Tactics Insurance Companies Use To Deny Long Term Disability Benefits

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Aug 5, 2019

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Insurance companies will use a variety of tactics to deny long term disability benefits – including the use of private surveillance and conducting interviews after the surveillance specifically designed to have you “slip up” on your story.

Unsavory tactics

We asked Ron Dean, a California attorney who has been engaged in employee benefits litigation primarily on behalf of participants for over 30 years, to tell us about some of the worst tactics that he sees insurance companies use to deny long term disability claims. Here’s what he told us:

  • Surveillance. They’ll use surveillance where they have those nerdy little private investigators who think they’re cool, to follow you around. It’s the van across the street with the tinted windows and, like little boys with toys, they have their little video cameras attached to their leg and they follow you into the store, watch you buy things and try and show that your complaints are inconsistent with your activities.
  • Interviews. A couple of insurance companies follow surveillance by coming into your home and interviewing you, hoping that you’ll exaggerate what your difficulties are and that you’ll contradict what was in the video. After two hours of interviewing you and encouraging you to be as disabled as possible, they then show you the video on their little laptop and say, ‘Ha, how could you do this if you couldn’t do that?’ Of course, people confronted with that usually say the wrong thing.

People on disability want to get better

Dean has been handling these types of cases for many years and he believes that most people on disability want to get better and get back to work. He explained, “It’s human nature to want to push yourself. Most people who are on disability would much rather be working. After all, who wants to deal with an insurance company, for gosh sakes? I’d rather stick my head in a toaster.”

“We’re all in denial about our injuries, about our limitations, and we’ll push ourselves, we’ll go too far, we’ll pay for it the next day, but it sure beats sitting at home all the time watching soap operas and eating bon bons. Most people don’t want to spend the rest of their lives disabled. Insurance companies know that and they’ll take advantage of it.”

If you’ve been denied valid long term care benefits, consult with an experienced ERISA (Employee Retirement Income Security Act) attorney to discuss your situation and evaluate your options. Consultations are free, without obligation and strictly confidential.

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