What are Immunodeficiency Disorders?
Immunodeficiency disorders are a category of disorders that are characterized by the immune system’s inability to protect the body against bacteria or viruses. Immunodeficiency disorders cause a low level of white blood cells (called Leukocytes). A “normal” white cell count can range anywhere from 4,000 to 11,000 per microliter of blood. A low white cell count is anything under 4,000 per microliter of blood.
Common Genetic Immunodeficiency Disorders
Many immunodeficiency disorders are genetic and detected at birth or when a person is very young. Many types develop in people as they are exposed to different diseases and viruses through life.
- B Cell Deficiencies – Examples: anemia, rheumatoid arthritis, and cancers.
- T Cell Deficiencies – Infections can be very severe and fatal. The most common is DiGeorge Syndrome and a lack of thymus gland, which usually has physical symptoms as well.
- X Cell Deficiencies – Only affect males and cause a severe chronic infection of the nose, throat, ears, and lungs.
Acquired Immunodeficiency Disorders
Another type of common immunodeficiency disorder is acquired. This means an outside environmental factor caused the disorder. Illnesses like
- HIV; and
- Severe vitamin deficiency.
Common Symptoms of Immunodeficiency Disorders
The most common symptom of immunodeficiency disorders is a higher infection rate. Infections are usually harder to recover from lasting much longer than an infection in a normal body.
- Frequent sinus and ear infections;
- Mild colds turning into pneumonia and bronchitis;
- Inflammation of the organs;
- Blood disorders; and
- Digestive problems.
Treatment Plans for Immunodeficiency Disorders
Treatments for immunodeficiency disorders usually include a comprehensive plan that involves aggressive antibiotics, immune-boosting therapy, immunoglobulin therapy, cell growth therapy, and stem cell transplants. Stem cell transplant therapy is the only known therapy that can cure immunodeficiency disorders. Still, stem cell transplants aren’t available for all patients as it requires very specific conditions to be successful.
Applying for Long Term Disability with Immunodeficiency Disorders
Immunodeficiency disorders can cause problems for a lifetime. Your ability to work can be hindered by the chronic illnesses that are linked to your immunodeficiency disorder. Treatment options like the use of aggressive antibiotics can cause your body to be more susceptible to illnesses over time. Steroids that are used to support your immune system can cause rapid bone decay leaving your skeletal system weak. If you are suffering from an immunodeficiency disorder, you need to think about applying for long term disability.
Ask Your Doctor
A diagnosis of an immunodeficiency disorder can be frightening, especially with no simple cure. Don’t be afraid to let your doctor know that you plan to file for long term disability while you are receiving treatment. Here are some questions to ask your doctor:
- What further testing should be done?
- What’s the prognosis?
- What are my treatment options?
- What are the known side effects of these treatments?
- Can I still work?
- How long will I be out of work?
- What restrictions do I have?
Residual Functional Use
When you file for long term disability, the insurance company will request a residual functional capacity report from your doctor. This will be used to determine your ability to work. Some of the questions will be:
- How much can you lift, and how often? For example, if you can lift 25 lbs frequently and 50 pounds occasionally, you will be assigned a medium RFC rating. If you can only lift 10- 25 lbs frequently, you will be given a light RFC rating.
- How long are you able to sit or stand? Can you work in a job where standing or sitting is required for long periods of time?
- How well can you reach out or overhead? You may experience general weakness as your body uses its energy to recover from illnesses caused by your immunodeficiency disorder.
- How well can you bend down, crouch, or stoop? Many manual labor jobs require bending, stooping, or crouching low. If you cannot perform these functions, your job choices will be limited.
Consult An Attorney
Since you are so limited by the appeals process, consider consulting a disability attorney very early on. Even with a claim for immunodeficiency disorder, it can be tricky to navigate the claims and appeals process. Working with an experienced disability attorney will give you the best chance of getting the benefits you deserve. If you have been denied disability benefits, do not lose hope. Many people are denied benefits the first time they apply. You have the right to file an appeal and to get more information that may help your case.
While the process can be daunting, your expert disability attorney will be able to guide you through the process. Getting expert help is often the difference between being denied and being approved for benefits. An experienced long term disability attorney can help you stay on top of your deadlines, help you gather your documents, assist you during field interviews, and give you guidance that will help you get your claim approved. They do not get paid until you win your case. You can seek help without worrying about upfront costs or unexpected bills.
The Ortiz Law Firm has successfully represented people in disability cases across the United States. If you would like to talk to an experienced disability lawyer about your immunodeficiency disorder and its impact on your ability to work, the Ortiz Law Firm offers a free consultation with no obligation to use our firm. During the call, you can ask any questions you have regarding your claim, and we will answer them. To see how we can help you win your long-term disability case, call us at (888) 321- 8131.