Facebook Photos Cost Woman Disability Benefits

BROMONT, Quebec (WBBM) — A Quebec woman is no longer receiving disability checks from her insurance company, and Facebook is one of the reasons for the interference.

As WBBM Newsradio 780’s Mary Frances Bragiel reports, Nathalie Blanchard suffers from depression. As a result, she took a medical leave 3 years ago from her job as a technician, and had been receiving monthly disability checks.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s Mary Frances Bragiel reports

That was until she allegedly began posting photos of herself on Facebook socializing at the beach and in a pub.

Her insurance carrier, Manulife Financial, got a look at the photos, and stopped sending out the checks because according to the company attorney, Blanchard is depression free and able to work.

Blanchard is now suing the insurance company, according to the Chicago Tribune.

But the company says it would not terminate a valid claim based solely on information published on social networking sites.

  • Robyn Medder

    This doesn’t relate to me I have memory problems. Brain surgery due to cancer of the brain. I wonder if Liberty cut me off because they saw me swimming or working out. I need to read the instructions on the work out machne every time I use it even though i have worked out for 2 yrs. But don’t ask me whta I did 2 hrs ago.

    • Robyn Winkelman Medder

      O1 more thing I wa driving even thogh the dr restricted me . after turning in front of two cars and almost having an accident my hubby and daughter talked me into not driving

      • Robyn Winkelman Medder

        yep but liberty is not pying their part..they r upset i didn’t use threr attys there atty would collect fees to push it through they wanted me 2 once i got the ss they felt i wasn’t elibable they r made because i did not use their atys

      • Robyn Winkelman Medder

        all i ask for help before i loose my house and live on lower wacker dr

  • Tribe_Has_Spoken

    Having known many people with mental illness, it might come as a surprise to some that you can smile, appear to have a good time AND be depressed too. If the insurance company comes to the conclusion that she’s no longer depressed, they should have more proof than a picture or two on facebook.

  • Barbara

    I agree tribe. It’s not like she has an extensive knee injury, and they take her benefits away because she’s pictured on a competitve basketball team. What does depression look like? Should all depressed people be pictured with a frown and a face of dejection? If so, why is it that so many people try to commit suicide with no obvious symptoms?

  • Robbin

    I have depresstion, I take med’s it helps (not 100% but helps). I do NOt collect disability or get Insurance money. i live off of my hubby whom i aprecate and am greatful for and to.
    I can see her seeming happy if she is on med’s that dosen’t mean she is or that she is cured But i don’t feel a ins. co should be paying her. After all you don;t get depresstion from a job. it’s a body chemical imbalance. It just happens like diabites happens. We don’t cause it our self and no one can give it to us. If Canada has disability maybe that maybe but not her insurance.
    I have not done well in jobs i have worked in my past. people don’t seem to like me and/or complane about how i comunicate. So ….. Keeping a job is hard.

    • Robbin

      Ps I live in the US so I don’t know how Canada works.

  • Robyn Winkelman Medder

    funny how Liberty wanted me to go through them to get social securty benefits and use there attys. And they would continue my disability benefits and deducted what ss would pqy. I wmt through my house of rep per recommendations so i did not have to pat attorney fees. and soc. sec gave me bebefits but libertyt feels i can return to work I was a insurance Claoms mgr for a Lg Const Co they let me go they claim it was due to lack of work… never mind i had over 20 vlaims and the person who is handinging now had approx 10 ins. claims to handle. and she had no experience for the insurance claims i handled.

  • Robyn Winkelman Medder

    i also am receiving social sec. disability benefits but iam not disabled according to liberty. i have story for eberyone to read that w3as written to a news pper reporter iif u want o read it send me you email addres ane i will forwardit on. that wiill explain everyting.

  • GreatArticle

    depressed??? Im depressed every time I have to show up to work, send me a check so I can go to the pub!

  • The Light

    To GreatArticle – Perhaps you should read a book or two on mental illness – you uneducated, compassionless oaf.

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    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by CBS 2 Chicago, WBBM Newsradio 780, Arella Swan, windycitynews, Melanie Moon and others. Melanie Moon said: Facebook Photos Cost Woman Disability Benefits http://ow.ly/1b1qsi […]

  • Ralph Kramden

    Give me a break. Whats she supposed to do? Have pictures of herself on facebook with a noose around her neck.

  • willie

    when you exspose yourself on any internet information viewer screen be it facebook or antoither yoiu are to be scrutizied by any company,any goverment office, or anything pretaining to monies,insu8rance payments. Depresion is ver trickey it appears okay one minute, depresstive the next it depends on what tiu are suffering from., manic, homicial, sucideal, biopolair. Becareful what you say who is and is not qualified for benefits, everyone does not have a husband or family to fall back on. Some peopleshould think before writing. Once again stay off of facebook for your safety and welfare.

    • Robbin

      What i ment to say is disability as in SS disability is what she should be on rather then work insurance. But i don’t know if Canada has SS or any kind of gov disability. that was what my maybe ment.
      Sorry i’m not good with words or spelling.

  • John

    DOES their company lawyer have a license to practice Psychiatry in the province of Quebec? How is he qualified to say she is no longer depressed? She may be socializing to help in her recovery. It’s good for the spirit to get out. So she’s now supposed to mope around the house like a depressed person???

  • Jaye

    Even with depression…some people use socializing/drinking as self-medication….that doesn’t mean that she’s not depressed….that insurance company just doesn’t want to pay benefits…and it happens in America as well; not just in Quebec.

    • Robyn Winkelman Medder

      Yep all insurance companies in America don’t want to pay !!! see what has happened to me

      A Tale Of Three Sisters
      > No person or family is immune from the effects of a
      > catastrophic illness or injury. It can hit anyone at
      > anytime, but where a person happens to live has a great deal
      > to do with additional problems that arise in conjunction
      > with an infirmity. The following is the story of three
      > sisters who have experienced differing and distinct medical
      > problems. They grew up in the United States, but now live in
      > three separate countries. The United States, Canada and
      > Great Britain. Each woman is smart, educated, industrious
      > and personable.
      > There is competent to exceptional medical care to be had in
      > all industrialized nations. One doctor may be better or
      > worse than his colleagues, a given hospital may be
      > outstanding and another simply adequate, or worse. But in
      > only one industrialized country can a person and family be
      > left financially destitute because of an ailment. The United
      > States. That is as true now as it was five years ago.
      > Robyn
      > Robyn Winkelman Medder lives in the United States and is
      > suffering from brain cancer, which is now in remission. She
      > has had good care until recently, but is finding it very
      > difficult to continue that care. It is becoming cost
      > prohibitive. The illness has made it impossible for her to
      > continue working as a claims manager at one of the
      > country’s largest construction companies. Besides the
      > obvious time off for cancer treatments, she also suffers
      > from diminished brain functions which make working in her
      > chosen career impossible. She has been laid off from her job
      > and is now dealing with COBRA payments that set the family
      > back about $1,700.00 dollars per month. Her husband of
      > twenty years is retired and Robyn is now on Supplemental
      > Security Income. After COBRA and the mortgage are paid, the
      > family of four has less than $600.00 dollars left to pay for
      > food, car insurance, gas and all utilities. They have
      > already declared bankruptcy once and are very close
      > to losing their home.
      > Robyn grew up in the south suburbs of Chicago during the
      > 1960’s and 1970’s. Her first job was selling inflatable
      > furniture at the age of twelve. When economic hard times hit
      > in the early 1980’s, Robyn joined the Army Reserves in
      > order to stay off unemployment and continue working. She has
      > worked consistently from that time until her brain surgery
      > in April of 2008. Robyn’s family was close emotionally,
      > but the siblings were several years apart in age. Hard work
      > and the value of education were always stressed by her
      > parents and as a result, all family members had good careers
      > and remained close throughout adulthood. Robyn and her
      > husband had their latter years planned out and were on track
      > to having their plans realized when a routine scan was done
      > prior to sinus surgery in 2005.
      > Robyn, her husband and their youngest son and youngest
      > daughter now live in a more rural area southwest of Chicago.
      > Their house is a two story home with a gable roof, front and
      > back yard and a small front porch. They bought the house in
      > a nice area and were happy about where their two youngest
      > children were being raised. Robyn’s husband, named Wilson,
      > – who is sixteen years older than Robyn – was able to
      > retire from the railroad in 2002, at the age of sixty. He
      > had some health issues, a bad back, problems with his legs,
      > and suffered from myasthenia gravis; and working aggravated
      > the difficulties. Robyn was making enough money by this time
      > to allow him to retire a few years early and stay home with
      > the children.
      > Following the normal stages of grief, Robyn’s first
      > reaction upon being told of the anomalies on her sinus scan,
      > was denial. “This has to be a problem with my sinuses,
      > that’s what they’re seeing. I’m sure it’s
      > nothing.” She had those and many other thoughts that put
      > off the inevitable acceptance. She was reading articles on
      > the Internet that confirmed what she wanted to believe –
      > that sometimes sinus problems were misdiagnosed as brain
      > cancer. Robyn decided to have the sinus surgery and see if
      > that would resolve what the doctor had seen on the scan. She
      > talked to her family and they agreed on that compromise; but
      > shortly after that hospital visit, Robyn’s husband
      > experienced an infection aggravated by the myasthenia gravis
      > and spent forty-nine days in the hospital, in and out of
      > ICU. This delayed her surgery further, she continued to
      > work, but eventually she had the surgery. During the time
      > between the first scan and the surgery, Robyn
      > was quick to anger and had problems with her memory. Her
      > friends and family noticed personality changes and became
      > aware of behaviors that were out of character for her. It
      > got to the point where previously very close step-children
      > no longer wanted to speak to her.
      > Robyn had the surgery and was out of work for six months.
      > Her surgeon described the cancer as forming a “spider
      > web” on the left side of her brain. She has now lost many
      > of the cognitive skills that she has taken for granted her
      > entire life. The quickness to anger was gone after the
      > surgery, but simple tasks are now more difficult and much of
      > her short-term memory is gone – many times forgetting what
      > year it is, for example. Even in this state of reduced
      > mental capacity Robyn talked her doctor into allowing her to
      > return to work. She was able to convince the doctor,
      > rightly, that she could not afford the medical treatments
      > and simultaneously support her family on disability alone.
      > But within a few months, it was obvious that Robyn did not
      > have the mental faculties to continue working in her career.
      > Robyn’s family was very lucky to have neighbors who helped
      > with meals and cleaning after the surgery, but Robyn also
      > needed the type of help even
      > the best of neighbors can’t provide.
      > After being laid off from her job, Robyn and her family
      > were beset by an entirely new collection of problems. Her
      > six thousand dollar severance pay was quickly deducted from
      > her long-term disability payments. She battled with the
      > Social Security Office, eventually needing her congressional
      > representative’s help in securing benefits. Then came the
      > battles with her insurance company, Liberty Mutual, who now
      > claimed she wasn’t really disabled and has cut off her
      > long-term disability payments. Robyn is also being told that
      > she doesn’t qualify for Medicaid, because her husband’s
      > pension puts them over the cutoff limit. Within the last
      > year, Robyn’s family has gone through their savings,
      > declared bankruptcy and given up one of their two cars. The
      > family is also on track to lose their home soon. Robyn is
      > scheduled for MRI scans every four months to evaluate her
      > progress, or lack thereof. According to Robyn, that may not
      > be possible unless something
      > drastically changes with their finances.
      > Holly
      > Holly Winkelman Dalfen is Robyn Medder’s sister and is
      > living just outside of London. The house Holly lives in is a
      > brown colored 2 up 2 down, built in the nineteenth century.
      > She grew up in Homewood, Illinois and attended the same high
      > school as Robyn, just seven years prior to her younger
      > sister’s class. She met her husband, a British national,
      > in Israel before moving to his native land in 1979. Holly
      > and her husband are now divorced, but she plans to remain in
      > Great Britain. The main reason she gives for continuing to
      > live abroad is the cost of health care in the United States.
      > Soon after arriving in Britain, Holly’s husband suffered
      > a heart attack. He was thirty-two at the time. Five years
      > later he had open-heart surgery and continues to have heart
      > problems to this day. Although this causes many worries for
      > him and his family, financial ruin due to heath care costs
      > is not one of them. Holly has had asthma her entire life and
      > is paying seven pounds thirty or a little over eleven
      > dollars U.S. for her medication. The cost of the medication
      > she is prescribed would be eighty pounds, or about one
      > hundred and twenty-five dollars U.S. if paid for out of
      > pocket.
      > According to Holly, the National Health Services (NHS) has
      > some problems, or more accurately, minor inconveniences. For
      > instance, it sometimes takes a week or two for a
      > non-emergency appointment. The time involved for being seen
      > by a doctor varies from location to location, of course, but
      > the wait is never unduly long. Emergencies are taken in
      > immediately. In Holly’s case, being seen for her asthma is
      > routine and causes no difficulty. There is also private
      > insurance offered at many places of employment and for those
      > who can afford the extra cost, but it covers electives,
      > cosmetics and offers private rooms for hospital stays. Basic
      > medical care and emergencies are covered by NHS.
      > Holly worked in Information Technology for twenty-five
      > years before changing careers and working for the school
      > system. Now she is involved in ensuring that the high school
      > she works for stays on budget and guaranties the school does
      > not lose government funding. Certain programs required by
      > the government necessitate the need for community
      > participation by the school and it is Holly’s job to
      > ensure they stay on track. One of the reasons Holly changed
      > her career was the lack of security in IT. She had been laid
      > off twice in her twenty-five year; the last time forced her
      > to look for a career that was dependable and not subject to
      > market fluctuations. The first time Holly was laid off from
      > her job was twelve years into her career. It took two years
      > to find a new position and during that time she was on
      > unemployment. During that two year time period she broke her
      > ankle. The hospital bill, including subsequent visits, like
      > her husband’s procedures
      > before, cost her nothing out of pocket. The stress she was
      > feeling due to the lack of employment was not compounded by
      > medical bills she could not afford.
      > Dawn
      > Dawn Winkelman Fuller is the oldest of the three Winkelman
      > sisters. She has lived in Canada with her husband Chuck, a
      > native of Louisiana since 1977. They met at Southern
      > Illinois University while Chuck was teaching a class taken
      > by Dawn’s younger sister, Holly. Dawn and her husband went
      > through what would be a nightmare for any parent. And this
      > nightmare went on for years. Dawn’s son, Joshua, was born
      > in1979 with numerous heart defects. Her family’s story is
      > laid out in detail in Dawn’s book titled, The Heart of
      > Joshua. Joshua was born with a ventricular septal defect,
      > which are holes separating the left and right ventricles of
      > the heart; and an arterial septal defect, which is a defect
      > in the wall of the upper heart chambers. There was also a
      > distorted mitral valve – the
      > valve situated between the left atrium and the left
      > ventricle of the heart. The most serious defect was a
      > coarctation of the aorta, which is a narrowing of the aorta.
      > Joshua’s first operation happened at just six weeks of age
      > and his last happened at the age of nineteen. Joshua spent
      > the majority of his first two and a half years of life in
      > the hospital. There were four operations by the time Joshua
      > was six months old. The longest time out of the hospital
      > during that period was six weeks. While not in the hospital,
      > he was seen by his general practitioner each week. The cost
      > to the family for all that care was zero dollars.
      > Once when Dawn’s son was in cardiac surgery and her
      > mother was visiting for support, Dawn and her mother,
      > Judith, shared a waiting room with two other women whose
      > husbands were also having cardiac surgery. Judith leaned
      > into Dawn and said, “I feel sorrier for that woman over
      > there.” “Why her, they’re both going through the same
      > thing?” Dawn said. “Well, she obviously can’t afford
      > as good a doctor as the other lady,” Judith answered.
      > “Mom, you’re not in the United States now, they’ll
      > both get the same care.” Dawn’s mother had what Dawn
      > describes as a “typical American attitude.” “People
      > just accept that your economic situation determines your
      > level of care. It’s not right.” She said that people in
      > Canada receive some television and radio programs from the
      > United States. She also added that the picture many people
      > in the U.S. have of Canada’s health care system is
      > incorrect. Canadians like Dawn witnessed the debate
      > over health care in the United States and was discouraged
      > by the falsehoods perpetuated concerning Canada’s system.
      > She has always been able to choose her doctor, and she has
      > never heard of a case where someone had to wait for
      > emergency care.
      > Dawn is a therapist who holds a Master’s degree and her
      > husband
      > Chuck is an audiologist. They now live in a very nice house
      > on a three quarter acre lot, just a five minute drive from
      > some beautiful wilderness areas. Both are highly educated
      > and would make a good living in any industrialized nation,
      > but in Dawn’s words, moving back to the United States
      > “would have been economic suicide.” It was hard enough
      > to deal with a child on the edge of life, without having to
      > also worry about bankruptcy and economic ruin. “There
      > wasn’t a day that went by that we didn’t thank God we
      > now lived in Canada,” Dawn said. Dawn is strong and she is
      > the type of person that faces problems head on. She has
      > worked in groups that fight violence against women, setting
      > up homes for those battered women that need a place to stay.
      > She also helped in Chilliwack’s fight to keep out the
      > Aryan Nation when they announced their desire to build a
      > church locally. The successful formula that Chilliwack used
      > facing Nazi’s instead of
      > ignoring them is now used as a model throughout Canada.
      > But Dawn doesn’t know how she would have fared while
      > dealing with two of life’s toughest problems thrown at her
      > simultaneously. Joshua is now doing fine at thirty-one years
      > of age. Dawn and Chuck are also doing fine, and according to
      > Dawn, this is due to the Canadian health care system.
      > Otherwise, they still would not have recovered financially.
      > Summary:
      > Robyn was known for her competence and professionalism on
      > the job. One attorney had even given her a nickname that
      > stuck. “Right again, SWAMBO,” he said. “What does that
      > mean?” Robyn asked. “She Who Always Must Be Obeyed.”
      > There was never a question of desire to continue working,
      > only ability. Her position, which dealt with insurance,
      > offered not only medical coverage, but long-term disability,
      > also. It seemed to Robyn and Wilson that they were prepared
      > for any eventuality. But that was not the case. Her story
      > could happen to anyone, anywhere, but the repercussions
      > would be different in different locations. The financial
      > ruin that Robyn and her family are experiencing would not
      > happen to either of her sisters who live abroad. The
      > Constitution states that it is the government’s function
      > to promote the general welfare, and it is our charge to hold
      > our government to account.
      > John Mathieu
      > San Pedro, California

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  • John

    Robbin, most, if not all, disability insurance carriers require their insureds to apply for and pursue SSA disability payments and have it in their contracts that once the Social Security Administration starts paying the insured, they get to curtail or stop completely their payments to the insured person. My feeling is, it is NOT the government’s job to keep private insurance from having to pay a claim.

    • Robyn Winkelman Medder

      john you r entitled to your opinion… but let me explain, The insurance company wanted me to hire their atys once i was denied SS benefits i was denied 2x. They wanted me to do that so they cold acitvate ss. then they would collect aty fees by deducting money from my ss disabilit y benefits The Long Term Disability co said they would continue making up the difference until i turn 60.

      if the gov felt i am unable to work then why do they liberty feel i can work.i am sure they felkt i could not work if they wanted me 2 get their atys involved

      • John

        Robyn, THEY ALL do exactly what you describe in an effort to shift the burden to the Federal Government, rather then paying the disability claims themselves. And no, regular health care insurance companies is NOT what’s being discussed, it’s disability insurance providers. They all want you to apply for Social Security disability, and they want you to use their lawyers. The lawyers, WHOEVER you pick – theirs or your own private law firm – , have a right to collect their fees from you by deducting from the first benefit check. Their fees are limited by law, and they are allowed to to do this. I wasn’t stating an opinion, I was stating the facts as I know them. I have experience with these matters, and it’s NOT A FUN PROCESS in the least. Good luck in your quest.

    • Robbin

      I though she was getting it from a reg health ins. co. that she has from or thro her job. I guess i just don’t understand

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