Disability Lawyers Discuss Transition of Disability Definition from Inability to Work in “Own Occupation” to “Any Occupation”

This video is of disability attorneys Gregory Dell and Stephen Jessup discussing a case Mr. Jessup won on appeal against Hartford on behalf of his client who suffered from pain, swollen joints, and cognitive dysfunction due to Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA). The man reported that his pain was under control, but his cognitive problems interfered with his ability to do his job.

His initial claim for benefits based on his inability to work in his own occupation, a Human Resources director, was approved. Just about three months before his policy changed the definition to require him to be unable to perform the duties of any occupation for which he was qualified based on experience and education, Hartford denied him benefits and we appealed.

Denying benefits just before the definition of disability changes is a tactic used by many disability insurance companies. They hope the appeal or ERISA lawsuit will be limited to evaluation of the ability to work in the claimant’s own occupation, so the insurer or the court will make the decision based only on that definition. Then, when the definition changes, the process will start over.

For our client, we based the appeal on his inability to work under both disability definitions. His doctors give their opinion that he was disabled from working under both definitions. We provided documentation of his cognitive dysfunction and how this is a common symptom for those suffering from RA.

In light of the overwhelming evidence of disability we presented, Hartford reversed its previous denial awarded our client long-term disability benefits. If you have a question about this case, or any other issue concerning disability benefits, contact one of our attorneys today for a Free Consultation.