Leading the Way

Police officer leans on Unum during difficult time

When 14-year police veteran Chris Sciolino reported for duty in June 2014, the last thing he expected was to have an accident involving a knife on a gun range.

“It was just one of those random accidents that you’d never expect could happen to you,” he said. “The knife severed the nerve that runs along my trigger finger, which required surgery.”

Doctors performed two surgeries on his finger to repair the nerve damage. After the second surgery, Chris’s doctor gave him a 50/50 chance of recovery. Unfortunately, the odds were against him.

Unable to perform his duties, Chris had to retire early from the force in October 2015.

Anticipating his retirement, Chris said he was really scared about what was going to happen. “I didn’t know what I was going to do for work, so I was putting everything I could into savings.”

He also wasn’t aware that he even had a long term disability policy through his employer, until Unum disability benefits specialist Tracy Sawyer called him.

“Tracy called me, and we talked in length,” he said. “She answered my questions to help me understand the process, what I was eligible for and what I needed to do.”

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Because Chris was injured on the job, he’s receiving a worker’s compensation benefit. However, it’s not replacing as much of his salary as his employer-provided long term disability (LTD) coverage would, so his LTD is paying out the difference.

Knowing he could count on his monthly long term disability benefit took a lot of stress off of Chris.

“The thought did cross my mind that I would have to cash out an account reserved for my retirement,” he said. “Thankfully, I didn’t have to. I know sometime around the fifteenth of each month money is going to be deposited into my checking account, which is such a relief. I don’t have to worry about how I’m going to pay my mortgage and other bills.”

For many people who’ve been disabled, returning to a productive lifestyle may be a major goal. But knowing where to start can be a daunting task. Unum’s expert vocational rehabilitation consultants focus on understanding the needs of employees recovering from a disability.

“I have not written a résumé in almost 20 years, and my last interview was in 2007,” Chris said. “I can ace a police interview with my eyes closed, but starting over in the private sector was something completely different. My vocational rehabilitation consultant was assigned to help me find new employment and was always willing to offer insight, tips and items to read to help me in the interviewing process.”

Chris credits that support with helping him land his new job and was amazed by the response he got from the two Unum employees who assisted him.

“In my prior experiences in dealing with insurance companies, I was expecting to be treated the same – just another claimant with a number and pages in a case file,” Chris said. “It means a lot when people who you don’t even know are just as happy for your advancement in life as members of your own family.”

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