How To Deal With Erisa Disability Insurers Claims And Reimbursement For Social Security Overpayments
Many Long Term Disability plans provide that the policy holder must properly refund any lump sum retroactive Social Security Disability payment and send the overpayment amount within 30 days of the receipt of the notice from the Long Term Disability carrier. If you fail to make reimbursement, many carriers will claim reimbursement of the overpayment of disability benefits that occur due to your receipt of Social Security benefits pursuant to 29 U.S. Code Section 1132(a)(3).
In Great – West Life and Annuity Insurance Company v. Knudson, 534 U.S. 204(2002), United States Supreme Court addressed a carriers’ right to enforce a reimbursement provision in an ERISA plan.
In Knudson, the carrier paid Ms. Knudson’s medical expenses and then filed a law suit in state court to recover damages, as a result of her motor vehicle accident. The funds that were recovered in the tort action were paid into the Special Needs Trust and Great Life filed an action in court asking for reimbursement of the sums it had paid out on her behalf from the Special Needs Trust.
The U.S. Supreme Court held that whether the carrier was entitled to reimbursement on a legal or equitable basis depended on the nature of the Plaintiff’s claim and the underlying remedies claimed. The court held that if restitution was equitable in nature, the Long Term Disability carrier’s action had to seek, not to impose personal liability on the policy holder, but to restore the funds or property in the policy holder’s possession. Because the monies had been placed in a Special Needs Trust, the court held that the monies were not in the policy holder’s possession.
The practical result of the Supreme Court opinion is that the carrier has to prove the amount that is due, establish that they’re entitled to reimbursement on an equitable basis and establish that the policy holder has the funds in their possession.
If these three things are not established then the carrier is generally, not entitled to reimbursement.
However, that doesn’t mean you’re off the hook. A Long Term Disability carrier can reduce your future benefits by the receipt of the overpayment and will, generally, reduce your benefits until they have received the full amount of the overpayment. The end result? Long Term Disability carriers get their money back one way or another.
What should I do if the carrier is claiming an overpayment?
Contact Overpayment Long Term Disability Benefits attorney Nancy Cavey today to learn more about whether the carrier is, in fact, entitled to reimbursement, strategies for dealing with the reimbursement claim and causes of action that may arise, as a result of collection activities on behalf of the carrier. If the carrier has hired a collection agency that’s harassing you regarding overpayment, there might be a Fair Debt Collection Practice Act (FDCPA) or state consumer violation that can help resolve the overpayment issue favorably for you!