Hepatitis is the word used to describe inflammation of the liver. A virus usually causes hepatitis with the most common being A, B, and C. Hepatitis A does have a vaccine and often does not create chronic illness. However, hepatitis B and Hepatitis C can create lifelong health problems.
Hepatitis B is a liver disease caused by the hepatitis B virus (HBV). It ranges in severity from a mild illness, lasting a few weeks (acute), to a serious long term (chronic) illness that can lead to liver disease or liver cancer.
Hepatitis C is a liver disease caused by the hepatitis C virus (HCV). HCV infection sometimes results in an acute illness, but most often becomes a chronic condition that can lead to cirrhosis of the liver and liver cancer.
Symptoms of Hepatitis B and C
Usually, newly infected people can be asymptomatic. This means the person can show no symptoms for weeks or even years. However, patients will start to experience the following symptoms for both hepatitis B and hepatitis C:
- Loss of appetite;
- Abdominal pain;
- Dark urine;
- Clay-colored bowel movements; and
- Joint pain.
Acute hepatitis B and C can be acute and the symptoms resolve on their own. But chronic hepatitis B and C disease can develop into cirrhosis or liver cancer.
Treatment for Chronic Hepatitis B and C
Treatment plans for hepatitis B will vary depending on the level of progression. There is no cure for hepatitis B. An initial blood test and biopsy will be performed to check the level of liver damage and the progression of the disease. Several medications are used to slow the progression of the disease but can cause kidney damage. Your doctor will need to monitor you closely and may order bed rest until your body gets used to the drugs.
Treatment plans for hepatitis C will also vary depending on the progression. There is now an oral treatment for hepatitis C that usually lasts 8-12 weeks. Side effects from the medication can cause extreme fatigue, nauseousness, vomiting, and flu-like symptoms.
Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, and Long Term Disability
Depending on how your hepatitis has progressed, it may be difficult to continue working. If your doctor has removed you from the workplace until you finish your treatment plan, you will need to apply for disability insurance benefits.
Your insurance company will make a decision based on the medical information you submit. This should include a positive diagnosis of hepatitis and detailed records that outline symptoms such as severe fatigue, immobility, and other related conditions. Your doctor must also provide a comprehensive treatment plan and a list of limitations that prevent you from fulfilling your work responsibilities.
Definition of Disability
In the context of most long term disability policies, a person is deemed disabled if they are:
- Unable to carry out the essential tasks of their specific occupation for the initial two years of the policy;
- Incapable of performing the functions of virtually any occupation after the initial two-year period.
However, it’s essential to note that the definition of disability may vary between different LTD policies. To understand how the terms “disability” or “totally disabled” apply to you, you must carefully review your specific LTD policy.
Proof of Hepatitis B and C
Successfully claiming long-term disability for Hepatitis B or C requires more than just evidence of symptoms. You will need to support your claim with concrete medical documentation, such as medical reports from the healthcare professionals and facilities that have treated you. This includes results from MRI, CAT Scan, liver ultrasound, liver biopsy, liver enzyme levels tests, and liver protein levels.
Don’t forget to include any mental health records if you have sought counseling for depression or anxiety related to Hepatitis B or C. Ensure that you provide your therapy notes to the insurance company.
If the insurance company finds the evidence insufficient to process your claim, they may request an in person evaluation or a paper file review by one of their doctors to gather all the necessary documentation to make a decision.
Seek Professional Assistance from a Long Term Disability Insurance Attorney
Your best chance of having a long term disability case approved because of hepatitis B or C comes by working with an experienced long term disability lawyer. Their expertise can guide you through the process and help you present the strongest possible case.
Your experienced long term disability attorney will be familiar with how insurance providers handle hepatitis B and C claims and will help you prepare your appeal and collect essential evidence. It’s important to note that your long term disability attorney does not get paid until you do, so you can proceed with your case without fear of upfront legal bills or costs.
Although based in Florida, the Ortiz Law Firm represents claimants across the United States. If you’d like to speak to an experienced long term disability insurance attorney about your hepatitis B and C and how it may be impacting your ability to work, contact us at (888) 321-8131 to schedule a consultation. 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.