What Is Multiple Myeloma?
When cancer forms in white blood cell types called plasma cells, it’s known as multiple myeloma. These blood cells are in charge of making antibodies to fight infection by recognizing and attacking germs. Multiple myeloma reduces these healthy blood cells by accumulating in the bone marrow and crowding out the plasma cells. Instead of producing helpful antibodies, these cancer cells create abnormal proteins which lead to multiple complications including the following:
- Anemia (low red blood cell count) – Because myeloma grows and crowds out normal blood cells, it can cause blood problems like anemia.
- Reduced kidney function – Multiple myeloma can cause kidney problems, including kidney failure. It causes higher calcium levels in the blood due to eroding bones and this calcium can interfere with your kidney’s blood waste filtering ability. Myeloma cells also create abnormal proteins which can lead to similar problems.
- Bone issues – Your bones can also be affected by multiple myeloma, which can cause broken or thinning bones or bone pain.
- Frequent infections – As myeloma cells crowd out healthy blood cells, they inhibit your body’s ability to fight off infection, so you may find you get infections more easily.
Disability Evaluation of Multiple Myeloma
Long-term disability insurance companies usually refer to the CDC (Center for Disease Control) to evaluate multiple myeloma. The CDC defines myeloma as a cancer of the plasma cells. The cells grow too much and form a tumor or mass in the bone marrow. The most common form of myeloma is multiple myeloma.
In order to qualify for long-term disability, your cancer must substantially interfere with your personal, work, school, and social activities. You must also experience four or more of the following symptoms for at least six months:
- Excessive thirst
- Numbness or weakness in the legs
- Loss of body weight
- Frequent infections
- Tiredness and fatigue
- Mental confusion or fog
- Appetite loss
- Nausea or vomiting
- Bone pain, especially in the chest or spine
You’ll need to have medical documentation that proves you fit these criteria and that none of your symptoms were caused by something prior to the onset of your multiple myeloma.
Long Term Disability and Multiple Myeloma
When you suffer from multiple myeloma, you may find it impossible to perform your work duties on a full-time basis. If this happens, Long-Term Disability benefits can help improve your financial situation. You’ll need to apply for benefits and wait for the insurance company to decide if you qualify as disabled as determined by the LTD insurance policy.
The insurance company will make that decision based on the documentation from your doctors and the information you provide on your application. Wondering what the long-term disability insurance company is looking for when they evaluate your LTD claim for multiple myeloma? The following information may be helpful.
What is Disability?
Because insurance policies differ, you need to find out how the terms “disability” and “totally disabled” are defined for your particular plan. Most policies are split into “any occupation” and “own occupation.”
Any occupation policies are strict. You’ll be expected to prove that you cannot perform any position you would qualify for based on your education, training, and experience, as opposed to your specific job. An own occupation policy, on the other hand, considers you disabled if you are incapable of performing the duties of the position you currently hold.
How to Prove Multiple Myeloma
You cannot be approved for LTD based on symptoms alone, though their effects are usually taken into consideration. You’ll need to provide medical documentation from your health providers that back up your claims with clinical and laboratory findings. Sometimes an insurance company will use medical information alone to make their decision if it definitively proves that you are disabled.
How Disability Is Evaluated for Multiple Myeloma
When you turn in your application, the LTD company assigns an adjudicator and potentially other medical professionals, such as a disability examiner, physician, or psychologist, to review your claim. You might be expected to see a doctor for a medical examination or functional capacity evaluation to determine your level of impairment. Your adjudicator will use that evidence to make their decision. If they feel they cannot make a decision without more information, you may be required to provide additional evidence.
You should also turn in medical documentation with acceptable clinical and laboratory findings. Symptoms and diagnosis are not enough. Your LTD benefits company is looking for a scientifically proven disability, so they’ll require all of your doctor’s objective findings.
If multiple myeloma or another mental or physical disorder is keeping you from adequately performing your job duties, you could qualify for long-term disability insurance benefits. Unfortunately, they can be difficult to obtain. If you find yourself denied for LTD when you have a genuine disability, let Nick Ortiz Law help. Contact us today at (888) 321-8131 to find out how we can get you the benefits you deserve.