Fresno, California – September, 2015 – ERISA Law Group, LLP, a California-based law firm representing disability claimants throughout the United States, has uncovered a practice of unlawfully reducing disability benefits for California claimants.
California law provides that employees cannot be held financially responsible, either directly or indirectly, for paying the cost of their own worker’s compensation benefits; it is solely the responsibility of employers. Nonetheless, Liberty Mutual, MetLife and Standard Insurance Companies all have a practice of improperly “shifting” the cost of worker’s compensation to employees who are also entitled to long term disability benefits.
Here’s how the unlawful practice works: an employee works for a company which offers long term disability coverage through Liberty, MetLife or Standard. The employee pays all or part of the premium payments for his or her disability coverage. The disability policy permits the disability carrier to deduct for worker’s compensation benefits payable to the employee for lost wages. The employee, who also has a worker’s compensation claim, makes a long-term disability claim and receives benefits. But the insurance carrier then deducts all of the wage portion of the worker’s compensation benefits, which has the effect of making the employee/claimant responsible for paying some or all of the cost of a benefit (worker’s compensation) which under the law is not his/her responsibility.
When confronted with this illegality, most carriers reimburse claimants for the improper off-set which they have taken. Nevertheless, Liberty, MetLife and Standard continue to assert their right to this deduction – waiting to be caught or, if not, eager to accept a financial advantage to which they are not entitled.
In September, 2015, ERISA Law Group will file a class action lawsuit against Standard Insurance Company for this unlawful practice. According to Robert Rosati, lead litigation lawyer for the Group, “we will seek class action status in order to protect not only our client but others who are being forced to bear the cost of their worker’s compensation insurance. This practice is clearly illegal and must be stopped. Our lawsuit aims to do just that.”