Do you know a nurse like Karen Card? Karen is a nurse night shift supervisor who, no doubt, cared deeply for her sick patients…until she got sick and filed for disability. Karen is like any other medical professional among the 1.5 million Americans at-risk for losing their jobs and homes last year due to a medical crisis.
In Karen’s case – Card v Principal Life Insurance Company, 2019 WL 5618182 (6th Cir. Oct. 32, 2019) – it was the denial of her disability insurance claim for six years.
This hardworking night nurse was diagnosed with Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia in February 2013. Suffering from night sweats, exhaustion and fatigue, her health began declining. Over the next six months, Karen continued working even as her bloodwork showed an increase in white blood cell counts and lymphocytes
Concerned over Karen’s deteriorating health and the demands of her job, by December 2013, her primary physician recommended going on disability and she stopped working. As luck would have it, Karen had purchased a disability insurance policy from Principal Life Insurance Company. But, this is where her luck ended and her catastrophic financial woes began.
We are going to take a quick detour from Karen’s story for a ‘had I known’ moment because, had I known Karen, here’s the one piece of advice she – or anyone who files a disability insurance claim – needs to know:
Lady, you need a first-rate disability lawyer who knows the complicated disability laws and requirements and has your back!
Over the next few years of denials and appeals, Karen lost her home to foreclosure and moved in with family. During this time, she also found caring doctors who accepted Medicaid patients and treated her medical condition.
Karen also received a Grade 1 performance on her ECOG (Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group) that restricts physically strenuous work, but allows light or sedentary work. Certainly not, the strenuous work duties required of a night nurse. Still, none of her physicians recommended any work restrictions or limitations for her.
Undaunted, Karen never gave up. Six years after her original claim was denied, she finally received her long-deserved disability benefits in 2019. The court ruled in her favor because Principal continued denying her disability claim based on her lab reports rather than recognizing the larger scope of her strenuous job requirements.
Karen’s case is a cautionary tale for any medical professional with a disability insurance policy.
If you can no longer work because of a medical condition, call an experienced disability lawyer to protect your rights from the beginning of the claims process. For a free review of your disability insurance policies, feel free to contact me. It’s what we do!