If you’re unable to work because of cirrhosis, you might be eligible for long term disability (LTD) benefits. The insurance company will assess your claim based on information from your medical provider. Your doctor’s diagnosis and treatment plan, along with a functional capacity report, are essential to support your claim.
What is Cirrhosis?
Cirrhosis is the late stage of scarring of the liver created by advanced diseases like hepatitis and chronic alcohol use. Each time the liver is damaged, it tries to repair itself. Each time it tries to repair itself, scar tissue forms leaving it difficult for your liver to function properly. Cirrhosis cannot be reversed, and advanced stages are life-threatening. If diagnosed early, treatment and lifestyle changes can help slow down the disease progression.
Cirrhosis often has no symptoms until there is liver damage. When you do start showing symptoms, seek medical treatment. Signs and symptoms of cirrhosis may include:
- Weight loss;
- Yellow discoloration of the eyes or the skin;
- Itchy, flaky skin;
- Loss of appetite; and
- Drowsiness and confusion.
There are many causes of cirrhosis. The most common are chronic alcoholism and hepatitis, but many other diseases can cause cirrhosis like fatty liver disease, an iron build-up in the body, autoimmune hepatitis, and even some medications.
Treatment plans for cirrhosis will vary. Treatments for the underlying cause of the disease can be alcohol treatment programs, weight loss, and blood sugar monitoring plans, and medications so slow down liver damage. Treatments for advanced cirrhosis can be low sodium diets to help combat the fluid build up, periodic blood tests and liver ultrasounds to monitor for cancer signs, and medications to treat hypertension associated with cirrhosis. Liver transplants are an option for the most advanced cases.
Cirrhosis and Long Term Disability
It is essential that you get a copy of your long term disability policy and read the qualifications. Some insurance policies exclude paying benefits for employees that have a disease related to substance abuse. If you have cirrhosis due to alcohol abuse, you want to check your policy. If you developed the disease in a non-alcohol related way, you still need to get a copy of your policy and read the terms.
The definition of disability varies among LTD policies. Generally, someone is considered disabled if they cannot perform their job’s main duties during the first two years of the policy and are unable to do any other job after that period. Check your LTD policy to understand how “disability” or “totally disabled” is defined for you.
Simply having symptoms won’t be enough to secure LTD benefits. You must provide medical evidence, such as reports from doctors, hospitals, and laboratories that have treated you for cirrhosis. Mental health records related to cirrhosis treatment, including counseling for depression and anxiety, should also be included. If the insurance company lacks enough evidence, they might request an evaluation by their own doctor to make a decision.
Work with a Long Term Disability Insurance Attorney to Ensure You Get the Benefits You Deserve
For the best chance of receiving the benefits you deserve, it’s advisable to work with an experienced disability attorney. They can guide you through the process and handle your appeal if your initial claim is denied. Remember, they only get paid if you win your case, so you won’t have to worry about upfront costs.
The Ortiz Law Firm has a track record of success in disability cases across the United States. If you want to discuss your cirrhosis and its impact on your ability to work, call them at (888) 321-8131. They’ll evaluate your case and help you through the appeal process.