Cancer Patient Fights for Change in LTD Legislation

A woman with terminal cancer, who has waited months for her long term disability benefits, will finally take delivery of her first check on May 19.

The process of being approved for long-term disability benefits can take years. Once someone is approved, there is a built-in lag time that is meant to “ensure that we do not pay benefits to people who do not have a long-term disability,” said Kia Green, a spokeswoman for the Social Security Administration.

Ten months ago 47 year-old Heather Russell was diagnosed with stage IV cancer. Doctors found tumors spreading through her lungs, brain, pelvis, neck, and adrenal gland. Russell and her family are fighting to have the built in lag time law overturned. United States Senators Jeanne Shaheen, D-New Hampshire, and Susan Collins, R-Maine, are cosponsoring legislation, known as S. 700 “to eliminate the waiting period for individuals with life-threatening conditions” covered by social security.

If you or someone you love suffers from a long-term disability and you aren’t getting the money you deserve, the Indiana long-term disability attorneys of the Law Office of Charles D. Hankey may be able to help. Contact us today by calling (800) 520-3633.


$57M Agreement Reached in Nortel LTD Lawsuit

Two groups representing former Nortel Networks employees say their members will have their long-term disability benefits extended after a ruling in Ontario Superior Court Wednesday.

The $57 million agreement reached Monday, preserves benefits for the former employees until the end of 2010. Extending the long-term disability, health, and pension benefits for over 20,000 employees who have been laid off and not yet received severance and employees on long-term disability.

The original Nortel pension plan was set to expire Wednesday and cut off the employees benefits. The two groups, Nortel Retirees and former Employees Protection Canada and Canadian Nortel Employees on Long Term Disability, said that the court has approved the new agreement, but has not yet officially announced the ruling.

If you or someone you love suffers from a long-term disability and you aren’t getting the money you deserve, the Indiana long-term disability attorneys of the Law Office of Charles D. Hankey may be able to help. Contact us today by calling (800) 520-3633.


March is Disability Awareness Month in Indiana

March is Disability Awareness Month in Indiana, a time when the importance of recognizing the challenges and triumphs of people living with disabilities is paramount. If you or someone you love has been injured and is living with a long-term disability, the Law Office of Charles D. Hankey may be able to help you get the money you deserve.

Disability Awareness Month is designed to raise awareness of the realities of long-term disability and the people who live with it. Interest groups hope to make people more familiar with the challenges faced by people who suffer from disabilities, including employment discrimination.

If you or someone you love suffers from a long-term disability and you aren’t getting the money you deserve, the Indiana long-term disability attorneys of the Law Office of Charles D. Hankey may be able to help. Contact us today by calling (800) 520-3633.


ERISA Lawsuit Filed Against WI Construction Company

A construction company in Wisconsin is the target of a federal lawsuit alleging ERISA violations that resulted in $4 million of plan losses for employees.

President and CEO of Westra Construction Inc. in Waupun, Wisconsin, is named in the suit along with a trustee of the company’s ESOP. The lawsuit was filed by the Department of Labor in United States District Court in Milwaukee. Westra is accused doctoring financial reports and ordering the plan to buy 40,000 shares of non-voting convertible preferred Westra company stock for $4 million.

Two years following the $4 million purchase, Westra ceased operations, making the stock worthless.

The Labor Department lawsuit is seeking to restore the employee stock ownership plan.

Assistant Secretary of Labor of the Employee Benefits Security Administration, Phyllis C. Borzi said Westra “diverted retirement assets to subsidize corporate activities, thereby jeopardizing the future retirement income of their workers…”

If you or someone you love has been injured and is not receiving the long-term disability that he or she deserves, please contact an Indiana long term disability lawyer of the Hankey Law Office by calling (800) 520-3633.


Veteran's Benefits Vs. Long Term Disability Benefits

Compensation and insurance provided to military veterans is very similar to workers’ compensation. The overall compensation system in both sectors involve more than one type of insurance such as health insurance, disability income insurance, life insurance, and possibly mortgage insurance. Despite these similarities, the application process for these benefits is quite different.

Applying to receive veteran’s benefits requires that you go through the Office of Veterans Affairs. The Office of Veteran Affairs handles all VA Disability Compensation and in order to qualify a veteran must have suffered a disability related to time spent in the armed forces. A veteran who was dishonorably discharged due not qualify for benefits.

If you are eligible for benefits, you could receive between $123 and $3100 each month. Additional supplementary payments to compensate family members may also be available.

Filing for VA disability benefits can be quite a complex process. To speak with an attorney about the legal options available to an injured veteran, please contact an Indiana Long Term Disability Attorney of the Hankey Law Office, by calling (800) 520-3633.


Nortel Reaches Long-Term Disability Settlement

Nortel Networks Corp., which recently filed for creditor protection, has reached a settlement agreement with former employees seeking long-term disability.

Under the terms of the settlement agreement, Nortel will continue to pay medical and dental benefits to pensioners and long-term disability beneficiaries for the remainder of 2010. Any claim made by any party in relation to the matters settled under the new agreement will rank as ordinary unsecured claimes under the CCAA proceedings.

While the settlement is still subject to court approval, a charge in the maximum amount of $57 million on Nortel’s assets will be established to secure the payments to be made to long-term disability beneficiaries.

If you or someone you love has been injured and is not receiving the long-term disability that he or she deserves, please contact an Indiana long term disability lawyer of the Hankey Law Office by calling (800) 520-3633.


Veterans Seek Long-Term Disability in Class-Action Lawsuit

The Defense Department recently agreed to expedite the claims of thousands of Iraq and Afghanistan military veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder but have been denied benefits.

The veterans’ advocacy group National Veterans Legal Services said at a press conference in Washington that more than 4,000 veterans could be eligible for benefits from a class action lawsuit if hey left the military because of their PTSD.

The original lawsuit was filed by seven veterans who suffer from PTSD in 2008. The seven veterans had been denied a required rating to make them eligible for a variety of long-term disability benefits. A court authorized mailing is now going out to veterans on a list of some 4,300 veterans informing them of their ability to join the lawsuit if they qualify.

Bart Stichman, a spokesman for National Veteran Legal Services, said “The legal notice gives thousands of veterans the right to join this class action under terms that are likely to result in millions of dollars in monetary and health care benefits.”

If you or someone you love has been physically or psychologically injured and is not receiving the long-term disability that he or she deserves, please contact a Indiana long term disability lawyer of the Hankey Law Office by calling (800) 520-3633.


Woman Sues Hearst Corp. Long Term Disability Plan

An employee of the Houston Chronicle is suing the newspaper’s parent company over the unlawful termination of her disability and health insurance benefits.

Debra Swanson obtained coverage under a long-term disability benefits policy while working for the Hearst Corporation. Swanson received benefits under the policy beginning in January 2002, but on April 4, 2003, Hartford Life Insurance Co. notified her that benefits would terminate because she was cleared to return to work on a full time basis.

Swanson submitted a letter to the insurance company reading “Please accept this letter as notice of Debra Swanson’s intention to appeal your decision terminating her benefits under the above referenced policy. Once we have had adequate time to review and supplement the record, we will notify you in writing to proceed with Debra Swanson’s administrative appeal under the terms of the Plan.”

Hartford did not consider this to be an appeal and closed Swanson’s file. Swanson and Hearst Corp. are now involved in a court battle as she fights for her long-term disability benefits.

If you or someone you love has been denied benefits they deserve, contact the Indiana Long Term Disability Lawyers of Hankey Law Office by calling (800) 520-3633.


Gov. Daniels Severs Indiana's Welfare Contract with IBM

Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels has canceled the state’s 10-year, $1.34 billion contract with the IBM Corporation, which designed the state’s modern, complicated welfare system.

The system may be more modernized and stream-lined than past systems, but its byzantine and complicated policies lack the human touch that critics say health care requires.  It took one woman months to get the welfare assistance she needed to help combat the cancer that racked her body, and was approved by the computer system one day after she sucumbed to the disease.

Indiana legislators hope to provide a more fair, more equitable, and more personal system to replace the IBM one.

If you or someone you love has been denied the welfare he or she needs and deserves, contact the Indiana long term disability lawyers of the Hankey Law Office by calling (800) 520-3633.