Why You Should Call a Long Term Disability Attorney Before You File a Claim for A Neurodegenerative Disorder?
April 14, 2022
Neurodegenerative disorders encompass a wide range of conditions that affect millions of people around the world. While much remains unknown regarding these disorders including, for instance, any sort of permanent cure, doctors do know that one’s likelihood of receiving a neurological-related diagnosis increases dramatically with age. This is especially alarming considering that here in the U.S., where the average life expectancy has climbed to just shy of eighty, more and more people are continuing to live longer than earlier generations. As a result, experts in the field of neurodegenerative disorders have cautioned that the total number of Americans living with one or more of these conditions is likely to rise in the years ahead.
Accordingly, in the event that you, a family member, or close friend suddenly find yourselves in this ever-growing list of individuals, here are a few basics to keep in mind after receiving a diagnosis and how a disability attorney can help you.
How Can These Disorders Affect Your Ability to Work?
As would be expected given the severity of these issues, neurodegenerative disorders can make it very difficult and, in some instances, practically impossible to continue working. From a physical standpoint, people in medium and heavy-duty occupations should expect particularly steep uphill battles depending on the nature and progression of their disease. For instance, given that conditions like Parkinson’s and Huntington’s can affect everything from one’s strength and endurance to the more basic abilities to walk, balance, and coordinate movements, it is relatively straightforward to see how these restrictions would preclude one from engaging in more physically demanding tasks, such as carrying heavy equipment, climbing up and down ladders, and crouching, kneeling, and bending throughout the day. Even workers in light or sedentary occupations may experience difficulties with typing, fingering, or using their hands on a regular basis, especially if they suffer from tremors or movements that are outside of their control.
Just as importantly, neurodegenerative disorders can produce a myriad of cognitive declines that can make it untenable to work in any capacity – regardless of the physical tasks (or lack thereof) associated with the position. For example, in more severe cases individuals may struggle to recall recent information and events, have difficulties comprehending new information, and showcase issues speaking and following along in conversations. To make matters worse, some people can exhibit a lot of cognitive issues without even recognizing any of their symptoms. Since these baseline abilities are the staple to performing any job in a satisfactory manner, displaying one or more is a strong indication that one should at least consider filing for disability benefits.
Common Issues with Filing for Short Term and Long Term Disability Benefits Due to Cognitive Decline.
One of the most common reasons we see clients who file claims for short and long term disability benefits for neurodegenerative disorders get denied is when they file claims due to the severity of their cognitive symptoms while having milder physical symptoms and/or they file too soon after being diagnosed and have milder symptoms.
Given the severity of the diagnosis, many people (wrongly) presume they should be entitled to short and long term disability benefits upon receiving such a serious diagnosis. HOWEVER, every person is different. While some people may be diagnosed later after their first manifestation of symptoms and/or decline very rapidly, others decline very slowly and/or are diagnosed very early after their symptoms manifest and are able to continue working for a period of time. For purposes of short and long term disability benefits, a diagnosis, in it of itself, is not disabling. Rather, insurance companies focus on how the severity of one’s symptoms are objectively verifiable to prove how that would prevent one from performing their occupational duties.
One of the most common reasons for denials for a claimant with a neurodegenerative disorder that we see is when they are still physically capable of performing their occupational duties, but are struggling due to their cognitive symptoms. Cognitive symptoms tend to be much harder to objectively verify, hence why claimants may get denied despite the severity of their diagnosis. That is why it is important to speak to a long term disability attorney before you file so that the evidence you intend to submit is properly evaluated in order to avoid a denial.
How Can a Disability Attorney Help You Through This Process?
Receiving word that you or a loved one has been diagnosed with a neurogenerative disorder is an inherently upsetting, confusing, and overwhelming ordeal. It is also likely to be filled with a laundry list of questions, some of which can be easily explained while others may slip into the rearview without a clear answer.
With respect to the big uncertainties involving work and future finances, speaking with a disability attorney should be viewed as a small -- but smart expenditure of time to ensure you or your loved one has all their ducks in a row. Regardless of whether you are actively working, have stepped away to file a disability claim, or are attempting to appeal a wrongful denial of benefits, a skilled disability attorney can provide a clear overview of the steps to take, when they should be completed, and how to present your case in the best possible light with all of the evidence that you (and your team of doctors) have been able to generate.
To learn more about these steps in addition to some of the ways a skilled disability attorney can help, visit Murray Law Office at www.murraylawoffice.com or call us at (617) 720-4411. We look forward to hearing from you and discussing what we can do to resolve your issues.