Multiple Sclerosis is a serious neurological disorder that is often disabling. The Multiple Sclerosis Foundation estimates that more than 400,000 people in the United States suffer some level of symptoms from the condition. Not all cases lead to disability. However, the condition can progress to the point that continuing to work is no longer an option for some people. Unfortunately, a diagnosis alone does not automatically lead to a long term disability benefit approval and insurers may resist paying benefits if they deem the evidence of functional impairment inadequate.
The disease does not follow a linear direction, and progression of the condition can vary widely. Symptoms are often episodic, with exacerbations and relapses. Because symptoms wax and wane, this often presents a potential pitfall for individuals seeking LTD benefits.
Common symptoms of MS include:
- Problems with blurry vision, including potential blindness
- Numbness and tingling
- Muscle weakness
- Dizziness and vertigo, which may also affect balance
Symptoms can vary between individuals and may also vary depending on the specific type of MS that an individual person is suffering from. MS may occasionally result in paralysis, however roughly two-thirds of individuals with MS remain ambulatory with the assistance of a cane or other device, according to the MS Society.
Insurance carriers may argue that the medical evidence does not support a finding of disability under the terms of the policy. Reasons may include a claimed lack of objective medical evidence, intermittent symptoms that do not rise to the level of disability, a lack of substantive change in symptoms to show progressive deterioration and other claims of lack of adequate medical evidence.
The MS Society recommends that individuals keep a personal log of symptoms, and update the diary regularly. Medical records are critical in any LTD insurance claim. It is important to explain to your doctor the need for detailed records that include an assessment of functional impairments. if you expect to file a claim, working with your doctor in advance of filing a claim can make a significant difference in the claims process.
Proving disability can be complex. An LTD disability insurance lawyer can assist you in preparing an initial application or help you to appeal a claim denial.