89% Approval Rate in Tucson
According to data from the SSA only 30% of claimants are approved by the SSA. Of those denied at the initial level only 40% obtain benefits after a hearing when representing themselves and 63% obtain benefits when assisted by a lawyer. By 11-01-2007 I represented 240 claimants before the SSA in Tucson. The approval rate of the entire group was 89%. ( see table) Appeals were taken on behalf of 20 of the 27 claimants denied. The results of the appeals are still pending. I expect at least 60% success in this group resulting in further improvement in the approval rate of the entire group.
|Back injury and disc disease||66||7||7||74||89|
|Fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue||23||1||1||24||96|
|Neurological conditions including seizures sight and hearing||19||4||2||23||83|
|Mental, Depression Bipolar cancer||35||6||3||42||83|
|Heart diabetes asthma Crohn bladder cancer obesity||44||6||4||53||83|
|Foot hand hip knee neck & shoulder||22||3||3||24||92|
|Total as of 11-1-2007||213||27||20||240||89|
LONG TERM DISABILITY (LTD) ,ERISA TUCSON ARIZONA
In addition to being a lawyer I am a surgeon with almost thirty years of medical experience. I served as Clinical Associate Professor in Surgery, Assistant Editor, Transplantation Proceedings and President of the New York Transplantation Society. As a associate professor of surgery I have authored 3 book chapters three patents and 106 research papers published in peer reviewed medical journals. Because of my medical and research background, I believe I am in the best position to study and present your disability case in the best light. I obtain all the medical records in your case and perform an independent medical research. I analyze your case. I often meet with your doctors to have the best information available. I then present an analysis of your case to the judge arguing not only the legal merits of your case but also present your medical file in its best light. Over the last 15 year I successfully represented clients who were denied Long Term Disabiliy ( LTD ) benefits by Cigna, Metropolitan Life Insurance (MetLife) ,The Hartford, The Life Insurance Company of North America (LINA) Unum, Aetna Lincoln National Life Insurance Company Sedgwick CMS and the Arizona State Retirement System (ASRS)
WHY DO I NEED A LAWYER WHO SPECIALIZES IN LONG TERM DISABILITY (LTD) ERISA LAW
Long Term Disability ( LTD) Disability insurance policies are very specific as to the provisions that need to be satisfied in order to obligate the insurer to pay you benefits. Group policies are designed to limit coverage and the amount of benefits payable. This is done in many ways, including limited definitions of disability, offsets against benefits, as well as significant limitations and exclusions in the policy. Generally, group policies are subject to the ERISA regulations. The Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) is the federal law that regulates the establishment, operation, and funding of most non-governmental employee benefit plans, including long-term disability plans. ERISA was adopted to protect the benefits of plan participants and beneficiaries. Unfortunately, due to unartful drafting by Congress, the courts have often defeated the purpose of the act and have provided protections to insurance companies at the expense of participants and beneficiaries. ERISA is now used by insurance companies as a sword in an attempt to deprive participants and beneficiaries of meaningful judicial review.
WHAT IF I APPEAL THE DENIAL OF THE LONG TERM DISABILITY DECISION ON MY OWN
The Long Term Disability ( LTD) plan must provide you with 180 days to appeal their denial. If you fail to successfully appeal the decision you have the right to take your case to the Federal Court. Under ERISA, the Court will not allow you to introduce new evidence. The Court will not hear testimonies. You have the burden to prove that the determination by the LTD plan was the result of “abuse of discretion” and it is “arbitrary and capricious.” This is a difficult standard to meet. It is crucial that an attorney experienced in Long Term Disability ( LTD), ERISA law will file the administrative appeal. This way even if the LTD plan denies your claim you have certainty that all the evidence needed to support your claim was provided and thus the Court can fully asses your arguments. Remember that your long-term disability claim case manager is not your friend, your advocate, or your confidant. Don’t be fooled. No matter how empathetic, friendly, or helpful your case manager appears to be, your case manager is your adversary. What you say, can and will be used against you, not only in your claim, but also in any legal proceeding in the future.
YOUR LONG TERM DISABILITY DENIAL ,WHAT WE DO :
1. Demand Documents from the Insurance Company. We write the insurer demanding a copy of: the plan; the policy; the SPD; the claim file; all documents relied on by the insurer in denying the claim; any internal guidelines used by the insurer; the reports of all medical and vocational reviewers; audio or videotapes of the claimant; and notes of any telephone conversations.
READ how we appeal your Long Term Disability ( LTD) case
MY DOCTOR SAID I AM DISABLED
The “treating physician rule” was originally borrowed from Social Security law, as used in Social Security disability cases. The rule is based on the premise that the “treating physician” is in a better and more informed position to render opinions and thus the Court must give these opinions controlling weight. Unfortunately, the US Supreme Court on May 27, 2003, in Black & Decker Disability Plan v. Nord, held that “ERISA does not require plan administrators to accord special deference to the opinions of treating physicians,” thereby effectively ending the use of the treating physician rule in ERISA-governed claims. ( See also Social Security and Long Term Disability ( LTD) ERISA)
I WAS DENIED LTD BUT DETERMINED DISABLED BY THE SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION
Prior to the Supreme Court’s decision Black & Decker Disability Plan v. Nord, 538 U.S. 822, 123 S.Ct. 1965, 155 L.Ed.2d 1034 (2003), the Ninth Circuit applied the treating physician rule in ERISA disability cases. See Regula v. Delta Family-Care Disability Survivorship Plan, 266 F.3d 1130 (9th Cir.2001), vacated, 539 U.S. 901, 123 S.Ct. 2267, 156 L.Ed.2d 109 (2003). Under this rule, the opinions of a claimant’s treating physician are given special deference and may be disregarded only for clear and convincing reasons based on substantial evidence in the record. (SeeRegula, 266 F.3d at 1140). In Nord, the Supreme Court rejected this rule, holding that ERISA and the Secretary of Labor’s regulations implementing the statute do not command plan administrators to credit the opinions of treating physicians over other evidence relevant to the claimant’s medical condition. Nord 538 U.S. at 825, Following the rejection of the treating physician rule in ERISA cases, plan administrators almost uniformly ignore the favorable decision by the SSA when denying applications for disability benefits under ERISA. social security and long term disability( read full article )
I SUFFER FROM FIBROMYALGIA OR CHRONIC FATIGUE SYNDROME BUT DENIED LTD BENEFITS
Fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) is a common and distressful condition with multiple facets. FMS patients can be subclassified into five groups based on their clinical presentations: • Predominant pain and fatigue; • Predominant anxiety, stress, and depression; • Predominant multiple sites of pain complaints and tender points (TP); • Predominant numbness and swollen feeling; • Associated features, that is, irritable bowel syndrome and headaches Fatigue is the hallmark of the chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS); fatigue must be new, persistent, or relapsing and associated with a 50% reduction in a patient’s premorbid activity for at least 6 months. In the mid-1980s, reports erroneously linked CFS to Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), and CFS continues to be controversial. Fibromyalgia is a similar disorder of widespread musculoskeletal pain and fatigue with other symptoms, such as poor sleep. CFS and fibromyalgia are overlapping disorders; about 75% of patients with CFS also meet the criteria for fibromyalgia, and vice versa. The onset of CFS is often acute after an infectious illness, typically viral, whereas the onset is often gradual with fibromyalgia. ( READ MORE) FIBROMYALGIA and Long Term Disability ( LTD)
Typical reasons for denial of Long Term Disability ( LTD)
The clients I most often see are clients who were approved for benefits by the insurance company but shortly thereafter the plan terminates their benefits. The most common arguments raised by the plan are: • * The Claimant’s medical condition has improved • * The Claimant is not receiving adequate medical care • * Surveillance by a private investigator found that Claimant is not disabled The Claimant’s Medical Condition Has improved READ MORE Typical reasons for denial of Long Term Disability ( LTD)
Representation, Arizona Retirement System Long Term Disability Income Plan
There are three primary reasons why your claim may be denied:
1. You misunderstand the policy language.
2. You are unable to overcome the “hired gun” experts hired by the insurance company to defeat your claim.