The Hartford Adds New Program to Help Employees, Claimants Overcome Disability-Related Challenges

May 5, 2004

The Harford Financial Services Group Inc. is helping employees, disability claimants and their families to overcome the challenges that can accompany a disability through Ability Assist, a confidential service that provides access to professional counseling, and financial and legal assistance and support.

A leading provider of group benefits through its Hartford Life subsidiary, The Hartford now makes Ability Assist available to its new group long-term disability insurance customers.

“After a disability, employees and their families may have difficulty coping,” said Dick Mucci, executive vice president and director of Hartford Life’s Group Benefits Division. “Ability Assist gives employees and their families easy access to professional assistance for a variety of personal and work/life issues during a time of potential changes and challenges. Alleviating some of the stresses that often accompany a life-changing event can help individuals focus on what they still have as opposed to what they’ve lost as they work toward reclaiming an active, productive life.”

Ability Assist is available to employees1 insured by The Hartford’s long term disability plan, claimants and claimants’ family members. Ability Assist provides toll-free telephone access 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to counselors who can help address concerns ranging from coping after a disability to finding eldercare or childcare, dealing with family relationships or marital problems, addressing substance abuse and work/life issues.

The services are available as follows:

* Insured employees are entitled to five face-to-face assessment sessions with counselors with at least a master’s degree in counseling. Counselors will provide assessment of emotional concerns and referrals to appropriate resources and providers. Employees who utilize all five sessions and find it necessary to go on disability claim have access to five additional claimant sessions.
* Claimants and their families receive a total of five face-to-face working sessions or equivalent professional time including help from legal and financial advisors, who can provide assistance with financial planning and certain legal matters such as tax filing questions, serious debt issues, guardianship or power of attorney.

More information about Ability Assist is available at

Ability Assist services are offered through ComPsych Corporation, a provider of employee assistance programs, work-life services and crisis intervention support. The service has multilingual capabilities and TTY technology available to assist the deaf and hearing impaired.

Mucci said employees can feel good about an employer that provides free access to services that address real needs and concerns with optimum ease, convenience and confidentiality. The appeal also extends to employers, he said. “These value added services are welcome in an environment where every dollar spent on employee benefits counts, because they can help employers round out or complement their other benefits offerings,” he said.

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