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Another Unum Run-around

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Starkville, MSBarbara worked in a factory, doing a repetitive job year after year. Eventually she developed carpal tunnel syndrome to the point where she couldn't work any longer. She collected workers' compensation checks and then her long term disability benefits with Unum (formerly Unumprovident) were supposed to kick in. That was in 2003 and Barbara is still fighting the insurer for what is rightfully hers.

Carpal Tunnel"Surgery helped for a while but my hands and arms swelled up again so I was scheduled for another surgery," says Barbara. "Then my appendix burst so that set me back and I had to reschedule." During this time, Barbara was receiving regular checks from workers' comp; apparently she didn't qualify for short term disability from Unum, even though it was 100 percent an occupational work injury.

"When Unum sent the letter telling me I didn't qualify for short term disability, I talked to HR at work and they told me to call Unum back," says Barbara. "But Unum told me to call HR. The factory laid me off with a work-related injury so I had to get an attorney and finally got workers' compensation but I had to wait several weeks. I was supposed to collect for about two years (my last check was December 28th, 2006). Workers' compensation found me a light-duty job in between so it really lasted more than two years.

On December 10, 2004 I had surgery on my right hand then another surgery in March, 2005. I never did go back to work. The factory said I was a high risk and couldn't hire me back--there was no work for me. I sent all my workers' compensation paperwork into Unum and they finally started paying my long term benefits. My first check that I got from Unum was for $3,000 but they took out partial social security so I really wound up with about $2000. That was in 2005.

After that I got $106.98 per month from Unum because I was also getting workers' comp: $292.00 per week. When Worker's comp ended in December 2006, Unum paid me maximum benefits of just over $1000 per month, for one year. But the benefits dropped back to $106.98, starting in March, 2008. It dropped because I just started drawing social security benefits from the government. Then Unum sent me a letter saying I had been overpaid and they cut me off as of July of this year.

I just received a letter from Unum saying that I owe them $15,000!

I can't understand why. And they say if I don't pay it they will start legal action against me. I have every bit of paperwork and I didn't even receive that amount of money from Unum! They said that I have to pay back my son's social security money. Unum added up all my family's social security and now want me to pay that back as well! I don't have any money; I told them by bank account is empty. At this point I don't know what to do because they are trying to rip me off and I don't know which way to turn."

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