Long Term Disability Benefits Denied by The Standard: Our Expertise Helps Two Disabled Clients

ERISA is The Employee Retirement Income Security Act.Standard Insurance Company, also known as “The Standard”, is a private disability insurance company that underwrites policies for short term and long-term disability (“LTD”) benefits. The Standard is based out of Portland, Oregon, but issues policies to employee benefit plans across the country.

Recently, Keller & Keller has represented clients against The Standard in two unique circumstances described below. [Client names and specific details changed for ethical and privacy reasons].

LTD Case 1: Public University Employee

An individual who worked for a public Indiana University was denied LTD benefits by The Standard. After her LTD benefits were denied, she contacted Keller & Keller who assisted her with an appeal to The Standard. During the appeal process and with the help of Keller & Keller, the claimant provided The Standard with statements from her treating rheumatologist, as well as evidence that the U.S. Department of Education discharged her student loans due to “Total and Permanent Disability.” Keller & Keller requested and obtained all updated medical records including hundreds of pages from a rheumatologist, ostomy surgeon, cardiologist, hematologist, neurologist, pulmonologist, dermatologist, eye doctor, brain surgeon, and primary care provider. Keller & Keller also gathered hospital and rehabilitation records. Even in the face of such compelling evidence, The Standard denied her appeal. Instead of accepting the medical opinion of her treating rheumatologist, The Standard hired record reviewing consultants who claim that she was still capable of working.

Keller & Keller filed suit against The Standard in federal court. Even though the case was not governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (“ERISA”), the amount at dispute was greater than $75,000 and involved an out-of-state Defendant. Keller & Keller conducted discovery to gather more information about The Standard’s claims practices and methods used to unfairly deny her LTD benefits. After informal settlement negotiations failed, Keller & Keller represented the disabled claimant at a settlement conference with the Magistrate Judge. At the conclusion of the settlement conference, the two parties were able to agree to a confidential settlement that ensured the payment of a lump sum benefit to the Plaintiff and that resolved the lawsuit at hand. The amount paid to the Plaintiff helps to replace the income she lost when she was forced to stop working. In addition, Keller & Keller represented her in a claim for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits, which was approved after an administrative hearing.

LTD Case 2: Information Technology (IT) Consulting Services Employee

A project engineer worked at an IT consulting firm, but was forced to stop working due to Crohn’s disease and additional complications. Despite surgery and regular treatment with a gastroenterologist, this employee was unable to return to work and applied for long-term disability benefits insured by The Standard. His claim for LTD benefits was approved. He subsequently applied for SSDI benefits, which was also approved. After three years of receiving LTD benefits, The Standard terminated his ongoing LTD benefits claiming that he no longer meets the definition of “Disability” found within the group long term disability policy.

The employee contacted Keller & Keller who offered legal representation in an appeal to The Standard. As part of the appeal process, Keller & Keller gathered the entire claim file from The Standard, requested and obtained all updated medical records, requested and obtained the complete claim file from the Social Security Administration, and took a sworn statement of the treating gastroenterologist to question him on the record why his patient remained disabled. After gathering this persuasive evidence, Keller & Keller then prepared a comprehensive appeal letter demanding that The Standard pay all past-due benefits, as well as a reinstatement of ongoing LTD benefits.

About ten weeks after Keller & Keller submitted its appeal, it received confirmation that The Standard decided to overturn its termination of LTD benefits. The disabled claimant was paid past-due LTD benefits from The Standard and his ongoing monthly benefits were reinstated.

Benefits Denied or Terminated by The Standard? Call Keller & Keller

If you have short term or long-term disability (LTD) benefits with The Standard and your claim has been denied, Keller & Keller can provide you with a free case evaluation. Our attorneys have helped individuals appeal wrongful denials of benefits, as well as filed lawsuits to seek the payment of wrongfully denied LTD benefits. Call Keller & Keller to discuss your case today.

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