By Peter Casciano, (301) 563-6685
Long-term disability benefits are a critical resource for many folks struggling with health conditions that impair or prohibit their ability to work.
According to this article from WebMD, one in three workers will become disabled prior to reaching retirement age. Here, I will provide four medical conditions that I encounter regularly.
Depending on the type of arthritis you experience, it may cause mobility issues, pain, stiffness, or weakness, among other symptoms. Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is a common disabling condition because it attacks joints causing pain and inflammation. If you work a physical job, RA is excruciating and debilitating. Furthermore, if arthritis exists in one of the three major regions of your back (cervical, thoracic or lumbar), the symptoms can spread to your arms and legs, like numbness and/or impaired mobility. Right or wrong, many of my arthritis cases must combat the stigma that (1) arthritis only truly affects the aged, or (2) arthritis is always manageable. Critical for Long Term Disability benefits cases based on arthritis are well-documented symptoms and limitations. Hopefully, your physician is documenting the symptoms you are reporting and explaining in the clinical records how those symptoms are incompatible with your activities and work. A good way to bolster any LTD claim based on arthritis is to document your symptoms regularly by maintaining your own symptom tracker or journal.
In many ways, the challenges facing those with an LTD case based on depression are the same challenges mentioned above for arthritis. A well-documented record of symptoms will go a long way to supporting your claim for Long Term Disability benefits. Depression for many folks can be managed through therapy and sometimes medication management. Depression is not always a disabling condition. As many of us know, depression can occur in many forms and to varying degrees. In my opinion, the key to a solid LTD case based on depression is the reporting of your symptoms to the mental health treatment provider. Lots of primary care physicians take on the care of their patients for their mental health. This is simply a reality. The insurance carrier will look beyond the primary care physician to the mental health treatment provider for the evidence they feel they need to approve the claim. It will serve you well to treat with a mental health treatment provider and to be honest and clear with them regarding your symptoms, how you feel with specificity, and the efficacy of the medication if they are prescribed.
3. Multiple Sclerosis
This condition is particularly challenging because the symptoms are so wide-ranging and challenging. Some cases may be based on the cognitive decline that can be caused by MS. Others will be based on the mobility issues caused by MS. Still others may experience urological issues that make work impossible. Each set of symptoms fall into a different subset or medical specialty. This makes the coordination of care and documentation challenges. Many MS clients ask me who we should ask to be the primary supporting doctor. On one hand, the neurologist is key because MS is a neurological disease. However, many times the disabling symptoms fall into a different category with a different treating physician. Additionally, multiple sclerosis cases can be difficult because of the different stages of MS, particularly relapsing and remitting. MS falls into four major stages: clinically isolated syndrome, relapsing and remitting, primary progressive and secondary progressive. During the relapsing and remitting stage, your condition will improve and decline, as the name suggests. The insurance company handling your LTD case may attempt to use this expected improvement against you depending on what the medical documentation shows.
Cancer is a life-altering diagnosis and presents very scary challenges to the patient. Thankfully, across the board, the short community is making great strides to treat and cure cancer. Many claimants, because the diagnosis is so serious, tend to think that the carrier will automatically approve the LTD case. This isn’t so. A very serious diagnosis does not always result in a successful LTD case. In many instances with cancer, the symptoms stemming from the treatment for cancer can be more debilitating to your functionality than cancer itself. Documenting the day to challenges of the treatment may be the key to winning your LTD case. The sheer amount of time one spends receiving chemotherapy (for example) may disable you from full-time work.
These four quite common disabling conditions present unique challenges to any LTD case. It is important that claimants dealing with a debilitating disease receive the right advice at the right time. Please contact me today with all your LTD benefits questions or concerns.
About Andalman & Flynn, P.C.: Founded in 1998 in downtown Silver Spring, Maryland, Andalman & Flynn has forged a distinguished reputation for legal excellence. The firm represents individuals seeking disability benefits throughout the country and practices family law throughout Maryland and the District of Columbia. The firm focuses on cases that impact the rights of everyone, and are there for clients when responsive legal help is most critical. The firm has provided legal analysis on national and local television and radio, and their attorneys often testify before legislative bodies and are routinely invited to contribute to prominent legal publications. For more information about Andalman & Flynn, please visit the website at https://andalmanflynn.com/ or call 301.563.6685.