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Disabled Veteran Denied Unum Benefits, Hired Crooked Attorney

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Charleston, WVJake figures that he cannot appeal his case a second time against Unum: the insurer denied his benefits more than 20 years ago. But Jake welcomes this opportunity to tell others how Unum - and his crooked attorney - treated him.

“Even If nothing comes of this [filing an Unum complaint with LawyersandSettlements], it would be nice to have my story available for others,” says Jake. “Why wasn’t Unum fair and pay benefits that were rightly owed me? And how can they take a doctor’s word - who never saw me - over the doctors at the VA who knew me?”

After his time in the military, Jake became a cardiac perfusionist. He was a key member of a cardiac surgical team, providing life support to patients undergoing heart surgery. But an ongoing back problem that occurred during his stint with the military got so severe that he was unable to perform his job.

“I had my Unum policy with the hospital for more than seven years, and they knew about my back problem right away,” Jake explains. “It was rated on a percentage basis, but now my back problem is so severe that I am housebound.”

The VA believed Jake, and his occupational specialists, after several hours of evaluations, confirmed that he was completely disabled. But Unum didn’t. “Unum investigators came to my house and they knew I was going for bicycle rides - when I leaned on the handlebars it took the pressure off my back so I was able to pedal,” says Jake. “Apparently that was a problem.”

Another time, Jake’s Unum representative told him that he was entitled to some kind of vocational rehabilitation. “Sign me up; this was great because I wanted to write,” Jake says. “But they dismissed me and I didn’t hear anything more about this program. I think they disregarded training as some kind of writer because I wouldn’t earn enough money.”

Jake was denied disability insurance soon after Unum’s Independent Medical Examiner deemed him able to return to work. This doctor resides in Georgia, and Jake lives in Virginia. They never met. So Jake found a lawyer recommended to him and willing to take his case. Unfortunately, Jake didn’t check the lawyer’s credentials.

“I had no idea how the appeals process worked but this attorney got me an offer from Unum for $60,000,” Jake explains. “He said that I shouldn’t take it because we could win the case, if I paid him $20,000. I didn’t know the chances were so slim of winning in the Court of Appeals. My lawyer was greedy, period.”

All in, Jake paid his attorney about $60,000 and he lost the appeal. His lawyer said he could take Jake’s case to the Supreme Court.
“Looking back, it was all a joke, and the joke was on me.”
Fortunately he did receive back pay from the VA but those monies went directly to his legal fees. Jake checked into his lawyer’s credentials - after the fact.

“I did a background check and it turns out that my attorney had actually lost his license,” Jake adds. “He was a recovering crack addict but I don’t think he ever did recover because he was always calling me for more money. Please let my story be a warning: check an attorney’s background before you hire them. And if their license has ever been suspended, that should be warning enough.”

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READER COMMENTS

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on
I feel for you brother. Believe it or not they are suing me. That's a bunch of thugs running that company.

Posted by

on
Before my sister died at the age of 56 she had a stroke at age 50 and she had a ST and LTD policy. My sister did get benefits for a while, which actually put her over the monetary limit to get help from other sources. After Unum added her SS benefits and minus their benefits; that left my sister eligible for around 130.00 a month for as long as she was disabled. I have all of my sisters Unum letters and I also was able to get on her Unum website to see exactly what this company did to her(when Unum found out I was on her site, it was shut down and I no longer could copy her files)not to worry though because I was able to copy every correspondence between Unum and my sister!!! I was at my sister's home while she was crying and screaming at the representatives on the phone my sister actually told Unum that they were going to kill her by adding more stress to her. I'll try o make this short, but I would like her story to be told!! Eventually Unum sent my sister to ONE of their doctors and of course Unum found my sister NOT DISABLED and actually accused her of "faking" her disability. The state of PA was giving her disability payments and she could have received more "benefits" elsewhere through the state of PA without Unum's payments; however my sister was not in her right state of mind and she went without Unum's payments when they cut her benefits off and she never applied for other benefits she was eligible for from the state. Before my sister died I asked her about Unum's benefits and why she left them treat her like that and she stated that they would actually put her through more than what it( 130.00 a month) was worth. My sister was in the hospital once and even sometimes twice a month for over a YEAR!!! Her medical bills were adding up and then CITIFINANCIAL decided that she could make her house payments since she was deemed ABLE to work by Unum's team of Medical EXPERTS!! My sister was in the hospital and while in there she was actually trying to refinance her house! That's when we decided to file an appeal with both companies. My sister appealed Unum's decision and tried to reopen a "new occurrence" of disability since she was experiencing such pain and different symptoms then what her stroke(in 2009) had left her with, however they denied her claim because the Doctors would always write date of disability was 2009 instead of writing 2014 when she had 2 stents put in and since 2014 she was admitted to the hospital anywhere from 1 day up to 7 days each admission. My sister actually had us ( her family) thinking she was going to the hospital just to have her house payment paid by insurance!! TRY LIVING WITH THAT!! In June 2014 my sister was found dead in her backyard!!! This was 5 days after spending 7 days in the hospital, and 8 hours after going to her PCP for CHEST PAINS AGAIN!!! My sister told us all and even posted it on FB that she was going to die, and she would probably lay dead without anyone knowing she was dead!! She predicted her own death! She lay out all night deceased in the rain until her son and BOYFRIEND that lived with her noticed her laying in the backyard. I promised my sister that I would appeal every company that denied her benefits that she deserved and PAID FOR. I appealed Unum's decision and I was approved a chance to PROVE my sister was disabled. So after sending in her medical records THREE TIMES (somehow they would either never make it there, or only 1/2 made it or they were signed for but I sent them to the wrong office!! I then sent them certified and after a few months they deemed my sister disabled!!!!! WOW...I WON!! It does not take the pain of what my sister suffered mentally for 6 to 8 months away. And the 130.00 a month x a few months is nothing to me! I want them to actually be sued for the pain and mental anguish they put my sister through!! I sent CitiFinancial the short certificate and the death certificate in may 2014 of my sister's FIVE TIMES and they kept billing my sister and NEVER wrote to the Estate of, they actually sent a letter that her house was going to be foreclosed TO MY SISTER and did not even recognize her death and denied receiving the certificates and no one would communicate with me from CitiFinancial up until Unum recognized my sister as disabled all of the sudden my sister receives a letter from CitiFinancial that they had a meeting and my sister debt of 20,000.00 on her home was going to be forgiven due to a REVITILAZATION PROJECT!!!I called the number on the letter and once again I had to send the certificates before someone could talk to me. I have yet to receive a letter from CitiFinancial addressed to THE ESTATE of (Jane doe). Finally now they will talk to me, so I appealed their decision NOT to recognize a "new occurrence". My appeal was shot down, their Medical team said that my sister died from her stroke in 2009!! SHE HAD 2 BLOCKAGES IN HER HEART FROM THE 2 STENTS that were placed in 2014! When I asked where the life insurance was they told me they cancelled her life insurance in April 2014, she died MAY 11 2014 and the only way to have received that is if she had a "NEW OCCURANCE"!! These companies put my sister through so much stress hen she was dying!! I don't ant the debt forgiven, she did not apply for the forgiveness, she applied for a "new occurrence" she had to re modify her mortgage when she was dying!! And how odd they keep billing her until UNUM reverses their decision!! I think they are in co hoots together!! I want them both to pay damages to my sisters estate. I don't get any money if damages would be awarded, her sons would! I just want to knock these companies down to being honest again. When did all of this become legal? I can't believe what they put my sister through! They definitely added to her death! STRESS KILLS!!

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