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Well, I have received a check in the mail and have been told another is on the way, so I think it's now safe to claim that the problem of my long term disability insurance policy has been resolved. Some of you who have memories too good for your own good may remember that many months ago, I contacted the UW Benefits Office to inquire about prospects for my early retirement due to terminal cancer. The first person I talked to delivered the glad news that I had been buying optional long term disability insurance all these many years of employment at the UW (something I had forgotten I was doing), which qualified me for a benefit of 60% of my salary while I was considered disabled by the cancer.

When this person hadn't sent me the paperwork to file a claim on this LTD policy a week later, I called back, only to be told that the policy had actually been cancelled when I took a couple of months of leave without pay in 2002 and had never been reinstated. I was devastated by this turn of news, as you might imagine. I wrote back asking for documentation of my decision not to reinstate the policy upon my return, and I heard nothing back. Eventually I wrote an email to the assistant director demanding an explanation for how my file had been misread originally and demanding that a different benefits officer be assigned to me. When I hadn't heard back two weeks later, I called the assistant director, who basically told me he had passed my email along to the director. He said he'd remind her that I was waiting to hear back.

Weeks passed, and I started looking into hiring a lawyer to intervene. I had no idea whether I had a legal leg to stand on, but I wanted to find out. Eventually a friend hooked me up with a lawyer who was willing to help me pro bono (yay, kind-hearted lawyers!) to write a letter asking for a copy of my file. I mailed this letter while I was in California recuperating from radiation treatments in March, and when I got back home I found a letter from the director of the Benefits Office in the mail. The irony, as it turns out, is that she had mailed her letter the day before she received mine.

What her letter explained to me is that the whole time they were failing to respond to my request for documentation, they were consulting with a state office about the situation. What they ultimately decided is that it was their error that the policy hadn't been reinstated for me upon my return from leave. Still, there was the matter of thirteen years of back premiums owed on the policy. If I was willing to pay part of the back premiums, the UW would pay the rest, and the policy would be reinstated. Hallelujah! I was more than willing to agree to this deal. So the back premiums were paid, I filed for benefits, and two days ago I received a call from the insurance company saying that my claim was approved. So it appears I will have income to replace my salary if/when I choose to retire.

Well, I'm a happy boy on that front, although, as with all other good news in my life these days, my happiness is tempered by the fact that I may not have long to enjoy it. However, it does make aspects of whatever time I have left a lot simpler. I understand why the Benefits Office couldn't let me know that they were trying to figure out whether my policy could be reinstated, but I sure wish I could have avoided all the anxiety of wondering what was going on and trying to find a lawyer, etc, etc. Still, all's well that ends well, I guess. Now I just need to figure out my post-retirement health insurance situation, and maybe the bureaucratic nightmare part of my ordeal will be over. A boy can dream!


( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 18th, 2016 06:23 pm (UTC)
Very glad this has been resolved in your favour.
May. 18th, 2016 08:47 pm (UTC)
Good news is still good news
Glad it got solved.
May. 18th, 2016 09:25 pm (UTC)
Yay! Very glad that with all you have to deal with, you now have one very big problem less to worry about.
May. 19th, 2016 12:36 am (UTC)
I've been feeling very relieved since I got that letter in March, but I wanted to wait until benefit money had actually been received before I shared my relief with the rest of the world.
May. 19th, 2016 12:05 am (UTC)
The wheels of bureaucracy grind slowly, but at least they went in your favour!
May. 19th, 2016 12:35 am (UTC)
Yes, this was definitely a win for yours truly. The UW ended up doing right by me.
May. 19th, 2016 10:04 pm (UTC)
Legal requirements aside, justice has been done. Signing up for the insurance now might be dubious, but that's not what you did.
May. 20th, 2016 01:22 pm (UTC)
Well, even though your prospects still look grim, I'm happy to see the silver lining on the dark cloud getting thicker and thicker. Every little thing helps!
May. 21st, 2016 01:23 am (UTC)
Good lord, the UW found it was at fault and admitted it and worked out a solution. If i weren't already sitting down i'd need to. Congrats!
May. 21st, 2016 03:08 am (UTC)
Hey, I tried to send you email a while back, but maybe I had an old address. If you'd like a copy of the new Chunga, I need an address to mail it to, because I can't use campus mail any more. Are you at Wiscon?
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )

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