"I first decided to apply for social security disability and it was approved without an appeal, "says Carolyn. But Unum was another story. "When they denied my claim I just didn't have the strength to file an appeal—I was having a severe case of vertigo and my condition was getting worse.
"Time went on and one day I got a letter from Unum saying they were reviewing some of their denials and they asked for more information. I sent whatever I could find and they wrote back, saying they reviewed the initial denial and upheld it.
They said I was not eligible because my medical records didn't document a worsening of my condition; in fact Unum said my condition was improving. I wrote a letter back, stating that I turned in my resignation at work because my hearing loss was a real problem and I couldn't see very well—I couldn't even drive to work.
How could I work? I was a program manager with Child Support Enforcement and when you can't hear, you are in big trouble. When people call or go to court and I can't hear them, that isn't fair for anyone. I worked through some of this but it got too bad. The director of the agency understood that I couldn't continue. So why couldn't UnumProvident?
I called them back. My claim representative said she was in receipt of my letter and "no additional review of the claim would be made." The Unum rep asked why I didn't file sooner, but when you are fighting for your life you don't feel like fighting an insurance company. Then time just ran out.
I didn't hear about or think about Unum until 2006: I read an article in the local paper about Unumprovident and how social security wouldn't be around for much longer and that we need to buy disability insurance from Unum. I believe the insurance company was using a scare technique with their new campaign because in 2004, only 37 out of 100 initial applications for long term disability were approved--one should look very closely at private insurance.
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And my counterparts at work were surprised that I was treated this way because I used to let Unum come into some of my staff meetings: I wouldn't welcome them now.
My husband and I retire to Florida in the winter and when we came home last May, my neighbor told me that Unum was doing another review of denied policies and I should apply again. Then my husband went online and found your website and we filled out the complaint form against Unumprovident, otherwise I wouldn't have known about the lawsuit against it. I paid a lot of money to Unum over the years and it isn't fair."