It is certainly no surprise that insurers routinely play hard ball with disability applicants and parties already receiving disability benefits. Candidly, legions of individuals and families can readily attest from painful personal experience to insurance tactics engaged in to delay, deny or terminate claims and appeals. Insurers often allege things like the following to prevail in disability claims:
- Policyholder’s failure to establish a qualifying disability condition
- Defect in paperwork/application materials
- Problem with supporting medical records (e.g., lack of detail, suspect conclusions, missing information)
- Claimant’s activities alleged to be inconsistent with a disabling condition
Today’s post spotlights an additional argument sometimes made by insurers to defeat disability claims. Namely, that is the contention that an individual is not disabled because he or she can engage in “sedentary” work.
Sedentary jobs and long-term disability claims
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Dictionary of Occupational Titles spotlights sedentary work, offering up a definition applicable to workers and employment law.
Insurers frequently invoke it. Their focus in doing so is to underscore what they contend are relatively minor challenges posed for sedentary workers in terms of physical exertion.
The alleged bottom line: You might be unable to do a specific type of job, but you can likely engage in sedentary work. Ergo, you are not disabled.
That is often a faulty and even disingenuous argument. Many claimants can of course engage at some level with minimally challenging physical demands, but their disability owes to something other than or in conjunction with a physical limitation.
An authoritative legal source on long-term disability and sedentary jobs makes the following valid point. It notes that the DDOL’s above-cited definition “only considers the physical requirements of a job, although most jobs also include intellectual and cognitive requirements.”
An experienced disability law legal team can speak further to that important point.