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Understanding the Common Causes of Disability Claims (Part I)

Understanding the Common Causes of Disability Claims (Part I)

When you think of a disability, what comes to mind? Many Americans have misconceptions about what restrictions and limitations constitute a disability. In addition, there is often confusion regarding what legally qualifies as a disabling sickness or illness.

According to the Council for Disability Awareness, one in three women and one in four men will have a disability that keeps them out of work for 90+ days at some point during their working lifetime.

In honor of Disability Insurance Awareness Month, we take a look at five of the ten most common causes of disability claims.

1. Musculoskeletal conditions

Examples include: Arthritis, herniated or degenerated disc, back pain, spine/joint disorders, cartilage sprain, tendonitis, scoliosis, osteoporosis

The musculoskeletal system is comprised of all of the bones and the muscles in the body that allow movement; because it includes so many different parts and areas of your body, a severe problem within the system can render you disabled.

Muscle, back, and joint disorders count for more than one-in-four long-term disabilities. According to the CDC, one in three people say arthritis alone affects their ability to do their job in some way.

2. Cancer

Common types of cancer: lymphoma, leukemia, testicular, melanoma, and breast cancer

It’s estimated that more than 70,000 people in their 20s and 30s are diagnosed with cancer.

In fact, cancer is the fastest-growing cause of disability claims, likely for two reasons: a rising rate in cancer, and more effective treatment, that is helping people live longer after diagnosis.

Although cancer itself can be debilitating, its treatments – like surgery, radiation and chemotherapy – can also make it difficult or impossible to work for a significant amount of time.

3. Injuries

Examples include: Fractures, sprains and strains, dislocations, burns, poisoning, allergic reactions

While they’re a less common cause of disability than illnesses are, injuries and poisonings still account for approximately one in ten long-term disability claims.

4. Cardiovascular conditions

Examples include: Hypertension, Heart Disease, Heart Attack, Stroke, Coronary Artery Disease

According to the American Heart Association, about 92.1 million American adults are living with some form of cardiovascular disease or the after-effects of stroke.

Therefore, it is unsurprising that heart disease is responsible for nearly one in 10 new long-term disability claims.

It strikes unexpectedly and can affect your ability to work for a few weeks or ever a few years.

The American Heart Association estimates that a person who suffers a heart attack may miss anywhere from two weeks to three months of work. However, more severe cases may affect one’s ability to work for years.

5. Mental Disorders

Examples include: Depression, schizophrenia, drug/alcohol/substance abuse, bipolar disorder, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, one in five adults in the U.S. experience a mental illness in any given year. The effects can be devastating, and may even prevent you from living a fulfilling life and earning a reasonable living.

While one does not automatically think of mental illness when considering the causes of disability, it accounts for nearly 10 percent of long-term disabilities.

Filing a disability claim?

If you’re seeking long-term disability insurance benefits, consult a top rated disability insurance attorney for a free consultation to determine how to proceed with your claim.

DarrasLaw is Americas' most honored and decorated disability litigation firm in the country. Mr. Darras has seen more, evaluated more, litigated more, and resolved more individual and group long term disability and long-term care cases than any other lawyer in the United States.

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