The Challenge in Obtaining Long-Term Disability Benefits

J.P. Gonzalez-Sirgo
Founder of J.P. Gonzalez-Sirgo, P.A.

If you are a firefighter, paramedic, police officer or other emergency first responder, you have a physically and emotionally demanding job.  The risk of suffering a physical or stress-related disability is relatively high given the frequency of physical or emotional harm associated with these types of occupations.  While long-term disability benefits through social security or private long-term disability policies can provide much needed financial relief for individuals and their families, the stress and anxiety of a debilitating injury or mental condition can be exacerbated when insurance carriers or government entities fail to cooperate by paying disability benefits.

While the rules for long-term social security disability benefits differ significantly from private long-term disability, the consequences of an unjustified denial of benefits and the tactics used by both can be alarmingly similar.  The story of retired NYPD Sergeant Michael Kull, who was a 9/11 first responder, provides a compelling case in point. When Mr. Kull sought long-term social security disability benefits, Kull was subjected to wrongful accusations that he was committing disability fraud.  While he would ultimately be cleared of these charges, his disability benefit payments were terminated until the fraud claim was resolved.  This first responder who should have been lauded as a hero for his actions following 9/11 had to fight an uphill battle to obtain the benefits he was rightfully entitled to receive.

Kull suffered multiple PTSD-related medical conditions following his removal of victims and cleanup of debris from the wreckage of the collapsed World Trade Center.  He witnessed the planes collide with the building and watching it collapse.  While rendering assistance to victims, he inhaled substantial amounts of chemicals, dust and other impurities.  His prolonged periods rendering assistance resulted in him suffering prolonged respiratory exposure to these harmful substances.

Instead of paying this heroic public servant disability benefits as requested, the government proceeded to allege a wide-ranging disability fraud scheme against Kull.  Kull was named among 105 people that were accused of participation in the fraud.  However, Kull was able to establish that he was entitled to benefits by producing medical records documenting his disability and right to benefits.  Even after Kull was exonerated, he was given the run around while his disability claim was repeatedly denied for specious reasons.  He was eventually able to get his disability benefits reinstated with the assistance of an elected Assemblyman.

If your private long-term disability insurance carrier refuses to pay you benefits after you suffer a disability, you too might receive unfounded denials, false fraud allegations and the runaround.  While most of us do not have a representative in government to go to bat for us, an experienced Florida long-term disability insurance claims attorney can protect your rights and advocate for your private long-term disability benefits.

If you have questions about long-term disability benefits or you are having difficulty obtaining your benefits, my Miami long-term disability law firm might be able to help.  My law firm represents policyholders in claims disputes in Miami and throughout Florida. The Law Firm of J.P. Gonzalez-Sirgo, P.A. offers free consultations and case evaluations. No Recovery, No Lawyer Fees. Call 305-461-1095 or Toll Free 1-866-71-CLAIM. 

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