A case heard recently before the U.S. District Court in the District of Massachusetts highlights the fact that a long-term disability plan administrator can choose to deny a claim even though the person making the claim may not be able to find employment. The plan administrator does not claim to offer unemployment benefits, so if the long-term disability plan finds that the claimant can work, the plan may refuse to extend benefits.

This is what happened to Andrew Gross, an employee of Federal Express Corporation (FedEx) until he suffered a heart attack in October 2003. He had been a full-time checker/sorter since 1989. In order to fulfill the duties of his job, he had to be able to lift up to 75 lbs. When his doctor checked him out of the hospital, it was with clear instructions to lift no more than 25 lbs. His doctor also ordered a leave from work.

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