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ERISA Disability Archives

Look out for limitations on mental health disability benefits

No one has to tell you how difficult it can be to do your job every day when dealing with the effects of a mental illness. Unfortunately, a stigma seems to persist by people who think they need to see physical signs of an illness or disability to believe that it is "serious."

An introduction to ERISA

If you work in the private industry and have a pension plan, you have probably heard of ERISA. Despite its importance for workers and employers, many people do not become familiar with it until a less than ideal situation forces them to learn about it. Fortunately, there are resources that can be used to inform yourself before any unfortunate circumstances forces you to do so.

Your health insurance claim was denied. Now what?

No one really wants to purchase health insurance or accidental death and dismemberment coverage, whether at work or on the individual market. You buy it because it will provide the protection you need when you or a loved one need it.

Check your monthly disability benefit amount

When clients come to us for representation of a denied disability claim, we always check the amount of benefits that the insurer was paying them before the denial. I am surprised as to how often the benefit amount is incorrect.  Sometimes insurance companies will not include certain forms of compensation, such as bonuses, in the monthly benefit amount when the policy clearly requires bonuses to be included in the benefit calculation. We have helped several clients receive an increase in their monthly benefit amount.  If you think that you are being underpaid by an insurance company, this could very well be the case. 

Court Orders Hartford to Pay Disability Benefits

Our attorneys obtained a favorable ruling for a client who had been denied disability benefits by Hartford Insurance Company.  Hartford denied the claim stating that he was no longer eligible for coverage due to a gap in medical treatment around the time he first stopped working. Hartford had argued that our client had presented two separate claims for disability, instead of acknowledging one claim for disability based on multiple conditions. The Court agreed that the slight gap in treatment did not result in loss of coverage.  The Court also found that Hartford had abused its discretion by denying the claim without making an effort to seek clarification from our client's treating doctors.  The case is Lapenter v. Hartford Life & Accident Insurance Company in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana.