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Unum Lawyer Gives Denied Policy Holder Hope

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Long Island, NYLisa collected short term disability from First Unum until her health insurance policy kicked into long-term disability benefits. Last September she checked Unum's website to find her next payment date and discovered to her horror that her claim was closed. "I called Unum and they said I was no longer disabled," says Lisa. "That was news to me and my doctor."

Lisa continues: "My injury stemmed from the birth of my daughter. My lower back vertebrae is pushed out, compressing on my nerve. I can't lift anything over 10 pounds and I have significant pain in my hips. I take medications for injuries to my neck that causes severe pain in my neck, shoulder and upper back. I had surgery scheduled for last October but I can't afford it now that Unum cut me off."

Lisa appealed her case to Unum and found out that she can no longer receive benefits because she supposedly chooses not to work. A Unum claims representative decided that she can work three to four hours a day, with breaks every 30 minutes to reposition herself—a common Unum tactic to deny claims and override a doctor's opinion and diagnosis. Lisa didn't even see an independent medical examiner from Unum.

"Now I have to see a new doctor because I lost my insurance coverage through COBRA, which was costing me $600 a month," says Lisa, crying. "I just received Medicaid but my doctor doesn't accept it, so now I must search for a new doctor and start the process all over again.

"My car has been repossessed and I have to move out of my home because I am three months behind in rent—I don't have anyone to support me except social services, which gives me $500 per month. I also have to give both my dogs up for adoption when I leave here—it kills me. I don't even know where I am going to live. My friends have moved out of state because it has become so expensive here and my family can't help either.

"This situation stinks. The government gives millions of dollars to Iraq but they can't even help their own people.

"I calculate that Unum owes me about $10,300 and that is just from September 22, 2009 through January 6, 2010. That money can really come in handy now. My daughter is now 18 months old; I can't afford day care and I don't have transportation. How can I work? My whole life has gone down the tubes because of this company denying my benefits. I just feel that my life is getting worse.

"But there is one glimmer of hope. A lawyer called this morning from LawyersandSettlements—she was really nice. She told me to fax her some paperwork and they will try to see if they can help me. And she told me it will take time—I don't know how I am going to hold on for several months.

"But she also said that Unum is very aware of her law firm and when Unum gets paperwork from that firm, Unum knows the client is serious and they will sometimes pay the arrears. She also said that another client called her yesterday and had received payment from Unum. The client didn't have to pay the lawyer anything because it didn't go to court—the letter was enough. I am hopeful that will be my case."

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