But it was short-lived and she was cut off again. "After about two more years Unum again told me that they were no longer going to continue my disability payments and decided they were going to 'buy me out' with a lump sum payment," says Leigh. "I don't remember the exact amount but it didn't last long.
"It gets to a point where they just don't want to pay you anymore so they offer to buy you out," says Leigh, "and they told me that I didn't have a choice. At this time I was in the process of getting social security disability and the lawyer I was talking to at the time explained that if I got social security benefits I would have to pay some of it to Unum. He advised me to close my case so Unum wouldn't have access to my social security benefits. I took his advice.
This is what happened: In 1989 I was working as a teacher when I was involved in a motorcycle accident with my fiancé. A man in a pickup truck rolled through a stop sign, right into our path. My fiancé was killed instantly, 12 days before our wedding.
I had a compound fracture of my right femur, a break of my tibia and fibula on the right leg, and a shattered area just below my knee. My knee was displaced and I have donor bone at the shattered site. I also had a broken pelvis and a huge laceration in my left leg." And of course, Leigh had more than physical problems to deal with. " I was a wreck and haven't been able to work full time since the accident."
Leigh was sent to numerous "independent" medical examiners. "During one IME (independent medical examination), this doctor gave me a comprehensive evaluation to see what my disabilities were," says Leigh." I had to walk up and down stairs and put shapes into things. He said I was still disabled but 'de-conditioned' which meant that I had not done anything in so long I was losing muscle function. He suggested I go to occupational therapy but they didn't follow up…
"My issue is that 19 years later, I am still unable to consistently work full time (and probably no longer part-time at any meaningful job). I was making just under $1200 when I first received my long term disability benefits. I had a job I was doing from home (medical transcription) and got benefits through that job, but I could no longer perform that work either. My benefits then were a little over $800, if I remember correctly. Now, I get social security benefits that total $725--after Medicare.
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I now have fibromyalgia and plenty of osteoarthritis. I am still having new complications of my injuries, such as lymphedema in my legs. My Unum life insurance should never have been cut off. If I continue to be disabled and cannot work, I am entitled to get long term disability with Unum and if necessary, for the rest of my life. After all, social security approved me immediately. I calculate that Unum owes me $300 per month for the past 15 years, plus interest. As a disabled person, I still want to fight their decision."