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Do I Qualify For Disability Insurance Benefits If I Have Leukemia?

CaveyLaw.com > Practice Areas  > Long Term Disability & ERISA Lawyer  > Long Term Disability Disabling Conditions > Do I Qualify For Disability Insurance Benefits If I Have Leukemia?

Leukemia is a common reason for filing a disability claim. It was why Nancy Cavey’s father applied for long term disability benefits. But disability insurance companies don’t always make it easy for policyholders who have leukemia to get the disability benefits they deserve.

Leukemia is a cancer of the blood-forming tissues, including the bone marrow and the lymphatic system.

The four most common types of leukemia are named according to the type of cell that is affected and the maturity of that cell:

  1. Acute myeloid leukemia (AML);
  2. Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL);
  3. Chronic myeloid leukemia (CML); and
  4. Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL).

Regardless of the type of leukemia a policyholder has, disability carriers are notorious for denying and terminating many claims.

The Common Reasons Leukemia Disability Claims Are Denied

Disability carriers often argue that coverage under the policy is excluded because of the pre-existing condition clause, or that benefits are limited under the subjective limitation clause. Bone pain, fatigue and side effects of treatment can be the most disabling symptoms, but they are subjective complaints. Carriers routinely dispute them.

It is not uncommon for policyholders to have had leukemia for years but 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 treatment will allow you to continue to work so you couldn’t possibly be disabled.

As a result, many disability claims for leukemia are denied. And carriers have still other reasons to deny claims. They’ll say:

(1) There is no objective basis of the diagnosis,

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

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

Nancy Cavey, who has 35 years experience handling disability cases, has successfully represented many policyholders with leukemia. She overcomes a claims denial by working closely with you and your physician. Having seen what leukemia did to her father, Ms. Cavey understands what you are going through.

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

What Are the Symptoms of Leukemia?

The symptoms can vary depending on the type of leukemia. The most common symptoms are:

  •   Fever or chills,
  •   Persistent fatigue,
  •   Weakness,
  •   Frequent or severe infections,
  •   Swollen lymph nodes, enlarged liver or enlarged spleen,
  •   Easy bleeding or bruising, and
  •   Bone pain or tenderness.

How Do I Get The Disability Insurance Benefits I Deserve?

Regardless of your diagnosis, leukemia can interfere with your daily activities and with your ability to work. If you no longer can work 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.

Some policies consider leukemia without objective findings to be a subjective condition and limit benefits to just two years. Before you apply for benefits, discover your policy’s applicable limits.

  1. 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.

One of the most common reasons given for a claims denial is that there is “no objective evidence to support your subjective complaints of bone pain or fatigue.’’ The carrier often makes a leap of logic and concludes that the policyholder either is exaggerating or faking their pain.

Nancy Cavey knows what proof is necessary to meet the policy definition of disability.

  1. Obtain a copy of your personnel file to see if your leukemia has affected your work performance.
  2. 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. Don’t forget to explain what activities increase your pain.
  3. 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.
  4. Prepare a pain diary that explains your pain and side effects of medication, and gives examples of how your pain, fatigue and other symptoms interfere with your ability to do things on a daily basis. Your pain may even give you problems with concentration.
  5. 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.
  6. 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

Leukemia 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.