The disability denial attorneys at Marc Whitehead & Associates represent Hartford LTD denial claims at the appeal and lawsuit stages of disability claims. We recently represented a Dentist from Texas in her appeal of Hartford’s decision to deny her claim for long term disability (LTD) benefits.
The Hartford Financial Services was founded in 1810 and has grown to become one of the largest insurance companies in the United States and is a leading carrier of short term and long-term disability insurance. In today’s insurance market, The Hartford is number one in fully insured disability sales and the second largest group life and disability insurer. According to The Hartford’s website, the company took in $19 billion in revenues in 2019.
The Hartford has a disability claims process that uses delay and denial in an effort to discourage policyholders from pursuing the benefits they deserve and have paid for.
The Hartford denied Our Client’s Claim for Long Term Disability (LTD) Benefits
Our client had become disabled and unable to work due to severe back and spinal issues, lumbar spondylolisthesis, and a complete shoulder replacement. Despite these debilitating injuries, The Hartford denied her disability claim.
The Hartford claimed that there was not enough medical evidence to justify disability. We examined her case carefully and quickly determined there was no real justification for a denial of benefits. For some reason, The Hartford failed to take into account the substantial and ongoing medical limitations of our client’s physical impairments, including the severe impairments caused by our client’s necessary medications which significantly reduced her problem solving skills – a skill crucial to a person working in dentistry or any other medical field.
Certainly, our client could not perform the Substantial Duties of her own occupation.
The Hartford had relied on the opinions of a paid consultant’s review regarding our client’s physical abilities without adequate consideration of her non-exertional limitations. Their medical reviewers incorrectly assessed our client’s ability to perform a highly skilled light occupation, pointing to her physician’s notation of the ability to occasionally lift 20 pounds, even though her medical records indicate that she still experiences pain after her shoulder replacement and lumbar limitations. By not examining our client’s full client medical record file, Hartford did not see our client’s disability in full. They merely cherry picked the medical documentation that they and the paid consultant felt disproved disability.
Hartford LTD Denial Appealed by Marc Whitehead & Associates
The Hartford’s short term and long term group disability benefits policies are governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, aka ERISA, a federal law that protects most insurance and retirement policyholders from theft and fraud. Under ERISA, policyholders have the right to appeal a decision to deny disability benefits by The Hartford or other insurers.
We were determined to prove that our client’s denial of ongoing long term disability benefits was incorrect. We had to demonstrate how the Hartford’s review and vocational analysis failed to take into account the significant functional limitations of our client’s physical and cognitive impairments and how these severely impair her ability to perform the duties of a dentist. By exhaustively researching all our client’s medical documentation we were able to create a substantial argument against The Hartford’s LTD denial of our client’s claim for benefits.
We began our appeal by going into great detail about the disabilities our client faced every day and how these disabilities keep her from being able to continue her dental career. We submitted medical records that proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that our client suffers from multiple physical problems that prevent her from maintaining the positional requirements of a dentist, specifically bending, stooping, crouching and constant use of her upper bilateral extremities including her shoulders, arms and hands. Due to these limitations, there would be no possibility of our client being able to perform her own occupation or any of the other similar skilled positions offered by The Hartford.
Reversal of Hartford LTD Denial Aided by Social Security Disability Decision
In addition, we also pointed out that due to her approval for Social Security Administration disability benefits, Hartford cannot claim, with enough evidence, that our client was not disabled.
Before Hartford denied our client’s LTD benefits, the SSA had already agreed that our client is disabled from any occupation at any level and granted her Social Security disability benefits.
The Social Security Act’s standards for qualifying for disability benefits are strict. Rather than require that a claimant be unable to perform the material duties of his or her own occupation, they require that a claimant for disability benefits be unable to perform the material duties of any occupation for which he is reasonably suited.
This means literally any occupation existing in significant numbers in the national economy and within the claimant’s functional capacity. In our client’s case, this Social Security disability award proved that our client was incapable of any work within her field of education.
The Hartford was aware of this, but denied our client’s LTD benefits by stating that she can perform the duties of light sedentary occupation.
Attorneys for Hartford Disability Claims
By addressing each and every single medical issue that our client we were able to show that our client was entitled to disability benefits. After our appeal, The Hartford had a change of mind and decided to reverse their earlier decision to deny our client her LTD benefits.
If your claim for disability benefits has been turned down by The Hartford or another insurance company, don’t risk losing your benefits — call Marc Whitehead & Associates to schedule a free consultation to discuss the details in your case and how we can help you get the disability benefits you need and deserve.