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Unum Demands That Policy Holder Apply for Social Security Benefits

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Kansas City, MOAccording to at least two Unum policy holders, it would appear that the largest disability insurance provider in the US is telling its policy holders to apply for social security benefits and then cuts them off, despite the class-action lawsuit that claimed Unum schemed to deny or terminate claims of thousands of disabled Americans.

Despite the settlement that required Unum (also known formerly as Unum Group and UnumProvident) to reconsider about 200,000 claims and pay a $15 million fine, LawyersandSettlements still receives many complaints from Unum policy holders such as Judy who say they were told to apply for social security and also denied benefits, or cut off long term disability benefits because Unum won't recognize mental illness as a disability.

"I was diagnosed with depression after my husband passed away—I was a basket case and couldn't stop crying—and Unum did pay long term disability benefits, but they told me that I had to apply for social security benefits," says Judy, "so I did as I was told."

Judy was denied by Social Security, but Unum told her to appeal, which she did. "I went before a judge and was denied again," Judy explains. "The judge read the report from a social security counselor that said I could work on a copy machine—I had been a teacher for 28 years. What an insult. I didn't qualify under social security's 'mental status' because I was able to do some type of work.

"So Unum continued to pay my long term disability benefits. Then in 2007, Unum told me that I didn't have any time left on my policy—I was cut off."

Judy tried going back to work but suffered an injury that required neck and back surgery. She had to retire at the age of 53 and this time was able to collect social security benefits from the injury, and Unum also had to pay her—this time for the injury and not her depression. "But Unum told me that they would deduct my social security benefits so instead of getting $2,000 per month from Unum I get $300," says Judy, adding that she gets $1,900 per month from social security.

"Had I been teaching, I would have made more than $60,000 per year. Instead, my house went into foreclosure and I had to file for bankruptcy. My husband was an attorney—we lived in a very nice neighborhood and I couldn't afford payments on the mortgage…"

Judy figures that Unum wanted her to collect social security benefits so they could stop paying her. Last month Unum sent her a letter.

"They wanted to buy me out and offered me a settlement of $18,000," says Judy. "And they told me to fill out their 10-page questionnaire in order for me to continue getting $300 per month. If I didn't fill it out I wouldn't get that money. And my primary doctor had to fill out a section. They asked about my daily routine, what my limitations were, it went on and on. Why does Unum want to pay me this lump sum? They think that, by dangling $18,000 under my nose I will bite. Unum sucks."

In 2008, a Boston jury found that Unum defrauded the US by forcing its customers to submit false claims for disability benefits to the Social Security Administration when Unum knew that they were not eligible for government benefits. And in 2008, LawyersandSettlements reported that Unum told a policy holder to apply for Social Security Disability benefits, in an effort to get out of paying her 50 bucks a month.

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READER COMMENTS

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I developed chronic fatigue/fibromyalgia after a shoulder injury. I returned to work after the shoulder surgery and was reinjured. The employer conspired along with UNUM to claim since I could bend over and pick up pinecones I wasn't disabled but they said I was a maligerer. My doctor said I was totally and permanently disabled. I was never told what was in my file but found out when I asked to see the file when I went for the soc. sec. hearing. I have had problems with the methylation system of my liver being off which I know stems from the drugs from the shoulder injury along with heavy metal exposures. I have a test that states this! UNUM was ordered to reopen my claim along with those 200,000 others. I was on the reassessment list. I was cut off after two years on disability and they said I had to file for soc. sec. UNUM was going to send me to a lawyer of theirs who handled other CF/FM cases and won. They changed their mind when the employer told them I could pick up pinecones and there wasn't anything wrong with my back! In 2006 they sent out a letter notifiying those on the reassessment list. I didn't receive the letter maybe because I had moved, but I left a forwarding address with the post office. They said they wouldn't reopen my claim when I contacted them because I didn't respond in 2006. I gave them a report showing that I had high fibrin levels, meaning I had high amounts of inflammation in my body. I also was showing crystals from the liver and I had a report that showed my neurotransmitters were low leading to depression and anxiety. My liver function is still off. I have struggled to get rid of the metals and return my immune system to a normal function. I also was diagnosed with leaky gut early on which I believe I am still dealing with which no doubt came from the drugs and metals. They tried to blame the leaky gut on gluten intolerance but I was intolerant to many things I was eating. Doctors know that n-saids and stress can bring on the leaky gut as can metal exposures! I have spent a fortune trying to get well and am still dealing with the autoimmune conditions of chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia, poor methylation by the liver, depression and anxiety. By the way I also have a test that showed mitochondria damage which is caused by oxidative stress brought on no doubt from trauma, stress, drugs and metals. All of this was not acknowledged but should have been when I asked to be reassessed.

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