Isaac tore his meniscus, a piece of cartilage in the knee that protects and stabilizes the joint. Although a meniscus tear is very common, it can be extremely painful and debilitating. And in some cases, a large meniscal injury is unrepairable, which appears to be Isaac’s case.
“I injured my knee in a nasty fall back in April of 2010 and filed a short-term disability claim with Unum,” says Isaac. “I collected short-term benefits for three months and during that time I had my first surgery. I had two more knee surgeries before Unum cut off my long-term disability benefits, which they paid me for just one year.”
Unum decided that Isaac could go back to work so they terminated his disability benefits without sending Isaac to their own doctor, also known as an Independent Medical Examiner. And despite the fact that two doctors deemed Isaac disabled, with x-rays and an MRI to show that he was still unable to walk very well.
During the time that Isaac was getting long-term benefits, his Unum case manager told Isaac he had to apply for Social Security benefits. As commonly happens, he was denied but is currently going through the appeals process. Isaac did receive California state disability insurance but only for a year - he hasn’t been able to work since April 2010.
“Unum didn’t tell me how I could continue my job,” says Isaac. “I was an Operations Manager at the airport and the job required me to walk a lot - my job entails about 10 hours of walking per day and I always worked 12-hour days. I can only get around using a cane and a knee brace and as you can imagine, I move pretty slowly. But Unum said I can work like this…”
Isaac, who is 42 years old and a father of two young children, appealed Unum’s denial but they stood by their decision. And Social Security told Isaac that he could find a desk job but his doctor said that he can’t sit for long periods of time. Isaac’s last check from Unum was in August of 2012 - he hasn’t had any source of income since.
“This injury has been rough for me but thankfully my parents help me financially,” he says. “I have the best parents in the world, and they support my kids too.” Isaac is divorced, partially due to his financial situation.
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Isaac is still hopeful that things will improve and Social Security will approve his disability claim. If not, his only alternative will be to live with his parents.
“I just wish that Unum would look at my doctors’ reports,” Isaac says. “I have no idea how Unum can deny me without even sending me to their doctor; even my doctor said they should have sent me to their IME. If they had looked, I would still be on LTD.”
Isaac is also hopeful that an Unum attorney can help him with a second appeal to Unum.