Long Term Disability with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome
You may qualify for long term disability (LTD) benefits if you can show that your condition is so severe that your resulting limitations keep you from performing full-time work, or otherwise satisfies the definition of the term “disability” under your LTD Plan/Policy. You will want to provide sufficient medical records and opinion evidence from your treating physicians to identify your limitations and inability to work.
What is Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (“EDS”)?
Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (“EDS”) is a group of disorders that affect the connective tissues that support the skin, bones, joints, blood vessels, and many other organs and connective tissues in the body. A mutation or defect in the genes that produce and regulate collagen – the primary protein making up the connective tissue in the human body – is the usual cause of Ehlers-Danlos.
EDS causes connective tissues to weaken and become more elastic. This may cause skin to bruise easier or joints to become extremely loose and overly flexible.
There are at least ten different types of Ehlers-Danlos; these different types of EDS affect different collagen genes and lead to varying combinations of symptoms. Again, depending on the type of tissues affected, Ehlers-Danlos can range in severity from being incredibly mild to being life-threatening.
Signs and Symptoms of EDS
The signs and symptoms of Ehlers-Danlos syndrome vary from mildly loose joints to life-threatening complications, and include:
- Hyper-flexible joints;
- Joint pain;
- Extreme joint instability;
- Degenerative tissue disease;
- Chronic musculoskeletal pain;
- Skin or joint deformities;
- Sprains and dislocations;
- Skin that stretches, sags, and bruises easily;
- Nerve pain;
- Difficulty with memory and concentration;
- Fatigue; and
Ehlers-Danlos may also lead to heart diseases and/or other cardiovascular problems if blood vessels or valve tissues are weakened. Weak connective tissues can complicate pregnancy and can prevent connective tissue injuries from healing properly.
Diagnosis and Treatment of Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome
Treating physicians diagnose Ehlers-Danlos using genetic testing and a review of family medical records. They can also utilize tissue biopsies to confirm a diagnosis. Unfortunately, there is no cure presently for Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. Physical or occupational therapy can strengthen weak tissues, and precautionary measures can control other symptoms. Surgery may be an option to replace weak joint tissues; however, there remains a risk that the incisions from the surgery will not heal properly. Medications may also treat pain and blood pressure.
Legal Representation in an EDS Case
If the insurance company has denied your claim for LTD benefits, you should seriously consider hiring an attorney with experience in handling Long Term Disability insurance claims.
Here at the Ortiz Law Firm, we handle such claims on a contingency fee basis. That means you will not be charged a fee unless and until you are awarded benefits or obtain a settlement.
Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome is a complicated disorder that can be tough to manage medically. Seeking an attorney’s help in the LTD claims process may be your best bet to secure financial benefits as soon as possible. If your LTD claim has been denied or terminated, call (888) 321-8131 for a free legal evaluation