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Unum Plays Doctor, Badly

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Fishers, INElaine suffered a shoulder injury on the job and she collected compensation from Unum Provident insurance company for two years, during which time they did a 'home visit'. "The Unum representative reported that my house was well-kept, that I got up quickly from a sitting position, and there was no evidence of disability," says Elaine, which was contrary to what her orthopedic surgeon and two other doctors wrote to Unum.

Shoulder TherapyElaine's shoulder injury was initially covered under workers' compensation but it took a while for therapy and the injury wound up causing frozen shoulder and subsequent surgery. "I had to take several months off work before the pain subsided, and I couldn't even do sedentary light duty," says Elaine. "Pain pills didn't help and I couldn't sleep. I collected long term benefits from Unum but I had to put up a fight.

"I went back to work for about 10 months but it got worse, this time in my neck and back," says Elaine. "I had a weight limit restriction of 5 lbs but my supervisor at work wouldn't let me lift anything--I inspected plastic molding on a conveyer built that required lifting. They told me that they couldn't accommodate me so I no longer had a job.

Then Unum threatened to cut me off even though my doctors said I was disabled. Later I was diagnosed with chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia—my doctor thought it was due to the shoulder injury but Unum didn't see it that way. (I also learned that in Canada, insurance policies recognize chronic fatigue and Canadians are given compensation until they collect a pension, but they are not enforcing it here in the US.)

Even if I made a claim for chronic fatigue and fibromylagia and didn't claim my shoulder injury, they wouldn't recognize the illness. I also had radiculopathy of the neck—meaning you lose the curvature of your neck—but Unum didn't recognize that either. Unum just ignored my doctors.

After 2 years, Unum gave me a list of jobs I could do, according to them. They included parking lot attendant, ticket taker, and any kind of general-type work that I became disabled from! My orthopedic surgeon said if they can find a job where I can just use my fingers and hands, then I could return to work. He wrote to Unum and said in his opinion, I was permanently disabled. Still Unum refused to accept his diagnosis.

I wrote several letters to Unum, which were all ignored, and they were supposed to send a letter to everyone saying they would review claims, but I didn't receive anything. I did find out that I was on their reassessment list—I called and asked. My name was up for review but they took my name off and of course I didn't get an explanation.

I applied to Social security and they recognized that I am disabled; I am currently collecting social security benefits. Because social security acted right away, it shows how corrupt Unum is.

I became disabled in 1994 but did not collect social security until 2003. During that entire time I collected from Unum for only two years. If it wasn't for my husband supporting me, I would be living on the street."



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