Getting Long-Term Disability (LTD) Benefits for Autoimmune Disorders
If you have disabling autoimmune disorders and long-term disability insurance, you may be surprised to learn these claims for disability benefits are often denied. If your insurance company denied your long-term disability claim for an autoimmune disorder, there are steps you can take to fight for your disability benefits. You have the right to get more clinical information about your autoimmune disorders that may help your case and the right to submit that evidence as part of an administrative appeal.
Disability insurance carriers do not make it easy to receive benefits for autoimmune disorders. Many people are denied benefits the first time they apply. Since you are so limited by the appeals process, consider consulting with disability attorneys very early on. Working with an experienced disability attorney will give you the best chance of getting the benefits you deserve for your autoimmune disorder.
Filing an appeal can be daunting, but your expert disability attorney will evaluate your case to determine the evidence needed and guide you through the process. For many people, getting expert help is the difference between being denied or approved. Disability insurance attorneys can help you stay on top of your deadlines, gather documents, assist you during field interviews, and give you guidance that will help you get approved. They do not get paid unless you receive disability benefits, so you can seek help without paying costs upfront.
If your autoimmune disorder or treatment side effects make it impossible for you to work and your disability claim was denied, the legal team at Ortiz Law Firm will fight for your disability benefits. We offer a free consultation for wrongfully denied claims anywhere in the United States. Call us today at (866) 853-7210 to schedule a free case evaluation to discuss your claim for an autoimmune disorder with one of our experienced lawyers.
Is an Autoimmune Disease Considered a Disability?
Autoimmune disorders cause the body to have an overactive or underactive immune system. If the immune system fails to do its job or does it incorrectly, and the immune system attacks the wrong thing or fails to attack, the results can be serious. Overactivity will cause the body’s immune system to attack healthy cells. Under-activity will leave you susceptible to more infections and diseases.
If you are unable to work as a result of autoimmune disease and you have the medical evidence to support it, then your autoimmune disorders may be considered a disability. If you experience side effects of your treatment, that may also qualify you for benefits. You may be required to take certain medications and those medications often have side effects. Be sure to discuss any side effects with your doctor so this information will be reported in your medical records.
What Autoimmune Disorders Qualify for Disability?
Autoimmune diseases that could qualify for disability include:
Ankylosing spondylitis affects the spine, although other joints can become involved. It causes inflammation of the vertebrae that can lead to severe pain and discomfort.
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a complicated disease characterized by extreme fatigue that can’t be explained by any underlying medical condition and worsens with activity but doesn’t improve with rest.
Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy (CIDP)
CIDP is an autoimmune disease that causes inflammation of the nerves and nerve roots. Related symptoms include numbness, pain, and muscle weakness in the arms and legs. Early diagnosis and treatment are critical to prevent nerve damage and paralysis.
Connective Tissue Disease (undifferentiated and mixed)
Connective tissue is the material between the cells of the body that gives tissues form and strength. The genes that encode these proteins can harbor defects or mutations, which can affect the functioning of certain properties in selected tissues. The result can be a heritable connective tissue disorder. Individuals who suffer from undifferentiated and mixed connective tissue disorders are often unable to maintain full-time employment.
Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is a member of the herpes virus family. EBV can cause infectious mononucleosis, also called mono, and other illnesses.
Goodpasture syndrome is a rare autoimmune disorder is characterized by immune system attacks against the lungs and kidneys. The first symptom is usually fatigue, then nausea, vomiting, shortness of breath, foamy urine, blood in urine, and swelling of the legs.
Graves disease is the most common cause of hyperthyroidism. It is caused by an abnormal immune system response that causes the thyroid gland to produce too many hormones. Symptoms include unexplained anxiety and irritation, losing weight, swollen thyroid gland, fatigue, irregular heartbeat, frequent bowel movements, and heat sensitivity.
This autoimmune disorder creates antibodies that attack the thyroid gland. Symptoms can include fatigue, weight loss, depression, swelling of joints, or thyroid glands.
A combination of symptoms may render a claimant unable to sustain full-time work activity: bacterial, fungal, protozoan, helminthic, or viral infections, malignant neoplasms, non-responsive ulcerations or lesions, motor or cognitive dysfunction, sinusitis, sepsis, endocarditis, meningitis, septic arthritis, pneumonia, or chronic diarrhea.
Immune-deficiency Disorders (except HIV/AIDS)
Immune-deficiency disorders prevent your body from being able to fight infections and diseases adequately and this deficiency makes you more susceptible to catching viruses and bacterial infections. If your infections are resistant to acceptable treatments or severe and frequent enough that you need to be hospitalized and/or given IV treatments multiple times per year, you could be approved for benefits.
Inflammatory Arthritis (Including Rheumatoid Arthritis)
The spectrum of inflammatory arthritis disorders differs in cause, course, and outcome. For example, rheumatoid arthritis is a form of inflammatory arthritis that causes the immune system to attack the antibodies in your joints. Symptoms of inflammatory and rheumatoid arthritis include stiffness, pain, and swelling around the joints, lumps, or redness on the affected area.
Inflammation of major peripheral joints may cause difficulties with walking or fine and gross movements. An immune system attack may also cause pain, swelling, and tenderness. With constitutional symptoms or signs such as severe exhaustion, fever, malaise, and involuntary weight loss, this medical condition may result in extreme limitation and inability to work.
Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Inflammatory bowel disease is a group of autoimmune disorders that inflame the intestines. Once thought to be an autoimmune disease where the immune system attacked the body, modern research shows that inflammatory bowel disease causes the immune system to unpredictably attack food, bacteria, or a harmless virus in the gut, leading to inflammation and bowel injury. Not knowing when symptoms will hit makes it difficult to work. When the disease is active severe inflammation can make it impossible to work. There are two main types – Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.
Lupus is a medical condition that causes the immune system to attack organs and tissue. Symptoms of lupus vary, but the most common are malaise, sores, or blisters in the mouth or on the body, joint pain, fatigue, fever, and losing weight. If your lupus manifests repeatedly and is shown to severely limit your ability to work, you may qualify for LTD.
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune disease of the central nervous system where the immune system attacks the myelin, causing communication problems between your brain and the rest of your body. Symptoms of multiple sclerosis include muscle pain, stiffness, difficulty walking, dizziness, speech delays, and clumsiness. Eventually, this autoimmune disease can cause the nerves to deteriorate or become permanently damaged.
Myasthenia gravis causes extreme fatigue and weakness of your muscles due to a breakdown in communication between your muscles and nerves. Symptoms related to myasthenia gravis include double vision, drooping eyelids, difficulty speaking, and chewing.
Polymyositis and dermatomyositis (PM/DM) are chronic inflammatory diseases. Muscle weakness is the most common symptom of PM/DM. You may be approved if you have shoulder or pelvic muscle weakness and loss of gross and fine movement ability, if your muscle weakness causes difficulty swallowing or breathing, or if it severely affects joint mobility or your intestines’ functions.
Psoriasis is an autoimmune disorder where skin cells reproduce too quickly, causing raised, red, scaly patches to appear on the skin. Psoriasis typically affects the outside of the elbows, knees, or scalp, though it can appear in any location. Symptoms include pain and swelling of the affected area, dry, cracked skin that bleeds, burning, itching, soreness, and swollen joints.
Raynaud’s disease is an autoimmune disease that causes blood vessels to narrow when you are cold or feeling stressed. When this happens, blood can’t get to the surface of the skin and the affected areas turn white and blue.
Scleroderma (Systemic Sclerosis)
Scleroderma is an autoimmune disorder that involves the hardening and tightening of the epidermis and connective tissues. You may qualify for benefits due to scleroderma because of fixed deformities that cause an inability to walk normally or perform fine motor skills, or permanent damage in either foot or both hands. You may also be approved if you’ve had several manifestations that can be shown to severely limit your ability to perform in a work environment.
The symptoms and qualifications to receive long-term disability for Sjögren’s syndrome vary. Common symptoms of Sjögren’s include fatigue, malaise, sores, or blisters in the mouth or on the body, joint pain, fever, and weight loss. If your Sjögren’s syndrome manifests repeatedly and can be shown to severely limit your daily activities or ability to work, you may qualify for benefits.
Individuals with systemic vasculitis suffer from immune system attacks that cause inflammation of the blood vessels. The inflammation can cause blood moving from your heart to the rest of your body to swell within the vessels, making it hard for the blood to produce and circulate oxygen.
Type 1 Diabetes
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease. With type 1 diabetes, the immune system attacks the healthy insulin-producing cells of the pancreas. The damage to these cells from these attacks prevents the pancreas from supplying insulin.
Should I Apply for Social Security Disability?
If you do not have a disability insurance policy you may still be eligible for Social Security Disability. Many disability insurance policies will require you to apply for Social Security Disability benefits for your autoimmune disease. If autoimmune diseases described above are severe enough to affect your ability to work could qualify you for Social Security Disability benefits. The Social Security Administration requires that your autoimmune condition last, or be expected to last at least 12 months. The Social Security Administration will evaluate your medical evidence to determine if you qualify.
Why hire multiple lawyers when one disability lawyer can handle both claims? Ortiz Law Firm represents Social Security Disability claimants nationwide and we offer a free case evaluation for claimants at the initial application, reconsideration, and hearing levels.
Was Your Autoimmune Disorder Claim Denied? We Will Fight For Your Long Term Disability Benefits
Disability insurance companies will not make it easy for you to receive the benefits you deserve. If you are unable to work as a result of autoimmune diseases or treatment side effects, but your insurance company has denied your claim, you should consult with a long-term disability lawyer.
If autoimmune disorders make it impossible for you to work and you have been denied your long-term disability insurance benefits, we can help. Our attorneys will fight for your disability benefits no matter where you live in the United States. Contact us online or call us at (866) 853-7210 to schedule a free case evaluation to speak with one of our lawyers.