"Apparently I signed a contract with Unum about not getting long term disability benefits if I collected social security," says Cindy, "but I don't remember because I was so sick at the time; whatever I signed was under duress."
Cindy says that even getting short term disability benefits (STD) from Unum was very difficult. "In 2000 I fell and broke my back and started getting terrible migraines," she says. "By February 2004 I couldn't work anymore and I first left my job on sick leave. Then I applied for Unum's STD benefits and social security benefits around the same time. I had to fight for my Unum claim but eventually they paid. But I didn't get social security benefits until October, 2006.
Before I received long term disability benefits from Unum, they forced me to go to a specialist in Philadelphia to prove that I had psychomotor problems because of my migraines and dizzy spells. Sometimes I have trouble walking and of course I can't drive. Anyway, after that appointment Unum Provident agreed to pay my long term disability benefits.
Now Unum is wanting me to pay back $55,000 but I haven't received even near that amount from social security! I received just over $12,000 which I used to relocate to Florida from Pennsylvania to take care of my dying mother. It was rough. And all that stress fed into my sickness. Unum treated me so badly, they were horrible, sending me to this doctor, making me go to that doctor. They even demanded progress reports from my psychiatrist but that is a breach of privacy; I told them they could have the times of my appointments but they weren't entitled to personal information.
In July 2007 I got a letter from Unum stating in my contract that I had agreed to pay back all my disability income I had received from them out of my social security award. They were going to use my check as payment towards whatever they calculated that I owed. At that time my payments were $1,435 per month, barely enough to live on.
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Now I am living on $935 per month from social security (my rent is $850, thank God I have a roommate because every month the food seems to run out one day before rent day). The last I heard from Unum is that they are keeping my benefits; in other words, from not paying me, they are getting paid over $1,400 per month while I get nothing."