Bartolic Law has helped many Teachers with long-term disability benefit claims. We have helped Teachers with the benefits under their group long-term disability insurance policies, as well as under the Teachers Retirement System Disability Pension. In a recent case, our client was a Chicago Public Schools Teacher who stopped working after an injury resulting in a concussion and post-concussive syndrome, which aggravated the client’s long-standing Multiple Sclerosis and spinal disorders.
The insurer initially denied the claim, and we were able to persuade the insurer the client was disabled from the client’s occupation as a Teacher due to the significant standing and walking required. The insurer then terminated benefits at the transition to “any occupation” disability, contending our client could perform sedentary work. It relied on medical consultants who opined there was no evidence of any neurological deficits to support any restrictions from Multiple Sclerosis, no impact on Activities of Daily Living, and no evidence of medication side effects. We both had the client examined by an Independent Medical Examiner of our own and ran text recognition on the insurer’s entire file, so we could document the precise pages of the insurer’s file that documented the evidence its own medical consultants disclaimed existing, like where the file mentioned difficulty with Activities of Daily Living, balance problems, and drowsiness/sedation from medications. After we showed the insurer its doctors had no basis to support their opinions, the insurer reinstated benefits. As a result, our client is able to live in medical retirement with dignity and financial security.
Chicago Public Schools (CPS) and other public Teachers generally do not have access to Social Security Disability benefits, making the success of their long-term disability insurance claims even more important, as the insurance policy may be the only source of income available if you are disabled.
Teachers’ occupations are generally classified as Light physical exertion level. This means you must be able to stand and walk to a significant degree. Many back and spine disorders, and pain conditions, can qualify you for benefits if you cannot be on your feet most of the day.
Ferrin v. Aetna Life Ins. Co., 336 F. Supp. 3d 910 (N.D. Ill. Sept. 28, 2018) (holding insurance policy’s grant of discretionary authority is void under Texas law due to certificate being issued after effective date of regulation, and policy renewing after effective date, and holding Plaintiff was disabled from Any Reasonable Occupation where treating doctors certify she can sit at the occasional level, and insurer’s consultants opine Plaintiff can sit frequently, as weighing all evidence together would make capacity likely at low end of frequent range at best).
Sadowski v. Tuckpointers Local 52 Health & Welfare Trust, 281 F. Supp. 3d 710 (N.D. Ill. Dec. 20, 2017) (holding plan was arbitrary and capricious in denying medical benefits for removal of spinal cord stimulator following a fall down the stairs and infection where plan argued the expenses were caused by the same injury as the car accident necessitating implantation of the stimulator years earlier)
Tassone v. United of Omaha Life Ins. Co., 264 F. Supp. 3d 867 (N.D. Ill. Aug. 30, 2017) (awarding client long term disability benefits denied by United of Omaha despite insurer’s doctor opining there was no objective evidence of functional impairment)
Suson v. PNC Fin. Servs. Grp., Inc., No. 15-CV-10817, 2017 WL 3234809 (N.D. Ill. July 31, 2017) (holding Liberty Mutual’s denial of client’s long term disability benefits was arbitrary and capricious where Liberty Mutual disregarded client’s carpal tunnel syndrome and relied on a vocational opinion to which client never had an opportunity to address before litigation)
So what can you do if your career as a teacher is disrupted by a disability? You should file a disability claim as soon as you can to hopefully start receiving benefits as soon as you can. The claims process can be challenging, and you are dealing with a disability and major changes in your life. This is why you should always have a disability insurance claims lawyer handle the process for you.
Bartolic Law helps hardworking teachers seek the benefits they need if their careers are impacted by a disability. We know how to fight for your rights against insurance companies, and we will do everything we can to help. We have helped many Chicago Public School teachers in their claims. Contact us for a free case evaluation and to schedule your consultation online.