DCS, Inc. continues to receive many calls from claimants who are worried about recent requests to provide SSDI financial and benefit information. Unsure of what it all means, some claimants go off the wire suspecting the worse, which is understandable given Unum’s ongoing scams to obtain information about SSDI awards.
I wish I could reach more people with the information on the blog because I think it would be calming to know what Unum is up to. Although I’ve written many blogs about Unum’s various SSDI “focus projects”, I’ll try to explain again hopefully to help more people understand why they are feeling “harassed” with multiple letters from Unum.
For Unum, SSDI awards represent profit in several different ways. First, SSDI awards, both Primary and Family, are offsets to benefits (reductions), and represent financial reserve gains to profit. This happens when awards are coded to BAS (payment system), and also when Unum uses unfavorable awards as cause to deny benefits.
Regardless of how Unum tries to “position” its push for SSDI, the company forces all claimants to apply, but violates ERISA Plan provisional language by recording offsets and collecting overpayments even when claimants haven’t been awarded yet, or any retroactive money from SSA has been received.
The repetitive SSDI letters claimants have been receiving ask for financial information about SSDI awards in one of three ways. Unum is categorically, and absolutely paranoid about “missing out” on increased offsets that contribute to profit. As a result, Unum hired Lucens to help with the paper chase, and claimants have been harassed ever since.
In addition, while SSA is telling people award decisions are delayed due to COVID, Unum is penalizing claimants by reducing benefits to $0 and estimating SSDI awards. The company doesn’t care that claimants are already financially harmed by SSA delays and COVID, and reduce benefits to nothing while claimants are WAITING for SSDI to respond.
The unconscionable behavior of Unum, at least to my knowledge, is not challenged by attorneys, I suspect because issues such as this do not involve a great deal in fees. Nevertheless, Unum is definitely out for the kill with respect to SSDI chasing and claimants are feeling harassed because of the multiple requests for SSDI information.
Unum’s mantra is to obtain SSDI information and continually recalculate SSDI benefits over and over again continuing to find alleged overpayments. Once an overpayment is determined Unum automatically reduces benefits to recapture, giving claimants no say, or opportunity to verify that what Unum alleges is owed is really owed.
In at least one case I know of, a claimant took Unum to small claims court to recover money the company removed from benefits without giving sufficient proof that it was owed. The claimant won the case, and Unum was ticked because of its attorney traveling expenses etc.
Bottom line, claimants should provide Unum with the 1099 option and be done with it. Harassment about the issue will continue to happen until the information is received in some form.
One final comment….Unum claimants need to remember that Unum claims handlers today only read approximately 5-10 recent pages of a file. Therefore, claimants may be asked to submit proof of SSDI in various forms even when early on SSA determined a person didn’t have sufficient quarters to be eligible. By not being familiar with the totality of a file, claims handlers actually make themselves look pretty stupid by making inquires about application and appeals.
In the whole scheme of things, Unum’s requests are just harassment and claimants should send the requested 1099s. Although claimants fear Unum will offset annual COLA, that’s usually not the company’s aim – it’s the recalculation of benefits to come up with one overpayment after another.
This current SSDI issue is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Unum’s SSDI scams to obtain information favorable to them.