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Court Rules Against New York Life on Dependent Offset Efforts

Justin Frankel
September 30, 2013 | Disability Insurance Claims
Over $200 Million Recovered for Our Clients

A New York Federal Court has ruled against New York Life and in favor of a long term disability insurance claimant, on an important issue for many claimants. This is whether New York Life is permitted to offset for benefits paid to a dependent, such as a child. At issue in this case was whether New York Life was permitted to offset benefits and potentially recover an overpayment of benefits paid to the claimant, for benefits received from Social Security and paid on behalf of the claimant’s minor child.

The benefits at issue were paid to the ex-wife of the claimant on behalf of his daughter. The claimant argued that the offset and overpayment recovery efforts were impermissible, as the child was not his dependent and did not live with him. New York Life argued that it was permitted to offset the benefits and recover an overpayment on the basis of policy language as well as a repayment agreement which the long term disability insurance claimant had executed.

The Court rejected New York Life’s arguments — holding that the plain language in the policy did not support New York Life’s ability to pursue recovery of the dependent Social Security benefits. Because the Court found the plan language to explicitly support the claimant’s position, judgment was granted to the claimant and against New York Life. Lastly, the Court determined that the claimant could pursue damages and attorneys fees.

The issue of an insurer’s efforts to secure recovery of benefits resulting from an award of Social Security Disability benefits is very common. If you are facing that issue, we can help you.

Brutvan v. New York Life

Written By Justin Frankel


Justin C. Frankel is committed to fighting for the rights of clients when their long term disability insurance claims have been denied, delayed or terminated.

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