Your Disability Benefits Have Been Denied Or Terminated By Hartford. What Can You Do? The ERISA Law Center Can Help You.
Most disability benefit claims are governed by ERISA. Some disability benefit claims, those based on government plans and some church plans, are not governed by ERISA. Either way, the ERISA Law Center can help you. We regularly represent persons who have been denied both and ERISA and non-ERISA disability benefits by Hartford.
Disability benefit claims denied by Hartford often follow a common pattern. Sometimes Hartford denies disability benefits because you or your doctors did not complete and submit to Hartford forms or medical records it requested. You can often fix that problem yourself by completing the forms, seeing your doctor, and getting your doctor to do complete forms, and provide medical records.
Sometimes Hartford denies disability claims without paying any benefits or after paying only short-term disability benefits. A common Hartford practice in such denials is that Hartford only obtains a few months of your medical records and does not get records from all of your doctors. Then its in-house doctors and nurses “cherry-pick” those records, resulting in a denial of your benefits. You can sometimes correct that problem yourself by submitting all of your medical records and having one or more of your doctors provide letters explaining why you cannot work.
In most Hartford disability policies, the definition of “disabled” changes after you receive 24 months of benefits. For the first 24 months, you are entitled to benefits if you are unable to do your own occupation. After 24 months, you are entitled to benefits only if you cannot do any occupation. Hartford will often terminate disability benefits with just a few months of “own occupation” benefits to be paid. Another common pattern is that Hartford terminates benefits after paying all the “own occupation” definition of disability benefits.
Often Hartford will deny or terminate disability benefits during the “own occupation” definition of disabled not because it claims you can do your own job but because Hartford claims you can do a similar job. Most Hartford policies define “your occupation” not as what you actually do for your employer but what people doing similar jobs generally.
Most Hartford disability policies have a change of definition to the “any occupation” definition after you receive 24 months of benefits. Often Hartford terminates benefits at the end of 24 months, claiming you can do some other job. Often the jobs Hartford claims you can do are make-believe. Often the wages Hartford claims you can earn are also make-believe. But, Hartford has a report from a vocational expert – employed by Hartford who says you can perform these jobs and earn these wages.
When Hartford denies or terminates benefits it invites you to request a review and file and “appeal.” Typically, after the appeal is submitted Hartford obtains new medical or vocational reports and invites you to review those new reports and comment on those. When you only have a few months left of benefits under the own occupation standard and it denies those benefits, it forces you to do a full appeal and to comment on its new medical and vocational reviews for just a few months’ benefits – and then typically denies benefits again when the definition of disabled changes to the any occupation definition.
Hartford uses a variety of medical professionals – nurses and doctors it employs and nurses and doctors employed by others to review your records. These nurses and doctors often “cherry-pick” your medical records – picking bits and pieces out of context to support the conclusion that you are capable of working.
Sometimes Hartford will require that you attend an “independent medical examination” or a “functional capacity evaluation.” Often Hartford secretly surveils you while you are going to and from these examinations and on the days before and after these examinations – and then claim that because you can walk to your car, drive your car, and maybe fill it with gasoline, you are capable of working.
Typically, Hartford starts working up an evaluation of “any occupation” benefit claims about six months before the end of the own occupation definition of disabled. First, Hartford conducts an extensive background investigation on-line of the claimant. Often Hartford will surveil the claimant, then send an investigator to the claimant’s house to interview the claimant, showing the claimant the surveillance evidence during the interview. Hartford often also sends claimants to independent medical examinations.
Hartford’s vocational reviews – whether own occupation assessments of your own duties or any occupation assessments of whether you can perform and get paid to perform another job – are always suspect. They look good. They are formatted well. They are usually persuasive because they look good and are formatted well and because claimants don’t understand what is wrong with them. But they are often make-believe gibberish, factually untrue and not tied to reality. But, they convince judges unless you know how to show that the reports are false.
The law – whether ERISA or if not an ERISA claim, state law – gives you the right to fight back to recover your disability benefits. The ERISA Law Center can help you. We know the law. We know Hartford’s common practices. We know what evidence you need to demonstrate either to Hartford or in court if your internal appeal is not granted to recover your disability benefits.