Tactics Insurance Companies Use To Deny Long Term Disability Benefits

UPDATED: Jul 17, 2023Fact Checked

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Jeffrey Johnson

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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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Mary Martin

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Mary Martin has been a legal writer and editor for over 20 years, responsible for ensuring that content is straightforward, correct, and helpful for the consumer. In addition, she worked on writing monthly newsletter columns for media, lawyers, and consumers. Ms. Martin also has experience with internal staff and HR operations. Mary was employed for almost 30 years by the nationwide legal publi...

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UPDATED: Jul 17, 2023

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UPDATED: Jul 17, 2023Fact Checked

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.

Case Studies: Tactics Insurance Companies Use to Deny Long Term Disability Benefits

Case Study 1: Private Surveillance and “Slip-Up” Interviews 

John Smith, a long term disability claimant, experienced private surveillance conducted by his insurer, InsureLife. After the surveillance, the company arranged interviews with John, hoping to catch him in any inconsistencies or discrepancies in his statements. The case delves into the legality and ethics of using surveillance to undermine a valid disability claim.

Case Study 2: Psychological Manipulation

Sarah Johnson filed a long term disability claim with SecureSure due to a severe medical condition. However, the insurer attempted psychological manipulation by challenging the legitimacy of Sarah’s condition and implying that she should feel guilty for claiming benefits. The case analyzes the impact of such tactics on claimants’ mental well-being and the insurer’s obligation to act fairly.

Case Study 3: Delaying Claim Processing

Emily Wilson submitted a long term disability claim to CoverageFirst, but the company repeatedly delayed processing her claim without justifiable reasons. As a result, Emily faced financial hardships and stress during the waiting period. The case examines the legality of unjustifiable claim delays and the responsibility of insurance companies to promptly process legitimate disability claims.

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Jeffrey Johnson

Insurance Lawyer

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...

Insurance Lawyer

Mary Martin

Published Legal Expert

Mary Martin has been a legal writer and editor for over 20 years, responsible for ensuring that content is straightforward, correct, and helpful for the consumer. In addition, she worked on writing monthly newsletter columns for media, lawyers, and consumers. Ms. Martin also has experience with internal staff and HR operations. Mary was employed for almost 30 years by the nationwide legal publi...

Published Legal Expert

Editorial Guidelines: We are a free online resource for anyone interested in learning more about legal topics and insurance. Our goal is to be an objective, third-party resource for everything legal and insurance related. We update our site regularly, and all content is reviewed by experts.

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