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I am receiving Catostrophic Benefit payments from UNUM. I will never work again, does UNUM ever offer Payouts

Murfreesboro, TN |

I receive $3,708 per month, 44 yrs, and we are planning that I am going to be on until 65

Attorney Answers 4


  1. You could make them an offer, but I would suggest that you retain counsel to make the process is as much to your benefit as possible and explain the tax consequences to you, etc. You also could seek out other firms that offer such lump sum payouts in exchange for receiving your monthly benefits, but again you should get some competent advice while doing so.

    Disclaimer Information on this site is provided by Brian Scott Wayson as general information, not legal advice, and use of this information does not establish an attorney-client relationship. If you have questions about your specific situation, please call an attorney.


  2. There are many firms that buy out monthly payments but you should seek the advice of an attorney prior to accepting any deal. You usually will receive a substantially reduced amount.


  3. You can sell a structured settlement to a finance firm like Peachtree or Wentworth, but the payment will be far lower than the structure. You NEED legal advice before selling a structure since you can really get burned.

    Lawrence Friedman, Bridgewater, NJ. Certified as an Elder Law Attorney by the ABA approved National Elder Law Foundation, former Chair NJ State Bar Association Elder and Disabilities Law Section, Member Board of Consultors of NJSBA Real Property, Trusts & Estates Law Section, Vice Chair Special Needs Law Section of National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, and Master of Laws (LL.M.) in Taxation from N.Y.U. School of Law. Visit SpecialNeedsNJ.com for articles and Q&A on elder law, special needs, wills, trusts, estates, and tax. Visit SpecialNeedsNJ.com/blog and subscribe for free timely updates to be delivered to your inbox. Information on both Avvo and SpecialNeedsNJ.com does not constitute legal advice, as it is general in nature and may not apply to your situation or be subject to important changes. No attorney client relationship exists unless set forth in written engagement terms.

    Lawrence Friedman, Bridgewater, NJ. Certified as an Elder Law Attorney by the ABA approved National Elder Law Foundation, former Chair NJ State Bar Association Elder and Disabilities Law Section, Member Board of Consultors of NJSBA Real Property, Trusts & Estates Law Section, Vice Chair Special Needs Law Section of National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, and Master of Laws (LL.M.) in Taxation from N.Y.U. School of Law. Visit SpecialNeedsNJ.com for articles and Q&A on elder law, special needs, wills, trusts, estates, and tax. Visit SpecialNeedsNJ.com/blog and subscribe for free timely updates to be delivered to your inbox. Information on both Avvo and SpecialNeedsNJ.com does not constitute legal advice, as it is general in nature and may not apply to your situation or be subject to important changes. No attorney client relationship exists unless set forth in written engagement terms.


  4. Unum does sometimes settle claims to ongoing benefits like you're describing. Most of my practice involves representing people who are trying to appeal an LTD denial, but I have done a few buy-out negotiations for people on claim, some of them with Unum. If I recall, Unum did insist that the claimant have an attorney, and they did agree to pay something towards their attorney's fee.

    A couple of things to think about, though. First, you should know that according to Unum's internal guidelines, the mere act of bringing up a buy-out is a red flag on your case. It suggests to them that you may not want them scrutinizing your case heavily in the future (because you're going to die, or you're going to recover, or you've already recovered) - in other words, that there would be some reason they wouldn't have to pay you to age 65, which is why you would want to cash out early. Sometimes asking for a buy-out offer prompts them to do surveillance, and medical exams, and anything else they can do, and that sometimes results in a denial, rather than a buy-out.

    If you're OK with taking that risk, you also have to consider that they won't pay you everything you might think they owe you. Everyone takes some risk with a buy-out, and no one is sure what will happen in the future, so they never pay 100%. Usually, they will pay somewhere between 65 - 75% of the "present value" of your claim. If you're not familiar with the concept, "present value" is kind of like reverse interest. When someone owes you money in the past, and you consider interest, they owe you more money now. When someone owes you money in the future, and you consider interest, they owe you less money now. Plugging your numbers into a present value calculator with a 4% APR (which is in the neighborhood of where Unum will usually negotiate), it looks like the present value of your claim is about $630,000. If they settled with you at around the same percentage range I've seen in the past (maybe 70%), then they might make you a deal to close your claim in exchange for $441,000.

    Of course, there are a lot of variables with that. The cold reality of this field is that, the worse your condition is, the less they might pay you. After all, if your condition has a better-than-average chance of killing you before you reach age 65, then Unum would not have to pay all those benefits, and they would want to adjust the deal. If your condition is not that bad, Unum may think you'll recover before age 65, and again they'll want to pay less. If this all sounds like something you want to get yourself into, and the numbers I described above are in the range of what you think you might take in a settlement, then I'd advise you to speak to a lawyer who can help you make the opening offer to Unum.

    Jeremy Bordelon is a licensed attorney in the State of Tennessee only, and is authorized to practice in all Tennessee State and Federal courts, and before the Social Security Administration in any jurisdiction. The answers provided on Avvo.com are for information purposes only, and should not be relied on as legal advice. This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship between us. In some jurisdictions, this answer may be construed as attorney advertising.

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