ERISA and your SSDI benefits
At Silvern & Bulger, PC we have been handling claims under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) for years. One of the questions we are asking most frequently is why long term disability insurance companies are allowed to offset and take a credit for SSDI benefits. The short answer? Because the insurance policy says they can, and the law permits it. The next question we are asked? Does the insurance company waive that offset if it wrongfully denies my disability claim. The short answer (again) probably not. Here’s the case of Hart v. Unum Life Insurance Co. of America Catholic Healthcare West LTD Disability Plan, 2017 WL 4418680 (October 4, 2017)(Court denied Plaintiff’s request to invalidate offset provision). In that case, the court did decide that the insurance company had wrongfully witheld disability benefits. The court also held, however, that the insurer did not waive the right to take an SSDI offset despite its bad faith conduct!
Obviously, this does not seem fair. However, many of the “rules” under ERISA (the Federal law that governs most disability claims) are not “fair”. If you have a claim under ERISA for short or long term disability benefits, talk to an experienced ERISA lawyer today at 303-292-0044!