How To File A Disability Claim For Multiple Sclerosis
Did you know that an estimated 400,000 Americans have multiple sclerosis, and 200 new cases are diagnosed each week? Multiple sclerosis, often referred to as MS, is a chronic disease that attacks the central nervous system. There are several types of MS, including:
- relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS)
- primary-progressive MS
- secondary-progressive MS
- progressive-relapsing MS
The progress, severity and symptoms of MS vary widely in each person, which can make it very challenging to collect disability benefits for this chronic disease.
If you plan to file a long term disability insurance claim due to multiple sclerosis, know that it will be difficult, but not impossible. Here are tips for filing a bulletproofed disability insurance claim.
Make sure you have everything you need.
Know what type of paperwork you will need to complete, what your relevant filing deadlines are and what the limitations of your coverage are. Missing deadlines or submitting incomplete forms are surefire ways to get denied.
Know that diagnosis does not equal disability.
Insurance companies will argue that having multiple sclerosis does not necessarily make you disabled. If you are like many Americans living with MS, you have probably worked for many years with your condition. If you are now unable to work due to your MS, your insurer may question what has changed since your diagnosis to make you disabled.
The burden of proving disability is on you, which is why it is important to have strong medical documentation of changes in your condition.
Have strong medical evidence to support your claim.
Disability insurance companies look for medical evidence that not only confirms your diagnosis, but also validates a decline in your condition that makes you unable to perform your work duties. Establishing the connection between your symptoms and your inability to work can be challenging.
Make sure to communicate your symptoms clearly to your doctor and be seen regularly to show a history of documented, consistent treatment. Any symptoms that can be confirmed objectively through examination, such as motor function, vision impairments, or MRIs, should be tested for. Insurers often focus on and minimize physical limitations and may also ignore the many cognitive difficulties associated with MS.
Document your pain and symptoms thoroughly.
Since cognitive difficulties and pain symptoms are often considered objective, it is important to keep a daily journal to record how you feel. Frequency, intensity and severity are terms that you can use to document your restrictions and limitations.
Free apps such as MS One to One® Symptom Tracker make it easy to record your symptoms on your smartphone. Note all your symptoms, no matter how big or small, and include dates and times on each entry.
When you see your doctor, bring in several weeks’ worth of daily symptom tracker records to discuss and leave with him or her. A detailed account of your MS symptoms helps tell the complete story that your medical records may not.
When in doubt, consult an expert disability attorney.
Whether you need help filing your initial claim or appeal, need help understanding the language in your disability policy, or need advice on how to handle the delay tactics of your insurance company, an expert disability insurance attorney can answer your questions.