Disability Benefits

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UnitedHealth ERISA ruling exposes faults in health coverage

The availability of health insurance coverage for treatment of mental health conditions recently took a huge step forward with the entry of judgment by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in Wit v. United Behavioral Health.[1] After the issuance of a ruling in 2019 finding United Behavioral Health, or UBH — a UnitedHealth Group […]

ERISA ruling shows reluctance for disability claim remand

Employee Retirement Income Security Act civil procedure often departs in significant respects from the normal civil procedure utilized uniformly by federal courts in all civil actions in accordance with the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. One aspect of ERISA civil procedure that is especially questionable despite its near-uniform acceptance by the federal judiciary is the […]

Ex-NFL players’ disability case remanded yet again

There has been a growing volume of litigation relating to disability benefit claims brought by former professional football players. A recent example is the ruling issued by a federal court in California in Dimry v. Bert Bell/Pete Rozelle NFL Player Retirement Plan, 2020 WL 5526607 (N.D. Cal., Sept. 15). This ruling was the second time the […]

Disability benefits are difficult to navigate for someone with SD, but not impossible

Among the challenges presented by spasmodic dysphonia (SD), qualifying for disability benefits can be both difficult and frustrating. The process is complex, confusing, and extremely difficult to navigate without the assistance of an experienced attorney. Yet despite these challenges, both the Social Security Administration and private disability insurers recognize the impact of SD on the […]

1st Circuit ERISA benefit ruling misapplies review standard

How should federal courts conduct a de novo review of Employee Retirement Income Security Act benefit claims? One approach was delineated by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in 2009 in Krolnik v. Prudential Insurance Company of America.[1] There, the court pronounced the phrase “de novo review” as “misleading” and explained the de novo review standard […]