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Do I Qualify For Disability Insurance Benefits If I Have Huntington’s Disease? > Do I Qualify For Disability Insurance Benefits If I Have Huntington’s Disease?

Huntington’s disease causes a breakdown or degeneration of the nerve cells that has a devastating impact on the person’s ability to move and think. Most people with Huntington’s, a genetic disease, develop symptoms in their 30s or 40s.

Disability insurance companies don’t always make it easy for policyholders who have Huntington’s disease to get the disability benefits they deserve.

How Do Disability Carrier’s View Huntington’s Disease Disability Claims?

Disability carriers often say the pre-existing condition clause in your policy excludes coverage, or that benefits are limited under the subjective limitation and/or mental/nervous clauses. Cognitive impairments and psychiatric disorders can be among the most disabling symptoms, but they are subjective complaints or mental conditions. Carriers routinely dispute them.

It is not uncommon for you to have had Huntington’s disease for years and not been disabled. You will have to overcome the carrier’s argument that you have been working with these problems for years and nothing has changed.  It is crucial that your medical records develop the progression of your symptoms.

Carriers also may argue that your problem is really psychiatric.

As a result, many disability claims for Huntington’s disease are denied. And carriers have still more reasons to deny claims. The disability insurance company will say:

(1) There is no objective basis of the Huntington’s disease diagnosis,

(2) There is no objective basis for the restrictions and limitations assigned by your physician, or

(3) There is no causal relationship between your Huntington’s disease and/or your restrictions and limitations, and your inability to do your own or any occupation.

A successful Huntington’s disease claim takes detailed planning and preparation. Nancy Cavey, who has 35 years experience handling disability cases, has successfully represented policyholders with Huntington’s disease. She overcomes a claims denial by working closely with you and your physician.

She often employs a vocational expert to address the disability carrier’s argument that you have been able to work for years, or that there is no vocational reason you can’t work in your own or any occupation, despite your movement, cognitive and psychiatric disorders.

Nancy Cavey offers a free initial consultation and welcomes the opportunity to speak with you about your disability claim.

Huntington’s Disease and Disability

Huntington’s disease causes movement, cognitive and psychiatric disorders that vary from person to person, by symptom and severity.

The progression of the disease and these movement, cognitive and psychiatric symptoms must be developed fully in your medical records.

Movement Disorders

The movement disorder symptoms include:

  1. Involuntary jerking movements and impaired gait and balance that can make walking, sitting, and standing difficult,
  2. Muscle rigidity that can make it difficult to use your hands,
  3. Slow or abnormal eye movement that can make it difficult to read or use a computer, and
  4. Difficulty speaking that can make it difficult to interact with other employees and the public.

Cognitive Disorders

Cognitive impairments can destroy your ability to perform your occupational duties and interact with others in the workplace.

These can include:

  1. Problems organizing, prioritizing and focusing on work tasks,
  2. An inability to stay on task and finish work tasks,
  3. Difficulty in learning new information, and
  4. Slowness in processing thoughts and finding the right words.

Psychiatric Disorders

Huntington’s can organically cause a lack of impulse control that can result in outbursts in the workplace or a lack of awareness of one’s behavior. Carriers will mischaracterize these symptoms as psychiatric in nature, as a way of limiting benefits to 24 months under a mental nervous limitation.

Depression is a common psychiatric disorder associated with Huntington’s disease that can cause:

  1. Social withdrawal,
  2. Lack of interest in work,
  3. Fatigue and loss of energy, and
  4. Feelings of irritability.

It is important that you closely review your disability policy for the mental/nervous limitation to see how broadly the limitation is written. You don’t want your claim limited to 24 months when your symptoms really are due to the changes in brain function.

You should provide your physician with a history of how your symptoms have changed, and how those symptoms have interfered with your ability to do the material and substantial duties of your own occupation or any occupation. Don’t forget to tell your physician about all the side effects of your medication, and how it makes it difficult for you to work.

How To Win Your Huntington’s Disease Claim

The development and progression of your Huntington’s disease must be documented in your medical records together with information about how your symptoms impact your ability to function at home and at work. You can’t just stop working and claim disability if your medical records don’t document how your symptoms have become disabling.

You must get treatment from a specialist because carriers also will argue that your physician isn’t qualified to render opinions in your claim, or that you aren’t getting the right type of treatment.

If your physician doesn’t support your claim, it is time to change physicians.

How Do I Get The Disability Insurance Benefits I Deserve?

Huntington’s disease can interfere with your daily activities and with your ability to work. If you no longer can work because of Huntington’s disease or your doctor has told you to apply for disability benefits, you should take steps before you apply:

  1. Obtain a copy of your disability policy. See how it defines “disability,” “occupation” and “self-reported conditions.” You’ll need to understand what you have to prove and if there are limitations in your coverage.
  2. Closely review your policy to see if it includes a “mental/nervous’’ limitation clause that limits benefits to 24 months. Look at how broadly the limitation clause was written, and whether Huntington’s disease is excluded as an organic brain disorder.
  3. Obtain a copy of your medical records. Review them to see if there is an objective basis for your diagnosis, what your records say about your report of symptoms and your restrictions and limitations.
  4. Obtain a copy of your personnel file to see if your Huntington’s disease has affected your work performance.
  5. Obtain a copy of your job description. Create your own description of your physical duties with an explanation of how your symptoms impact your ability to do your occupation.
  6. Provide your doctor with the occupational description. Ask your doctor to prepare a report that explains the objective basis for your diagnosis, the objective basis of your restrictions and limitations, and the objective reasons you can’t perform some or all of the material and substantial duties of your occupation.
  7. Prepare a Huntington’s disease diary that explains and gives examples of how your symptoms interfere with your ability to do things on a daily basis and the side effects of your medication.
  8. Hire Nancy Cavey to help you file your initial application. The application process is confusing and designed so you and your physician make mistakes that can result in a delay or even a denial of your benefits. Ms. Cavey knows how to prepare and file a winning shock and awe disability application that leaves the carrier little reason to question your claim.
  9. Hire Nancy Cavey to help you appeal a wrongful denial or termination of your disability benefits. Disability carriers are in the business of collecting premiums and not paying disability benefits. They’ll use any reason to deny your claim. The odds of getting your benefits on appeal are greater when you are represented by an experienced ERISA/private ID policy disability attorney.

Contact Disability Attorney Nancy L. Cavey, Who Can Help You Regardless of Where You Live

Huntington’s disease can make it difficult, if not impossible, to work. You owe it to yourself and your family to get help today! Nancy Cavey can review your policy and your medical records, and explain to you what your policy says and how to get your disability benefits.  Call today for a free consultation at 727-894-3188.