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ERISA-Based Long Term Disability Benefit Claims & the Updated 2018 DOL Regulations

(161 reviews)

Produced on October 17, 2019

$ 89 Business, Corporate, & Securities and Disability & Social Security In Stock
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Course Information

Time 1h 1m
Difficulty Intermediate

Course Description

When an employer offers short and/or long term disability benefits as part of an ERISA (Employee Retirement Income Security Act) Welfare Benefit Plan, the laws and rules issued by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) including requirements for the processing of benefit claims, time parameters for when a decision must be rendered following the filing of a claim, and a claimant’s rights upon denial of a claim apply. On November 18, 2015, the DOL proposed rules revising then existing ERISA Claim regulations pertaining to disability benefits (29 C.F.R. § 2650). The comment period ended January 19, 2016. The proposed regulations were created to align with the goals and protections afforded under the Affordable Care Act to assure more fairness in claims processing. The final provisions became effective April 1, 2018. 

This course, led by Barbara Comerford, examines the basics of ERISA Long Term Disability Insurance in Welfare Benefit Plans, and examines the effect of the new DOL regulations and the DOL’s interpretation of those changes under the Code of Federal Regulations.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Review the basics of ERISA LTD claims
  2. Recognize the standards of review in ERISA LTD claims
  3. Address the relevant DOL rules and Interpretation of the new Code of  Federal Regulation provisions affecting ERISA LTD benefit claims, and case law

Credit Information

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Barbara B. Comerford

The Law Offices of Barbara B. Comerford

Barbara B. Comerford is an attorney in Paramus, New Jersey, whose firm represents ERISA Long Term Disability Insurance clients, and Social Security Disability clients throughout the United States and has for more than 25 years. She is a frequent lecturer on those topics and has conducted seminars throughout the years at the request of the American Bar Association, the New York and New Jersey Institutes of Continuing Legal Education, the Honorable Anne E. Thompson, American Inns of Court, the American Association of Administrative Law Judges (AALJ), the National Association of Social Security Disability Claimants (N.O.S.S.C.R), the American Trial Lawyers Association (now the American Association for Justice), and local Bar Associations.

Ms. Comerford has co-authored articles on Medically Documenting Disability in Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome for Frontiers Medical Journal (Frontiers in Pediatrics/Pediatric Neurology) https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fped.2019.00231/full; and Documenting disability in Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS) for the Journal WORK: Work 2020;66(2):339-352.doi: 10.3233/WOR-20 and cited at https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32568153/. She is currently working on an article for another medical journal on proving Long Haul COVID 19 cases. Ms. Comerford was recently quoted in an article published in August 2020 in Atlantic Magazine on Long Haul COVID 19 cases, https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2020/08/long-haulers-covid-19-recognition-support-groups-symptoms/615382/. She also co-authored the Chapter on Proving a CFS disability case for the first Physician Monograph ever in the United States which was jointly published by the New Jersey Academy of Medicine, the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services, and the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey.

Ms. Comerford has sat on a number of professional Boards including the American Association of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (now the International Association of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome-a medical research Board); the CFIDS Association of America, The New Jersey CFS Association, the Roy White Foundation, the Northeast New Jersey Legal Services Association, the Fair Housing Council of Northern New Jersey and the Lewis Sanks King Justice Fund.

Ms. Comerford and her senior associate, Sara Kaplan-Khodorovsky, represented the plaintiff Brian Vastag, the science writer for the Washington Post in VASTAG v. PRUDENTIAL INSURANCE COMPANY OF AMERICA, No. 2:2015cv06197 - Document 44 (D.N.J. 2018) before the Honorable Katherine Hayden. The plaintiffs prevailed in that case by carefully medically documenting symptoms and limitations in that chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia case. Ms. Comerford has represented hundreds of such claimants throughout her professional career.


Thomas B.

Generally excellent but some points could have been more clearly expressed.

Stacey W.

excellent presentation; strong materials.

Sheryl S.

Much better than I expected.

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