This website is an outgrowth of the internet discussion
Disinissues. We hope that it can serve as a gathering point for information and advice about
the process of applying for, appealing, and renewing disability insurance from
private Long-Term Disability insurers and the U.S. Social Security
Because the authors of this page have the disease CFIDS/M.E.
(chronic fatigue syndrome, chronic fatigue and immune dysfunction
syndrome, or Myalgic Encephalomyelitis), the website tends to emphasize
information of help to people with those and similar disorders. In
addition to CFIDS/M.E., we think this page can be of particular help to those
who suffer from Fibromyalgia, Multiple Chemical Sensitivities, Gulf War
Syndrome,Post-Polio Syndrome, Multiple Sclerosis, Lupus, and other
The page currently focuses on the United States legal and welfare
systems, but in time we hope to be able to add
or link to information for other nations.
All of these illnesses can impact severely the cognitive abilities of
the person affected. The complexity, red tape, and endless forms
required of the disability insurance system (both public and private)
places a special burden on those who are so disabled by these diseases
that they can no longer work. The patient finds himself/herself
in a situation that she/he never expected, and never desired -- and is
generally left to make their way through the maze alone.
This page has been constructed by patients who have been through
"the system," in the hopes it can help
others find their way. Opinions expressed about particular insurance
companies or the social security disability administration are those
of the specific essay authors and are not to be considered the
responsibility of the webmaster. In the interests of freedom of
speech, we do not believe that open discussion about insurance company
practices should be curtailed. If insurance companies
have alternate information, we will be delighted to post it.
We ask readers to take this information with a grain of salt; this is
intended as information and advice between friends and neighbors in
cyberspace. It is not, and cannot be, a list for formal legal advice.
Readers are always advised to consult a lawyer before
acting on any suggestions received here.
v. Intel -- U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, San Francisco, CA (filed
6/29/99) finds "Intel failed to comply with [ERISA] when it denied
Friedrich's claim for long term disability benefits"; for Chronic Fatigue
Syndrome, upholding lower court decision granting Friedlich independent
"de novo"; review, which then approved her claim.
Judith Lang v. Standard Insurance -- Long-term Disability Insuror at fault in denying
claim that patient had fibromyalgia, a physical ailment, insisting instead she
suffered from "stress." -- California
vs. Eastman Kodak -- U.S. Appeals Court rules that "objective medical
evidence" unnecessary in awarding Long Term Disability if sufficient
objective evidence exists, medical or not.
vs. ITT and Met Life -- ERISA suit overturns the denial of Rebecca Ladd's
claim for disability benefits because, among other things, Met Life paid for an
attorney to help Ladd get Social Security Disability Insurance.
Ray A. O'Bryhim v Reliance Standard Life Insurance, 4th Cir. Virginia, 1999 --
Reliance lied to the court in the original District Court Hearing stating that claimaint was not
put under surveilence when in fact he had been, and Reliance disregarded the District court's
finding's of fact that Mr. O'Bryhim was disabled by CFS and the date of his disability. Reliance
changed the courts findings and paid Mr. O'Bryhim under the mental illness
portion of the plan so they could limit losses to two years. Court finds bad faith by Reliance and under
ERISA grants attorney fees to Mr. O'Bryhim plus decsion in his favor.
Jersey CFS Law, passed April 1999, establishes funds to create a program of
public awareness and health education, including a manual, that should be
useful for those seeking disability for CFS in that state.
ADA-Law@listserv.nodak.edu -- Discussion list
for legal queries and issues relating to the Americans with Disabilities Act;
for information on subscribing, write to the listowner, or send a
message with "subscribe ADA-Law [insert your name]" in the body to
The list is also available as a bulletin board.