Northwestern Mutual is a popular provider of disability insurance, life insurance, annuities, and other insurance services.  Long-term disability (LTD) insurance with Northwestern Mutual is supposed to assist you after becoming disabled due to an injury or medical condition.

Northwestern Mutual's LTD policies cover a portion of your wages if you meet the policy definition of disabled.  However, Northwestern Mutual sometimes denies long-term disability benefits to claimants even though they are disabled.  If you've received a denial letter from Northwestern Mutual, don’t give up.  Here’s how we can help: 

Our long-term disability attorney will review your Northwestern Mutual denial letter for free and provide a strategy on how to get your benefits reinstated.  To get your free LTD denial letter review started, call our experienced long-term disability attorney at the Law Office of Kevin McManus at 816-203-0143 or contact us through our website email or chat.

Remember, you must act quickly Short deadlines apply.  Contact us today. We’re here to help!

About Northwestern Mutual Long-Term Disability Insurance

If your employer offers a Northwestern Mutual disability policy as a group benefit, your disability claim most likely falls under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA).  ERISA is a federal law that was supposed to make it easier for consumers to get disability insurance. But the truth is that ERISA tilts the scales in favor of the insurance company.

For example, many Northwestern Mutual LTD polices have language that provide long-term disability coverage if the employee is unable to perform their own occupation.  However, the duration of this “own occupation” coverage is limited to 24 months. The employee's condition must then be reevaluated to see if there is "any occupation" the employee is capable of performing.

Northwestern Mutual will make a tremendous effort to identify any job that a claimant can perform so it can avoid paying a claim.

Why did Northwestern Mutual Deny Your Long-Term Disability Insurance Claim?

girl holding spiral note saying claim deniedNorthwestern Mutual may deny your long-term disability claim for several reasons.  Some of the most common reasons include:

Northwestern Mutual Cherry-Picked Your Medical Record

A medical reviewer hired by Northwestern Mutual will carefully review your medical records.  This doctor may say they are “independent,” but just remember who hired them.  These medical reviewers cherry-pick evidence favorable to their position and exploit any ambiguities to demonstrate that you do not have sufficient evidence to back up your LTD claim.

Your medical file is one of the most crucial elements of your long-term disability claim.  As with many long-term disability insurance providers, Northwestern Mutual will typically only review your “paper” file and not have doctors examine you in person.

If you haven't seen a doctor in a while, Northwestern Mutual may use that against you.  Have a medical condition that is hard to diagnose?  Your medical history should include not simply a diagnosis but also objective evidence as to how it prevents you from engaging certain essential duties or job functions.

Even if you get approved, Northwestern Mutual will continue to review your medical records and request information. After being granted disability, claimants who stop going to their routine medical visits risk having their benefits terminated.

Missed Deadlines

A missed deadline, even by a day, may result in your LTD claim being denied or the waiver of the right to appeal a termination. This is even more important if your long-term disability claim falls under the strict ERISA deadlines that apply to group plans.

Failure to Meet Your Policy's Definition of Disability

Your policy's definition of disability specifies the conditions that must be met for your condition to qualify for benefits. Usually, this definition will be for your "own occupation" or "any occupation".

There’s a big difference between these definitions in a Northwestern Mutual LTD policy.  To meet the requirements for the own occupation definition, you must be unable to carry out your own occupation.  To meet the requirements for the any occupation definition, you must be unable to carry out any occupation whatsoever.

Northwestern Mutual will deny your LTD claim if you are unable to demonstrate that your condition satisfies the policy's definition of disability.

Northwestern Mutual Used Active Surveillance On You

LTD insurance companies are known to hire private investigators to monitor claimants. Their hope is that they will catch you doing something that will undermine your disability claim.  Hired private investigators may videotape you, track you with GPS, or spy around your house.

Your social media could also be monitored. Northwestern Mutual may deny your LTD benefits if even the slightest and often out-of-context evidence is inconsistent with your claim.

How to Appeal a Northwestern Mutual Long-Term Disability Claim Denial?

Understanding why your long-term disability claim was rejected is critical to developing a strong LTD appeal. Our experienced long-term disability attorney can help you.  If your policy falls under ERISA, we will need to provide substantial evidence of your disability to get a denial overturned.  All information needs to be provided during the administrative appeal because ERISA bars you from providing additional evidence after the first appeal filing, and if your case proceeds to litigation.

Presenting a Symptom Journal

A symptom or pain journal can be a practical addition to your evidence as it provides clearer insight into how your impairment affects you daily.  Many disabilities, especially those involving musculoskeletal injuries or persistent pain, can wax and wane. For instance, you could feel well enough to work a full eight hours on Monday but be unable to get out of bed two days later. Even though you feel and operate normally on your good days, keeping note of these trends might demonstrate to Northwestern Mutual that you cannot maintain steady employment.

Submitting an Attending Physician Statement

The attending physician statement is a crucial component of your benefits claim. This is a detailed explanation of how your impairment affects your ability to work. This statement helps Northwestern Mutual qualify whether your policy's definition of "disability" applies to you.

Provide Recent Medical Evidence

Make sure you compile your most recent medical evidence. This entails scheduling extra doctor visits, getting the latest medical records, or undergoing a reevaluation.

Consulting a Vocational Expert

Consult a vocational expert to offer evidence on how your condition prevents you from performing the mental or physical requirements of your work.

Finally, to ensure the best results, reach out to our experienced long-term disability attorney to go over the specifics of your claim denial and streamline the appeals process.  We'll provide a free denial letter review and strategy to move forward.  Call us today at 816-203-0143.

Get Help With Your Northwestern Mutual Appeal From Our Long-Term Disability Attorney

Even federal judges have pointed out that ERISA is overly complicated and full of so many pitfalls that unrepresented claimants are at a distinct disadvantage.  Our experienced long-term disability lawyer will be on your side to help you get the benefits you deserve.

Call our office today at 816-203-0143 or through our website email or chat to schedule a free review of your long-term disability denial letter.  You can also instantly download our LTD free guide on learning how to fight back after a denial.  We're here to help, and on your side!


Kevin J. McManus
Connect with me
Kevin McManus is an accident injury and disability lawyer in Kansas City, MO, and Overland Park, KS