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Unum Forcing Policy Holder to Take Early Social Security

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San Diego, CAUnum uses a number of creative methods to deny long-term disability policies and practice bad faith insurance. Case in point: Carolyn's disability policy stated that she would be covered by Unum until she reached the age of 67. But when Carolyn phoned Unum and asked for a copy of her policy, the insurer decided to cut off her policy two years earlier, banking on the fact that Carolyn didn't have her policy as proof.

"I first called my former employer, the YMCA, for a copy of my LTD Unum policy in 1997," says Carolyn. "They no longer use Unum because they had so many problems, and now they have another insurer and no longer keep the paperwork. So that was a dead end. I wasn't the only one who had a hard time getting disability and having to deal with harsh examinations by their independent medical examiners, so I believe this is one reason why the YMCA changed insurers.

"They gave me such a hard time in the beginning, they wore me down—another stall tactic on their part and another bad faith practice"
"I called Unum three weeks ago and asked again for a copy of their policy during the time that I was employed with the YMCA. Still I haven't received anything, but I called this morning and was told by another representative that a letter was sent yesterday—a copy of their contract for that time. The 1997 contracts I researched on the internet and through other sources state that if you are disabled before the age of 62, you qualify to continue receiving payments until age 67.

"It is unfortunate that I cannot find my policy but I do remember reading somewhere that it said coverage until the age of 67. Now Unum says they are cutting me off one day before my birthday, on May 23.

"I have been on LTD since April 1997. I had traumatic stress syndrome caused by my job and fibromyalgia, and I am a cancer patient and I have interstitial cystitis—inflammation of the bladder wall—which causes me to urinate constantly. For these reasons I am unable to work.

"Unum also tried to cut me off five or six years ago. They harassed me, saying they needed more documentation on my condition. In the beginning they sent me to their independent med examiners and I was harassed by two of their doctors. It was a total pressure technique: I felt they were pushing me against the wall and I was in a very delicate condition at that time, which made my problem worse. The first doctor I saw told me I was making everything up in the beginning, but the second doctor realized that I had a legitimate claim—I was having an extreme panic attack at that point.

"Unum sent me a letter in February 2010 saying the following: 'You are eligible for maximum benefits, as long as you remain disabled as defined by the policy. Our records indicate that you will reach maximum benefit period on May 23, 2010, and we wanted you to be aware that your benefits will end as of that date.'

"Fortunately, my daughter is an attorney and she is going to help me as soon as I get the copy of my policy from Unum. My daughter says I need to have the contract at the time I left the YMCA; they said they would try to obtain it but I doubt they will find it. I kept pressing them because I need this income to support myself. There is a possibility that another employee has the same contract, so there is a chance…

"In my opinion, this letter from Unum is pushing me to apply for social security disability, but I don't want to do that because I believe there is a waiting period of nine months. Basically, Unum is forcing me to take social security benefits now instead of letting me wait for my full benefit. If I were to wait until I was 67 to apply for social security, I would collect full benefits. So Unum is cheating me from both sides.

"They gave me such a hard time in the beginning, they wore me down—another stall tactic on their part and another bad faith practice. I sure don't want this to happen to anybody else and I will do all I can to get my benefits that are rightfully mine, for as long as possible, and that means for the next two years. I'm going to fight this!"

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READER COMMENTS

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My story is so familiar. I ,too, worked for the YMCA and I was pressured so much I developed panic attacks and traumatic stress sydrome from my job pressure.. I developed Intersitial cytitis with frequent trips to bathroom and have Fibromalgia. They too would not give me a copy of my original contract but "Just" told me that it said I was covered until age 65. If I was to fight this I needed an attorney that is allowed to work in the state of Maine. My daughter is also an attorney in Las Vegas and California. She said since there is no previous Unum contract available she could not press forward with this issue. They did the same to me and had me take Disiablilty and collect my Social Security earlier than had planned. I was unable to work with the conditions I had then and I develped cancer right after. My job would not make adjustments to my conditions before age 62 and forced me out. I will be 67 this May and feel that I should have received Unum payments for the two years they cut me off at age 65. I also was pressured by their "doctors" to points of emotional torture.

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