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I recently settled the claim of a physical therapy assistant who worked for Catholic Health Services after her benefits under her group long term disability (“LTD”) plan were terminated by CIGNA. While most employee benefit plans are subject to ERISA, LTD plans that are sponsored by churches and church-related entities are not, unless they specifically elect to have ERISA coverage.
Because ERISA did not apply, I was able to file suit in State court, seeking State law remedies. As a substantive matter, ERISA usually preempts state law remedies like punitive damages, bad faith, unfair business practices, pain and suffering, and consequential damages. As a procedural matter, because ERISA did not apply, the claimant was entitled to discovery, including deposing CIGNA employees at the courthouse, to introduce new evidence that CIGNA did not consider, and to a jury trial.
Church-related organizations, such as hospitals, schools, and charitable organizations, are not usually governed by ERISA. Freed from ERISA, claimants who have “church plans” have a more level playing field when forced to fight for their disability benefits. Perhaps most importantly, when an insurance company makes a decision for a church related LTD plan, its decision is not entitled to any deference. That is critical because insurers usually argue that their decision does not have to be correct, just a plausible one.
Disability Law Blog
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I’m not the type of person that sits and sends letters out to people, but everyone at The Law Offices of Jeffrey Delott Law was professional and responsive to me. I’m still amazed at the speed and efficiency in which my disability case was handled from start to finish. I can’t thank you enough.
It has taken me time to think about what to say to you for all the compassion and hard work you have done for me. You called me to appraise me of every step I needed to take and at what point my case was at. Whenever I had a question or concern I would call you, If you were unavailable you did call me back ASAP. You heard me cry, you listened when I was at financial brink, you knew my pain was real. You did not treat me like I was a piece of paper coming across your desk and another case to… Read more
Jeffrey Delott did an amazing job for me. Mr Delott applied for SSD and for my private LTD for me. There was continual communication between Mr Delott or his assistant Susan with me almost on a daily basis via email, telephone, or regular mail. Then after only five months into the process I received a call from Mr Delott saying that I was approved for both SSD and my LTD on the same day. After speaking with friends and reading horror stories online about how the process can take up to 2 yea… Read more
“Jeff Delott really knows his stuff. His professional advice and guidance were extremely valuable in helping me to navigate through the overwhelming amount of red tape involved in obtaining SSD.”
Hands down he is the best Disability Attorney around. He is extraordinarily knowledgeable and successful and gives you personal attention unlike you would get from a large firm like Binder and Binder.
Jeffrey Delott’s Law office was dedicated to getting my S.S.D. benefits. They were always patient and eager to help me. I was treated kindly and honestly and highly recommend using Jeffrey Delott to win your case. “From the moment I had my first conversation I knew I was in very good hands, and felt confident that I would have a favorable outcome. Whenever I had a question or concern it was answered right away. I highly recommend Jeffrey Delott and his staff to represent you for any disabil… Read more
“I found Jeff to be relentless in his determination to get my case settled quickly. He succeeded in a matter of months. When I had spoken to other lawyers they would tell me it could take two years. I recommend him to anyone who wants a lawyer who will go all out for you and be there every step of the way.”
I applied for disability on my own and was denied. I was referred to Mr. Delott and couldn’t be happier with the outcome of my case which was approved. Mr. Delott is the most knowledgeable, efficient attorney who gave his undivided personal attention and guided me every step of the way. You won’t find a better disability attorney.
Thank you for your help and support in attaining the benefits my husband was due. We will be able to pay our bills and expenses, and will definitely be able to sleep better at night. We will definitely recommend you for legal matters.
“I have recommended you in the past and I will continue to do so!”
I haven’t gotten a chance to thank you for everything you and your staff did for me and my family. I can’t thank you enough. It really means a lot to me. I know you and Susan Golden worked countless hours on my case with numerous emails and phone calls. In the beginning I was a little skeptical and nervous going through the social security process but in the end we prevailed and this really separates you from other attorneys that are in it just for the business. Your compassi… Read more
Thank you so for taking my case when nobody else would. Thank you for seeing that I had a case when no other lawyer would touch me. Only you saw that there was hope. I can’t thank you enough for taking all my calls through all my doubts. You are indeed a great savior. I will recommend you to anyone who asks.
“I want to thank you for being so professional, compassionate, thorough and knowledgeable about your field. I cannot express my gratitude enough. You are the best.”
I cannot begin to thank Mr. Delott for his outstanding commitment to securing Social Security Disability for my husband, Andrew. When my husband was first diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s, I was not only overcome with the grief of his disease but facing the reality of financial disaster due to his inability to work. My husband was only 59 at the time of his diagnosis. It was through sharing my situation with my co-workers that Mr. Delott’s name was given to me as a referral, and the… Read more
I am an attorney who suffered a permanent disability. Once disabled I had to decide whether to represent myself in a petition against the Social Security Administration or to retain another attorney to pursue the claim on my behalf. As an attorney I had access to the court system. As a result I was familiar with administrative judges, court clerks, attorneys and other persons employed in the field of disability law. If you want to know who are the best and brightest attorneys in any fiel… Read more
“I was certain I made the right choice hiring Jeff Delott from the very beginning, and my certainty was consistently validated every step of the way. Jeff kept me informed, always responded personally to my concerns within 24 hours, and was a relentless warrior on my behalf. Jeff understands why you need his services, and he treats you with respect while aggressively and expertly handling your situation.”
“I could not believe how quickly my case was approved. If it were not for all your hard work and dedication I know I would not have had this quick and favorable outcome. I truly appreciate you walking me through this complicated process, and taking the time to answer all of my many questions.”
I want to express our extreme appreciation for all your hard work and determination you put into winning my disability case and the settlement from The Standard. We couldn’t have done any of this without you, your knowledge, and expertise. I am now able to concentrate on my health.
Thank you for winning my SSD case! I was at a major crossroads in my life after I was no longer able to work. I did not know where to turn or what to do and the stress was taking its toll on my self and my wife. I was both overwhelmed and scared to death with the thought of having no income and no hope of ever earning a living again because of my illness. I would recommend Jeffrey Delott to any person who needs a disability attorney and wants to win. Jeff and his staff always “kept me in th… Read more
I wanted to express my gratitude to you, for winning my Social Security Disability Insurance (SSD) claim. Though my words will never truly match the abundant respect and appreciation I have for your firm’s skill and careful handling of my SSD case, I thought I should, at the very least, begin with this letter. I originally hired another SSD attorney to represent me on my claim; my claim was mishandled by that attorney’s office and consequently denied. At that point I was already out of… Read more
“Jeffrey Delott has been considerably successful in obtaining my disability far beyond my achievement and I TRULY THANK him for his gallant efforts.”
“I contacted Jeff Delott over the internet and within 24 hours he contacted me by phone. Mr. Delott was extremely knowledgeable and upfront about what records I would need to produce to win the case. I had filed for SSD by myself and was denied twice. With his expertise he had it overturned with a fully favorable decision within a few months and I did not have to go in front of an ALJ. He was very responsive throughout my case and he did not give up! I would highly recommend Jeff Delott to … Read more
From the onset of working with Jeffrey Delott, I found him to be efficient and knowledgeable. He was very understanding about my situation and easy to talk to.. I am extremely satisfied with the results I acheived working with Jeffrey Delott’s firm.
I want to thank you for the sensational work you did in winning my disability appeal. Your professionalism, and that of your staff, were notable throughout your representation of me.
“Jeffrey Delott has the utmost ethical standards of any lawyer that I have dealt with. He possesses all of the assets necessary for success — honor, dignity, and sincerity. I will continue to refer him to friends and family. He took the time to explain the particulars of my case, was always available to take my calls, always returned my calls and was always available to answer my questions no matter how silly they might have been.”
“When my friend referred me to your firm, he mentioned how pleased he was with how you and your staff handled his case. I agree. It is so important that you have the proper representation when you become disabled.”
Thank you very much for all your help. You were very kind. I recommended my neighbor to you. I’m sure you’ll help him too! Thanks again!
Just wanted to thank you again for helping me with my case. With me being very impatient with the whole SS process, you always talked me off the ledge and reassured me that everything was going to be fine. I know I can never thank you enough. I wanted you to know how appreciative my wife and I am for all the hard work that you guys did for me. I do now and always will continue to recommend Mr. Delott to anyone needing help. Have a nice day.
“Mr. Delott was extremely knowledgeable, supportive, patient and professional. He helped me every step off the way- never giving up and always available for questions and advice. I was able to secure an award quicker than anyone thought thanks to his detailed service and determination! Highly Recommended!”
“From my initial consultation with Jeffrey Delott, I was immediately impressed with his knowledge of Social Security Disability. From day one he always answered my questions or concerns I had and always explained what to expect in detail. I did receive my benefit and was glad that I used him as my attorney.”
I really don’t know what I would have done if I didn’t have Mr. Delott and Susan Golden. I’m so happy to be receiving my SSD benefits and have money. I never met such honest people who work in a law firm. They truly care and help. I would say if you need a SSD lawyer please call this office ASAP.
“Thank you for all of the excellent work you did on my behalf to help me win my appeal for long term disability benefits. Throughout that difficult time my comfort was knowing that I had the best attorney on the job. Your foresight of all possible contingencies and your proactive approach really helped me to get a handle on the many documents and doctor’s visits required to put forth the best possible case. You put your incredibly thorough knowledge of this area of law to its best use every… Read more
Jeffrey came highly recommended by a friend of mine who had used his services and been approved. Not only did Jeffrey help me with my SSD claim he also helped me with my LTD and pension disability. He dealt with me personally and always kept me informed. he is extremely knowledgeable and responds immediately to an questions i had. His staff is extremely helpful and I know I will always get a return phone call very quickly. I would highly recommend him – he really knows his stuff and i appre… Read more
Thank you for all your hard work and dedication. Your knowledge and guidance helped bring comfort to me and my family during a difficult time. You were always available to answer my questions and offer your advice and support. In my mind, there is only one disability lawyer and that is Jeffrey Delott.
“I can’t say enough about Jeffrey Delott . His knowledge and aggressiveness helped me get my LTD benefits started in a matter of days after weeks of unsuccessful attempts alone. Thank You!.”
“From the moment I hobbled into his office, Jeffrey was quite clear on how he would attack the inaccuracies and inconsistencies of several reports of Hartford people. I couldn’t help crying when Jeff told me my benefits were being reinstated because I was so overwhelmed with joy and shock. I never win anything. I know this could never have happened without the aggressive skills of Jeff.”
“I will never forget when I was originally denied benefits for Fybromyalgia,Jeffrey Delott told me not to worry, he assured me that I will be approved, he said it might take some time but I will get my benefits. Thank you so much, your aggressiveness and knowledge make you the best at what you do.”
I just wanted to thank you again for helping me with getting my disability. I was vacillating with my decision to apply knowing that I needed to, but kept wavering as i felt I must be able to work at something. Left to my own devices I would probably still, be working on the application. With your help we progressed in a timely manner and I should be receiving my first check this month. Thank you again.
“I strongly suggest that people who are in need of SSI or SSD benefits get in contact with you guys. I did not think I would be approved in such a short period of time. Mr. Delott was very professional, he knew his job and the system very well, and he kept me informed at all times. He and his staff will take care of everything. I am very, very, very happy with the results. I am a disabled veteran, and this was the best thing that could happen to me. I recommend and suggest that you give Mr.… Read more