Some health conditions become less disabling because of better medicines or other factors. That means that an employee collecting disability payments under a company disability plan may in fact recover enough to warrant cutting off benefits.
Recent case: Dierro Muniz has HIV and began collecting disability benefits in 1992. By 2005, the plan administrator believed Muniz was well enough to work and demanded proof he wasn’t.
Muniz sued when his benefits were cut, claiming that the burden of proving he was no longer disabled fell to the administrator. He said it was wrong to expect Muniz himself to prove he was still disabled when he had previously been deemed totally and permanently disabled.
The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals disagreed and upheld the benefit termination. (Muniz v. Amec Construction, No. 09-55689, 9th Cir., 2010)