OK to offset VA disability payments from payments due under private ERISA disability policy 10th Circuit Kansas
In Holbrooks v. Sun Life, Holbrooks had a Sun Life long term group disability policy which was governed by ERISA. The amount paid under the Sun Life policy could be offset by "Other Income Benefits" which included benefits received pursuant to “Workers’ Compensation Law” or any “Compulsory Benefit Act or Law . . . or any other act or law of like intent.” Holbrooks also received a monthly disability benefit from the Veteran's Administration. Sun Life reduced the amounts it paid by the amount received by Holbrooks from the VA. Summary judgment was granted to Sun Life. On appeal, Holbrooks claimed it was error to consider his VA disability benefits as “Other Income Benefits” because the Policy did not specifically list them as such. This argument was rejected because it was not supported by any legal authority. Holbrooks claim that the term “Compulsory Benefit Act or Law” is ambiguous and the ambiguity should be resolved in his favor to exclude the VA benefits as “Other Income Benefits was also rejected. Because the VA was required by law to pay Dr. Holbrooks’s disability benefits, Sun Life was entitled to offset those benefits under the terms of the Policy. Summary judgment was affirmed.