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According to recent information Unum is once again pushing its SSDI third party vendor, GENEX, so that it can benefit from exchanges of SSDI information without coaxing claimants to sign separate Authorizations to obtain SSDI files. Of course, GENEX is sold by Unum as a “free benefit” available to “assist you with the application for SSDI.”

GENEX does not always use attorneys in the early processing of SSDI applications and from reports I’ve heard, is generally unresponsive and as disorganized as Unum is. Information provided to GENEX is not “privileged” the way it would be if you had your own attorney. GENEX works and represents Unum, not you.

What I find most objectionable is that Unum sells GENEX as though claimants MUST use GENEX’ services when, of course they don’t.” Sales talk by Unum claims specialists includes words and phrases such as “free” service, and “added benefit to you”. Clearly, Unum’s best objective is to have claimants file for SSDI  with a service that Unum can control and have access to.

>The truth is that claimants DO NOT need to use GENEX to assist with SSDI applications and can hire their own attorneys located in their local counties or districts. Information given to an attorney is “privileged” and no claimant should be forced to give Unum access to SSDI files, which is one reason why Unum is pushing so hard to get people signed on to GENEX.

Those who have already signed on to GENEX and are relatively early in the application process can simply notify Unum that they have hired their own attorney. Claimants who have been in the GENEX process for a very long time should probably remain with GENEX since many attorneys won’t take on cases that have been “worked” by GENEX for long periods of time.

GENEX is by no means the only third-party company assisting claimants with applications for SSDI. Advocator Group and Allsup are two other companies that claimants should never get involved with. I’ve been told that these two companies are difficult to work with and are hard to reach to get updates.

>At one time, Unum was even telling claimants that they would not receive credit for overpayments if they didn’t use GENEX, which many attorneys told me was an unfair trade practice. To be clear, on a claim by claim basis, Unum may have the right under ERISA Plans to request (compel might be a better word) claimants to apply for SSDI.

However, Unum does not have the right to force claimants into using specific facilities beneficial to it, to begin the application process. Claimants are much better off using their own SSDI attorneys to protect the privacy of the information and obtain representation dedicated to YOU and not the insurance company.