettingell for an independent medical examination. He did so on July 2, 2002. Dr. Pettingell observed that Blackwell appeared to have no difficulties with filling in the intake questionnaire and other paperwork. He also noted no problems with Blackwell’s ability to unbutton his shirt or handle his belt buckle when asked to change into the examination robe. Blackwell also showed no difficulty getting up on and getting down from the examination table.

Dr. Pettingell spent 62 minutes performing the physical exam. He noted that Blackwell reported that he was doing better with his new medication, Azulfidine. He did find that Blackwell was suffering from degenerative arthritis. He also found mild symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, but no significant joint mobility issues. After considering both Blackwell’s concept of his job duties and his employer’s description, Dr. Pettingell found no evidence that Blackwell could not perform the work duties associated with his position as a vice president of quality management.

Dr. Pettingell went on to suggest that the medical record failed to adequately support even the provision of temporary total disability. He recommended that Blackwell continue seeing Dr. McKay because a rheumatologist was more qualified to evaluate Blackwell’s limitations should the question of disability status arise.

Unum sent both the IME and the FCE to Dr. Caruthers. He completed his final Medical File Review on July 22, 2002, concluding that there was zero evidence to support Blackwell’s alleged impairment. Unum sent Blackwell notice of its denial on July 26, 2002. Blackwell appealed on November 1, 2002.

Unum responded by conducting a Full Clinical Review on December 4, 2002. The clinical consultant confirmed that nothing in the record provided verifiable, demonstrable evidence that Blackwell had lost functional abilities. A second look at the record by Unum’s in-house Occupational Medicine and Forensic Medicine physician Jacob Martin drew the same conclusions as Dr. Pettingell. Unum’s Dr. Martin reached the conclusion that while Blackwell did have signs of OA and RA, none of the findings demonstrated that they currently limited his functional abilities in the work place.

In the light of these conclusions, Unum upheld its decision to deny Blackwell’s claim for long-term disability benefits. Blackwell received notice on December 16, 2002. His administrative appeals were exhausted. If he wished to pursue his rights, he would have to file a lawsuit.

It should be noted that Dr. Daniel Martin’s failure to write legible notes worked against him when Unum’s physician’s reviewed his medical record. It should also be noted that test results failed to demonstrate the level of limitations that the doctor recommended. Would these factors work in Unum’s favor when Blackwell’s disability attorney argued on his behalf? That will be discussed in Part II of this article: Court agrees with Unum’s denial of long term disability benefits to man suffering with rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.


Did you find this helpful?
Unhelpful (0)

Resources to Help You Win Disability Benefits

Disability Benefit Denial Options
Submit a Strong Unum Appeal Package

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

Learn more

Sue Unum

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

Learn more

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
(60)

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 60 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
(96)
Showing 8 of 96 Answered Questions

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 >

Q: Does UNUM periodically review Group Long Term Disability Insurance claims/payments? For example, do they verify medical eligibility every five or ten years?

Answered on October 24th 2023 by Attorney Gregory Dell
A: Great question. The answer varies on the type of claim you have. On average Unum reviews medical eligibility e... Read More >

Q: Unum is cross plan offsetting

Answered on October 15th 2023 by Attorney Alex Palamara
A: Tom, I am sorry to hear of this situation. Please contact us at 954-620-8300 so that we can learn more about t... Read More >
Helpful Videos
(861)
Showing 12 of 861 Videos
Disability Benefit Tips
(329)
Showing 8 of 329 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
(369)
Showing 8 of 369 Dell Disability Cases

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 >

After appeal filed by Attorney Jay Symonds, UNUM overturned its previous denial of long term disability benefits for Colorado Plumber

Our client, Mr. B, formerly worked as a Plumber for a fabrication and manufacturing company. In January 2016 a number of medical issues, inclu... Read More >
Disability Lawsuit Stories
(764)
Showing 8 of 764 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.