Residual/Partial vs. Total Disability

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Court takes controversial position in Pettaway

After suffering a back injury as the result of a car accident in 2000, Sonya Pettaway, an employee of the National Academy of Sciences, filed for and received disability benefits from Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association (TIAA). However, 24 months later, the policy definition of disability changed. Instead of disability being defined as the inability […]

A ruling that could protect thousands of claimants

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals recently issued a significant ruling involving disability benefits. In Durakovic v. Building Service 32BJ Pension Fund, 2010 U.S.App.LEXIS 12937 (2nd Cir. June 24, 2010), Bejaze Durakovic, a Yugoslavian emigrant with a grade school education, worked as an office cleaner in New York City until she stopped working in […]

How CIGNA handles or mishandles disability claims

The case of Cox v. CIGNA Group Insurance, 2010 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 17164 (E.D. Ky., Feb. 24), is illustrative of a pattern suggestive of possible systematic maladministration of disability claims, a finding also made by the California Department of Insurance. California conducted a market conduct study of CIGNA’s disability claim handling and found numerous examples of unfair […]

Case shows it’s not ‘all or none’ for disability

Giddens v. Equitable Life Assur. Society of the U.S., 2006 U.S.App.LEXIS 8970 (11th Cir. April 12, 2006). The plaintiff, a dentist, purchased two ”own occupation” disability policies from Equitable. Both policies contained provisions for total disability as well as residual (partial) disability. The issue before the court was whether Allen Giddens was totally or partially […]