My husband received his retroactive back pay from Social Security. He was supposed to forward it to Cigna, as repayment for overpayment of long term disability received from Cigna.
We were losing our home so we kept the money and paid our mortgages and bills instead of giving it back to Cigna. What can we expect the consequences from Cigna to be?
Brenda from Nashville, TN
By Brenda Moss
By brenda moss (Guest Post) 02/05/2008 Flag
Thank you, I will do that, but a little nervous. What do you think social security will tell me? Any idea? Thank you
Sorry to hear you are having troubles, but you are one of the many who almost lost their house. Right now it is a big thing with mortgages, and the banks who lent the money are working to help people in trouble. The banks do not want to see you forclose, and will help if they can. Like the other post said, call SS or your house lender and see if there is something they can suggest.
Call Cigna and ask can you make payments on the amount. I had to repay UNUM when I got my Social Sercurity Disability back pay and they kept my check from them(UNUM) until it was paid in full and now I receive my check from UNUM until I turn 67; I went out (of work) on long-term disability and that is why I still get a check from UNUM and Social Sercurity Disability.
By Brenda moss (Guest Post) 02/07/2008 Flag
Thank you for your feedback. Cigna (long term) sent hubby for a 4 hour capacity evaluation test and then determined that they don't consider him to be disabled anymore, so they dropped his long term completely. I don't know how Social Security can consider him to be disabled, but Cigna now says he is not disabled. It's also funny that Cigna dropped him right after he was approved for Social security. I'm debating if it would even be worth it to appeal Cigna's decision. Who's to say if we win the appeal that they would not just turn around, make him go through that awful 4 hour test again (that really hurt him) and then drop him again? At this point we really have no extra money to make payments to them. The most we could offer would be about $25 a month. We are really in bad shape. The mortgage company will not help. I have tried. I wish we didn't have a 2nd mortgage. That is what's killing our finances. Don't ever get a 2nd mortgage. If we can't pay them back, can they take our home? or, what's the worst they can do to us?
I'm so worried. I keep chickening out about calling social security about it.
I mainly wanted to let you know you are not alone. I know that's not a lot of help, but sometimes it makes me feel better to know that others can relate.
I think I WOULD consider appealing Cigna's decision. I worked at DHS as a counselor for years and know how difficult it can be to meet SSA disability criteria; therefore, Cigna seems to be pushing their luck by contradicting SSA's approval. I think your chances would be good with an appeal.
As a last resort, which I'm sure you've already considered, is bankruptcy. All I can advise there is that there are different kinds (Chapter 7, Chapter 13, etc.). The differences are that some types allow you to keep your home & other necessities while other types do not.
I do wish you and your family the best of luck!
Was/is your husband in a union of any sort? If so, call his union steward. They should have attorney's on board that would give advice. If not, there are atty's that specialize in getting SS disability - I know SS approved him, but they will usually give you a free consultation. Tell him the whole story and see what his suggestions are. Some of them work on commission, so even if you ended up having to pay him it'd be only part of what Cigna is requesting you pay back.
Dinkly (who's not a fan of Personal Injury Atty's, but figure if the consult is free why not give it a try)
Leah and Dinkly, You have given me the courage to go forward and appeal Cigna's decision (unless i have to hire an attorney and if it's too expensive to appeal). In that case. I don't know. But, yes it is comforting to know that you can relate and care enough to respond. Leah, what is "DHS"? (where you used to work). Dinkly, unfortunately my husband was not with a union. I can't find ANYONE who has kept the Social Security retro payment. Are we the only ones who have ever done that? I keep hoping to find someone who has experienced this and can say "yes, we kept the money and this is what happened".
We tried filing bankruptcy. The attorney advised against it because our 'bankruptcy payment' would almost be as high as our normal 'outgoing money' is now. He said it wouldn't help much in our case.
I'd be scared to call SS too, if I were you! But remember THIS, as long as you keep up the payments on your home's 2 mortgages they CAN'T take your home. EVEN if you go bankrupt! (maybe calling a bankruptcy lawyer would be a good idea?)
* If you belong to a church or synagogue, ask the pastor if there's a lawyer in your congregation that may offer his (or her) services to you (for free) as a tithe to the church? OR, maybe put up a "Barter" add on Craig's list & barter for a lawyer.
Have you considered a reverse mortgage? NO, your kids wouldn't inherent your home. BUT, you might get enough money to repay your 2nd mortgage & also enough to pay back that money you owe. Depends on how much money you have in equity.
* Before calling SS, first call a lawyer & ask for a consultation. Even IF you have to pay him, It's worth the $100. Borrow the money for a one-time visit to an SS lawyer if you have to. Just, at least, call them & see if the lawyer will call you back (maybe for free?) There's always legal aid too. Call the Salvation Army & ask them about help paying for a lawyer or a free one... (or go in to a church & tell your story to the pastor, like I said above)
The main problem you have NOW is those guys you owe money to are probably charging you MASSIVE amounts of interest, & if it goes on for long you'll NEVER be able to repay them & you'll just be able to barely pay "interest only" to them all your life.. Until you die & they take your house for the rest of the money you owe? So think about this too... If they offer "the low payment option" be sure to ask about interest!
About SS. Go to a pay phone or a phone in the lobby of a hotel. Tell them you don't want to give you name, you just want answers to your questions!. (nothing says you HAVE to give your name to them!) & remember EVEN if you Block your number (if you call from home) EVERY TIME you call an 800 number or an 888 or ANY toll free number, they ALWAYS KNOW the number you are calling from! So if you're unsure about calling them, use a phone in a nice hotel or a pay phone... You may need a phone card, but I'm pretty sure it's a toll-free call (to SS from a lobby phone). You can always give them a fake name & pretend you don't have your SS number with you (& you don't know it by heart!).
One more option, If you don't want to hassle with a pay or lobby phone, go buy a phone card at a 7-11 or another convenience store with cash & use that to make the call. I live near Seattle & whenever I call my mom in Texas on my AT&T phone card it says (on her caller ID) that I'm calling from Colorado. (I think, because they re-route the call through their closest call-center) So there's an easier option for you a phone card will LET you call an 800 number. OR another option: those new "GO" cell phones are only $25 & I think 800 numbers might be free, but read the fine print, they usually give you 2 options with 2 prices.
DO NOT let them bully you for your name, just answer with: "I just want an answer to my questions!" You don't need my name (nicely). Or it's for a "friend", that I'm calling to ask... or wherever makes you feel good about making the call & not worry more than you already are!
By keishadog (Guest Post) 02/08/2008 Flag
Cyinda, wow... what a wonderfully detailed reply. Thank you for taking such time to offer suggestions. I DO have a calling card and will call SS from an outside location with my calling card.
I don't know why, but have always thought reverse mortgages were only for the elderly? I don't know a thing about them, but will definitely look into one. Our credit is slow and we have let 2 credit cards go completely, so that might interfere with trying to get a reverse mortgage?
We DO have equity in our home (about 20 - $25,000). So, how does the reverse mortgage work concerning "equity". Does the mortgage company just take the equity when you die or sell the property? just wondering how the equity ties in with the reverse mortgage?
I also wonder if, "In order to appeal, do I even have to have an attorney?" I suppose it would be in my husbands best interest to have an attorney.
Oh, I'm so tired of all of this red tape. Why does life have to always be so complicated and stressful! Thank you again!
You might want to consider a PrePaid legal Plan.
For a small monthly payment you have access to a law firm. They can answer you questions, many times with a free courtesy consult. If you need to use their services the fees are reduced usuall by 25%. I would suggest having an attorney help you with the appeal. Who told you that you were to pay the lump sum to Cigna? Was it Cigna or SS? Anyway the Prepaid legal we use is found at www.prepaidlegal.com. I hope this helps. I am also on SS disability and kept my back pay however I did not have another insurance company involved. I do not understand how Cigna can turn him down when SS has accepted his disability. Good luck, our prayers are with you,
By (Guest Post) 02/13/2008 Flag
Thank you for that info. I'm learning more and more every day. To answer your question: The SS retro check was made out and sent to my husband, and it was "Cigna" that said we have to pay it back to Cigna in exchange for the Long Term insurance (that Cigna has been paying to him for the past 2 years) and were supposed to pay him until he is 65, but dropped him the minute SS accepted him. It's not fair and our 'system' is ALL about money! Cigna says "their" interpretation of "disability" differs from "SS" description of disability.
Go here.....and all the best--pass the info around, may help others.
http://ltdclaims.blogspot.com/----go here--Determination on repayment --Often the SSA makes its claim determination long after the insurance company has paid benefits. The policies usually allow the insurance companies to offset retroactively the Social Security benefits. Paying the LTD benefits before the Social Security benefit is determined results in an overpayment. Since the insurance policy requires the claimants to repay the overpayment the insurance companies want to recover the money. However, the United States Supreme Court in Great-West Life & Annuity Ins. Co. v. Knudson, 534 U.S. 204, 122 S.Ct. 708 (2002) (See PDF page 391), issued a ruling that made it extremely difficult to sue a claimant who did not repay the overpayment.
might help and please repost if it does--all the best to you.
By sandra (Guest Post) 08/17/2008 Flag
The only thing cigna can do is send you to collections.
By john (Guest Post) 11/19/2008 Flag
Brenda If this is not to late file chapter 13. if your house value is less then what you owe on your 1st mortgage it will make your 2nd mortgage unsecured and a good attorney can have it stripped and you will never have to repay it. You can also include the amount to Cigna. I wish I saw your post 9 months ago.
Brenda, I know my response is a little late but as stated above, YOU ARE NOT ALONE. I'm in the same situation. I hope you and your husband are doing well and any advice would be apprecited.
What happened with the overpayment not going back to the ltd company? If you can tell me, it would be so helpful.
Thank you so much
Screw collections. Don't live on credit nor be dependent on it. Cigna cannot garnish Soc Sec payments. You can also appeal for a a hardship waiver and people have gotten it before. Bankruptcy is not something you want to do. I would rather have a collection ding on my report than BR. I went thru bankruptcy over different circumstances. You can even ask for a repayment plan. 25.00 a month will keep you off collections. But again, I don't live on credit, and I could care less what my score is. Good luck. I dont plan to pay them either. Its not right. I still have plenty of medical bills and more surgery to get well, and no insurance.
See this article about CIGNA wrongfully denying LTD claims and now settling with several states and agreeing to reconsider those claims.
http://www.diattorney.com/wp-conten ... 6/www-disabled-world-com-may2013.pdf