Sarcoidosis is an inflammatory disease characterized by the formation of granulomas—tiny clumps of inflammatory cells—in one or more organs of the body. As your immune system increases its fighting capabilities, the cells will mutate more rapidly, causing the disease to spread.
If you have coverage under a long term disability insurance policy and have been diagnosed with sarcoidosis, you can apply for long term disability benefits to help you with expenses while you are seeking treatment. This article will cover the following:
- What is Sarcoidosis? Symptoms and Treatment Options
- Life with Sarcoidosis
- Applying for Long Term Disability with Sarcoidosis
What is Sarcoidosis? Symptoms and Treatment Options
Symptoms of Sarcoidosis
Symptoms of sarcoidosis can vary depending on the severity of the disorder. Some people may have few to no symptoms, while others experience many. Some of the most common symptoms in advanced cases are:
- Enlarged lymph nodes
- Swollen and painful joints
- Painful raised bumps on the skin called Erythema nodosum
- Lung problems- wheezing, trouble breathing, chronic coughing
While there is no cure for sarcoidosis, there are several treatment options to help you. Some people will need no treatment as the disease symptoms will go away on their own. Others will have lasting effects and require ongoing medical care.
Treatment Options for Sarcoidosis
Corticosteroids – corticosteroids will help reduce inflammation and are the primary treatment for sarcoidosis. Symptoms usually clear up within a couple of months. However, prolonged use of steroids can have lasting side effects, including bone and teeth deterioration, unexplained weight gain, abnormal blood sugar, and elevated liver enzymes.
Immune system suppressant medication – when corticosteroids do not work, another treatment option is to use medication to suppress the immune system. This helps to stop the mutation of the disease. However, creating a weakened immune system means that you will be at risk of getting sick. Patients with weakened immune systems will need to be closely monitored by their doctor, take extra precautions to avoid getting sick, and seek medical treatment immediately when they show symptoms of illness.
Life with Sarcoidosis
60% of cases clear up an average of 2-5 years from the time of diagnosis. But your life with Sarcoidosis can be challenging, especially if you are experiencing advanced symptoms. Both treatment options create their own set of challenges. You will need to monitor what you eat when starting corticosteroids to avoid developing type II diabetes and have regular blood work to monitor your liver enzyme levels. If you have to take immune-suppressing medications, you will need to wear a face mask to protect yourself and avoid crowded areas, wash your hands regularly, and avoid family and friends that are sick. Many patients can feel very lonely and isolated while receiving treatment, which can cause depression and anxiety.
Applying for Long Term Disability with Sarcoidosis
The first thing to do when applying for long term disability is to read your policy thoroughly. If you have a group policy through your employer, you can request a copy from your human resources department.
After you read your policy, you can decide if you think you have a case for LTD benefits. When you start gathering information for your claim, be sure to include all the necessary information that will “stack” your administrative file. Your administrative file is everything in your case. It includes all the correspondence between you and your insurance company, all your medical information, notes from your doctors, and even any video surveillance footage.
Suggested Way To Stay Organized
There is a lot of paperwork to keep track of when applying for Long Term Disability. Staying organized and saving all correspondence will help you if your claim is denied and you need to go to court. Create a binder or filing system for the following documents:
- Copy of your LTD policy.
- Copies of all letters from your insurance company and you to the insurance company.
- Why you can not perform your job duties (this will require medical documentation).
- A list of all medical providers that you have seen for this condition and a letter from each provider stating that your condition prevents you from working.
- Letters that summarize all conversations (by phone or in person) between you and the insurance company representatives, nurses, doctors, and your employer. Send copies to all parties involved in the communication via certified mail as proof it was received.
- Keep everything chronological so that if your claim is denied you have a complete record of how your claim was handled.
Working with a Long Term Disability Attorney
Living with sarcoidosis can present many challenges. With limited treatment options and the list of major side effects, it is a good idea to apply for long term disability benefits. Use our guide above on how to file a claim and suggested ways to stay organized. If you need help, contact us.
Using an experienced disability attorney will help you protect yourself against insurance investigators. The Nick Ortiz Law Firm is based in Florida but represents claimants across the country. Receive a free consultation by calling (888) 321-8131 with no obligation. We can help you evaluate your claim to determine if you will be able to access long-term disability benefits and how to move forward with the process.