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March 2017 Archives

Proving Disability from Depression, Anxiety, and other Psychological Conditions

As many insureds suffering from depression and/or anxiety can attest, filing a disability insurance claim based on these illnesses can be complicated and frustrating. Because "objective evidence" of depression and anxiety is not always readily available, these claims are often denied due to a "lack of medical proof" that the insured's condition is severe enough to prevent him or her from working. To be successful at the application level, the insured needs to work closely with their treating psychiatrist, psychologist, and/or therapist to make sure the records (or treatment summary if no records can be provided) reflect concrete examples and clinical information that confirm the diagnoses and the severity of the insured's condition. If psychological testing or neuropsychological testing has been done then that information and the test results need to be included. If the claim has been denied, then it may be necessary to get a detailed statement from each treatment provider as well as testimonial statements from friends, family, and co-workers to submit with the appeal.

Northern District of Oklahoma finds that Unum Acted Arbitrarily and Capriciously in Denying Disability Insurance Claim of Pharmacist With a Physical Condition Requiring Narcotic Pain Medication

A recent case out of the North District of Oklahoma, Anderson-Posey v. Unum Life Ins. Co. of Am., involved a long-term disability insurance policy issued by Unum Provident and governed under the Employee Retirement Security Act of 1974 ("ERISA"). 

Court Overturns Northwestern Mutual's Denial of Disability Insurance Benefits to Attorney With Congestive Heart Failure Unable to Handle Stress

A federal district court recently overturned Northwestern Mutual's denial of own occupation disability insurance benefits to an attorney with congestive heart failure unable to handle stress. The case Mustain-Wood v. Northwestern Mututal Life Insurance Company involved a family law attorney and partner at his own law firm who experienced congestive heart failure requiring major surgery and cardiac rehabilitation. 938 F.Supp. 2d 1081 (D. Co. 2013). Mustain-Wood became unable to practice as an attorney in part because of the high stress environment it required.

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