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Overturn Standard’s Termination on Vocational Issues for Cancer Patient

Friday, June 14th, 2013

One of the more agonizing forms of cancer, particularly for individuals accustomed to active jobs that involve constant interactions with employees and customers, is throat cancer. Our client, formerly a director of Parking and Security for a hospital, spent several years being in charge of the facility, a team of employees and vehicles, in an environment that required being able to speak clearly to convey instructions every minute of the day – during working hours and even when off premises.

Our client suffered from multiple co-morbid conditions, both from the throat cancer, the treatment for throat cancer, which can be debilitating in and of itself, and also suffered from orthopedic conditions that included chronic neuropathy, instability, pain and lower extremity symptoms. His mobility is severely impaired, and his inability to speak without great difficulty made it impossible for him to perform the duties of his occupation.

His initial claim for long term disability benefits with Standard was being paid, and then was abruptly terminated based on an internal medical paper review and a changed vocational assessment. The reviewing physician found that our client was unable to perform light duty work, but felt that he could perform sedentary work. So Standard changed its consideration of his occupation from light physical demand to sedentary physical demand. We went after this completely inaccurate and self serving occupational review with an aggressive attack and won.

Frankel & Newfield conducted an extensive vocational analysis of the specific tasks of his position, which require a constant need to speak with employees, customers and his own supervisors. We attacked their sedentary determination along with the obvious bias of changing the occupation to fit the medical report, and then argued that even if Standard relied upon the occupational description as sedentary (which it is certainly not), that they failed to account for his constant need to speak, which was compromised by his disability. The claim was reinstated due to the strong vocational arguments.

Policyholders who file a claim and then are abruptly terminated for reasons that seem outrageous – like the example above of a management position that requires the ability to speak being told he could maintain his position – is a frustrating experience that can make the claimant feel like they are in a Kafka-esque universe where rational thought has been supplanted by illogical thinking. It is not unusual to have a strong emotional response to this scenario.

For this and many other reasons, it is very important for claimants to quickly align themselves with a legal team that is accustomed to dealing with the tactics of the disability insurance company in a non-emotional matter. This alleviates some of the stress felt by the claimant, and provides a buffer between the claimant and the insurance company.

In most disability insurance matters, time is factor and deadlines are strict. If you or someone you love is facing a problem with a disability insurance claim or if you are about to file a disability insurance claim, please call our office at 877-LTD-CLAIM (877-583-2524) to learn how we can help.

Justin C Frankel

Written By:

Justin C. Frankel - Disability Insurance Attorney

Justin Frankel is a founding partner of the disability insurance law firm Frankel & Newfield and is a highly skilled litigator and advocate. He has published numerous articles on the challenges facing clients with private or individual disability insurance policies and those who own group or ERISA disability insurance policies.

Learn more about Justin | See Justin’s Publications



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This is about a Social Security Disability claim.

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