This video shows disability attorneys Gregory Dell and Stephen Jessup discussing a win against Hartford’s denial of disability insurance benefits to a Human Resources director who was suffering from Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA). In addition to the usual symptoms associated with arthritis of joint pain and swelling, his impaired cognitive functioning was of more concern to him. His initial claim for benefits was approved when Hartford agreed he was disabled from working in his own sedentary occupation.
A few months later, just before the disability policy changed its definition from being disabled from working in his “Own Occupation” to requiring him to be disabled from working in “Any Occupation” for which he was qualified based on his education and training, Hartford had a doctor review the medical records. The records said his pain was under control, so Hartford denied him benefits.
We find this a common practice. Disability insurance companies deny benefits shortly before the definition of disability changes. Then, they expect the appeal or ERISA lawsuit to be limited to whether or not claimants are disabled from their own occupation. Then, when the definition changes to requiring disability from working in any gainful occupation, the whole process starts over.
In this case, we based the appeal on our client being disabled from both definitions of disability. We were able to prove that his RA affected his cognitive functioning so he could not work in any occupation. Hartford fairly quickly approved the claim on appeal.
If you need assistance with a disability claim denial, contact any of our disability insurance lawyers for a Free Consultation.