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I need a Disability Attorney who knows ME/CFS

Discussion in 'Finances, Work, and Disability' started by minkeygirl, Mar 12, 2012.

  1. minkeygirl

    minkeygirl Is Jim Jones alive and well on PR?

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    I'm looking for an atty who understands ME/CFS and can navigate disability law, in particular UNUM.

    For as long as I have been on disability I have not filled out their release form which asks not only for medical information but they want my financial information. I didn't know having a credit card affects being disabled. Who knew?

    I include a letter saying I'm happy to release the medical but not the other stuff and that has never been a problem until now. They have requested the release be signed so they can process my paperwork.

    It's completely invasive and I think is illegal in CA but I want to make sure so I need someone to talk to about this.

    It would help if someone was in CA but it may not be necessary.

    Thanks.
  2. Kina

    Kina Moderation Team Lead

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  3. SickOfSickness

    SickOfSickness Senior Member

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    A lot of disability attorneys have websites or you just search on their name and you get a webpage listing their "areas of practice" (specialties). So I would just start looking on the web for different attorneys in your area or state, and see who has CFS on their list. Then I would ask them on the phone how many CFS cases they won or handled.
  4. Jarod

    Jarod Senior Member

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    planet earth
  5. caledonia

    caledonia

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    You need to look for a lawyer that specializes in ERISA disability. These are much scarcer than lawyers who do Social Security disability. ERISA is the federal law that governs long term disability and retirement.

    You can also try calling your local bar association's lawyer referral service and asking for a referral.

    I suggest interviewing 2-3 lawyers (it will cost you some money, like $100 to meet with each one for 20-30 minutes), then deciding on which one you like the best.

    How long have you been getting paid by UNUM? They may try to kick you off after 2 years. Have you also applied for Social Security Disability?
    ahimsa likes this.
  6. minkeygirl

    minkeygirl Is Jim Jones alive and well on PR?

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    Caledonia, I've been on LTD for over 15 years. I know the system. I don't need an atty at this point, just a minute of advice. I have only filled out the release 2 times, after that I submitted a letter authorizing my medical records. My financial situation is none of their business.

    @Jared. Thanks I'll check it out. I got some PM's with lots of information so I'm good I think. Thanks to all.
  7. minkeygirl

    minkeygirl Is Jim Jones alive and well on PR?

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  8. snowathlete

    snowathlete

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    I totally get what your saying: what possible reason do they have for needing that information to process a medical claim. Im sure they are just using it as an excuse to try and kick you off their books, and I think you are doing the right thing looking for some legal advice.
    Good luck with it and keep us posted!
  9. Jarod

    Jarod Senior Member

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    planet earth
  10. minkeygirl

    minkeygirl Is Jim Jones alive and well on PR?

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    I have an update for you all. Last weekend I faxed a release that I typed myself which excluded all references to financial information. I also included a letter which I got from the WordPress blog explaining what i was doing and that if they needed other information they needed to let me know why it was relevant to my claim.

    I got a phone call this morning from the 3rd caseworker since December. He told me the release I typed was not acceptable but they needed updated medical records so he will mail me a release for that for me to get records from 2 doctors. He told me there were people who, like me were not comfortable releasing that information. He kept saying he was sorry to be the bearer of bad news but asking me for medical records was not bad news considering what it could be so I'm not sure why he said that.

    Oh, he said He could see I was willing to work with them and was not jerking them around (my words) so he was willing to work with me also.

    I was just about to tell him it was going to cost me to get the records when he told me that they would reimburse the doctors for costs associated with getting the records. That was interesting.

    He was very agreeable compared to the woman I spoke to in December when I asked for an extension. She was a real hard ass and wanted me to sit on the phone with her for as long as it took to fill out the forms. Yah that'll happen.

    He is giving me 45 days or more if necessary since i told him I only get my mail once a week and so we shall see. I still have a knot in my gut with these guys though.

    Anyway, wanted to update you all and thank you again for your help and information. The saga continues.
  11. Esther12

    Esther12 Senior Member

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    Thanks for the update. It sounds relatively hopeful, so I've got my fingers crossed that a sensible solution will be found for you. Let us know how it goes!
  12. Jarod

    Jarod Senior Member

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    I thin you can request they show you in your policy where it requires you to do whatever they are asking.

    In my case I asked them to show me where it was required (to do something) and they backed down and admitted it was not a requirement. If you do not have an attorney, I think they are obligated to answer any question you may have.

    I would suggest putting the burden of proof on them whenever possible.
  13. minkeygirl

    minkeygirl Is Jim Jones alive and well on PR?

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    UPDATE II. On Saturday I got an envelope from Unum with another release to sign and a letter from the person who sent me the first request. This IS NOT the person I spoke to. I got a letter with a 30 day time frame to sign the authorization.

    I faxed the guy I spoke to and asked him what was going on since this later was dated the day before he and I spoke. I figured it was a screw up on their end but I didn't want their cluster F to get me in trouble.

    On Monday I get the paperwork from him and fax it to my docs. But I still have not heard from him about the screw up, if they were even talking to each other. Time for another Fax.

    Gahahahah!
  14. Esther12

    Esther12 Senior Member

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    Hopefully it's just errors that are the problem now, rather than intentional evil! I expect that it's still a worry and trouble to sort out though.

    Good luck with getting it all done.
  15. minkeygirl

    minkeygirl Is Jim Jones alive and well on PR?

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    Hi Esther,

    Just tells me no one is talking to each other and if that is the case, then one person could be helping me get the documents while the other is getting ready to deny me. Can you say Cluster F?

    I'll send another fax at the end of the week if I haven't heard from the guy about this (I don't talk on the phone unless I have to) and copy both of them so they can get their crap together.

    The last guy I spoke to was the 3rd name I had as a benefits coordinator in 3 months. It's just so exhausting.
  16. Wally

    Wally Senior Member

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    Have you tried contacting the California Department of Insurance for help with the concerns you have with how UNUM is handling your claim? You can PM me if you want additional information on how to tap into this resource.

    Wally
  17. minkeygirl

    minkeygirl Is Jim Jones alive and well on PR?

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    I know there was a bunch of crap years ago with Unum wanting to deny claims in California because there was not a specific diagnostic test. Have things changed?
  18. Esther12

    Esther12 Senior Member

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    Yeah, I can imagine.

    All of the uncertainty must be a strain as well.

    Unum certainly have a particularly bad reputation with CFS, and I've heard quite a few horror stories, but I think that some people seem to slip by okay (I think I remember someone posting here about things having turned out okay with Unum). As with much else related to CFS, it seems rather arbitrary. Hopefully you'll be one of the lucky ones.
  19. Wally

    Wally Senior Member

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    If you have questions about a particular insurer or any other insurance questions most states have a Consumer Affairs Division as part of their State Insurance Department. The services offered by each state often depends on the size of the state and the amount of insurance business conducted in that state. States like California, New York, and Texas have very large Insurance Departments.

    Here is the website for the California Department of Insurance http://www.insurance.ca.gov/. If you click on the button on the top of the screen that says "Consumers" it will provide you with a lot of information to assist the public in understanding the often complicated world of insurance. These type of services are offered to the public for free.

    On the California website there are even links to enforcement actions that have been taken against companies and individuals who fall within the regulatory jurisdiction of the State. I don't know how up to date the information is on-line, but for those who are interested in taking a look at a particular insurer here is the link http://www.insurance.ca.gov/0100-consumers/0050-legal-info/0040-search-enforcement/ ;)

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