Your Disability Benefits Have Been Denied Or Terminated By Reliance Standard. 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 Reliance Standard.
Disability benefit claims denied by Reliance Standard often follow a common pattern. Sometimes Reliance Standard denies disability benefits because you or your doctors did not complete and submit to Reliance Standard 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 Reliance Standard denies disability claims without paying any benefits or after paying only short-term disability benefits. A common Reliance Standard practice in such denials is that Reliance Standard 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 Reliance Standard 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. Reliance Standard will often terminate disability benefits with just a few months of “own occupation” benefits to be paid. Another common pattern is that Reliance Standard terminates benefits after paying all the “own occupation” definition of disability benefits.
Often Reliance Standard 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 Reliance Standard claims you can do a similar job. Most Reliance Standard policies define “your occupation” not as what you actually do for your employer but what people doing similar jobs generally.
Most Reliance Standard disability policies have a change of definition to the “any occupation” definition after you receive 24 months of benefits. Often Reliance Standard terminates benefits at the end of 24 months, claiming you can do some other job. Often the jobs Reliance Standard claims you can do are make-believe. Often the wages Reliance Standard claims you can earn are also make-believe. But, Reliance Standard has a report from a vocational expert – employed by Reliance Standard who says you can perform these jobs and earn these wages.
When Reliance Standard denies or terminates benefits it invites you to request a review and file and “appeal.” Typically, after the appeal is submitted Reliance Standard 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.
Reliance Standard 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 Reliance Standard will require that you attend an “independent medical examination” or a “functional capacity evaluation.” Often Reliance Standard 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.
Reliance Standard often takes extreme positions in claims: denying benefits, denying appeals, often based on in-house medical and vocational personnel, and often inconsistent with its own claims practices. Reliance Standard has a record of not deciding appeals in a timely manner. Reliance Standard will invoke technical defenses to claims by misreading policy terms in order to deny claims: in one case it denied benefits to a disability claimant who continued to work until Jun 7, 2016, because he had been notified on March 21, 2016, that due to a reduction in force he would later be terminated – arguing that because he had been given a notice of termination and could have stopped working, he was no longer eligible for benefits. (Reliance Standard lost.) Reliance often cherry-picks evidence and argues that claimants are lying about subjective symptoms such as pain and often reject any claims that pain can be disabling. Reliance Standard was victimized by Spyros Panos – a medical doctor whose license was revoked for fraud and who then used another doctor’s name to write medical reviews for insurance companies, including Reliance Standard which it relied upon to deny claims. In one case only after the claimant filed suit did Reliance Standard disclose that the doctor it relied upon was the unlicensed Spyros Panos, but it did not reinstate benefits.
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 Reliance Standard’s common practices. We know what evidence you need to demonstrate either to Reliance Standard or in court if your internal appeal is not granted to recover your disability benefits.