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
It is vital that you have a comprehensive understanding of your long term disability policy. If you have a group policy through your employer, you can request a copy from your human resources department. Once you have a good grasp of the terms of your policy, you will be in a better position to decide if you have a solid case for benefits. When you start gathering information for your claim, make sure you include all the information needed to strengthen your claim. This file is crucial to your case, as it includes all communication between you and your insurance provider, your medical records, doctors’ notes, and even video surveillance footage if applicable.
Recommendations To Stay Organized
The application process involves a significant amount of paperwork. Organizing and preserving all relevant documentation can be beneficial in case your claim is denied and you have to file an appeal. Consider setting up a folder or filing system for the following documents:
- A copy of your LTD policy.
- Copies of all correspondences between you and your insurance company.
- Proof of why you cannot do your job (medical documentation will be required).
- Records from all medical providers who have treated your disabling condition.
- Summaries of all discussions (over phone or in person) between you and representatives of the insurance company, medical personnel, and your employer.
- Keep all documents in chronological order so that you have a comprehensive record of how your claim was processed.
Working with a Long Term Disability Attorney
Coping with sarcoidosis brings a multitude of difficulties. Given the limited treatment options and severe potential side effects, applying for long term disability benefits is a wise step. Follow the guide above to file your claim and keep your documents organized. If your claim is denied and you need assistance, feel free to reach out.
Working with an experienced disability attorney can improve your chances of a successful appeal. Ortiz Law Firm is headquartered in Florida, but we represent claimants nationwide. Call us at (888) 321-8131 to schedule a free consultation. We will assess your claim, determine your eligibility for long-term disability benefits, and guide you on how to move forward with the appeal process.