The O’Ryan Law Firm has represented numerous employees of Indiana University (“IU”) who have become disabled because of serious illnesses such as chronic pancreatitis, lymes disease, degenerative disk disease, ovarian cancer, and osteoarthritis. A large number of those clients were employees who had worked for Indiana University for many years, some even decades, before reaching the point where they were no longer able to work because of their medical conditions.
Indiana University’s Long Term Disability Plan is an income replacement plan for IU employees who become disabled due to an illness or accident. The following are the general terms of the long term disability coverage provided to IU employees:
- With claim approval, the plan pays a regular monthly income when an enrolled employee becomes disabled.
- Replaces up to 60 percent of an IU employee’s salary, to a maximum of $10,000 per month, less Social Security Disability, Worker’s Compensation income, or similar benefits from other sources.
- Pays benefits as long as the disability continues, until age 65 (or to a later age if disability occurs after age 60).
- Allows the eligible participant to choose if benefits will begin after three months (90 days) or after six months (180 days) of disability.
- Offers an optional Retirement Protection Benefit (Annuity Contribution Benefit)–which pays into a retirement annuity fund–contributions equal to 10 percent of the covered employee’s base salary. For enrollees prior to July 1, 1999, this benefit provision equals 12 percent of their base salary.
- Provides a 3 percent annual Cost of Living Adjustment increase in benefits after receiving benefit payments for the required period of time.
- An Assisted Living Benefit provides extra income replacement for severely disabled individuals.
- Pays a survivor benefit of 3 times the monthly benefit without reductions, as long as the participant had a continuous disability for 180 days.
- Provides benefits for Mental Illnesses, for up to 24 months.
Standard Insurance Company is the insurance carrier for the IU long term disability program. Many IU employees have contacted our office after Standard Insurance denied their claim upon their initial application for benefits or when Standard Insurance wrongfully terminated the benefits before the IU employee was truly able to return to work.
Standard Insurance typically hires consulting physicians, who never examine our clients, to review the person’s medical records and conclude, contrary to the treating physicians, that the client does not have any restrictions or functional impairments. Standard Insurance then relies upon the conclusions of the consulting physicians to deny legitimate disability claims.
The consequences of Standard Insurance denying an IU employee’s claim for disability benefits are severe. Under the IU employee benefit program, a disabled IU employee receives, in addition to monthly disability benefit payment, medical coverage, life insurance coverage, tuition reimbursement for their children who attend IU and retirement annuity deposits. When Standard Insurance wrongfully denies or terminates an IU employee’s disability claim, all of those benefits are immediately terminated. As a consequence of Standard Insurance’s wrongful denial of disability benefits, the disabled IU employee will no longer have the medical coverage they need for treatment, they will lose their life insurance coverage, be required to pay full tuition for their kids and lose retirement contributions. As a result, Standard Insurance’s denial can have a dramatic impact on the life of a disabled IU employee.
The O’Ryan Law Firm has successfully handled the appeals and lawsuits of IU employees against Standard Insurance when Standard Insurance has wrongfully denied or terminated disability benefits. If you have received a denial or termination letter from Standard Insurance or need help with your application for disability benefits, please contact us so that we may discuss your best strategy for moving forward with your disability claim.