Can I Receive Long Term Disability for Leukemia?
Being diagnosed with any type of cancer can be overwhelming and frightening. Adding to the stress is the thought that you might not be able to work as you receive cancer treatments. However, long-term disability benefits can give you the income you need as you receive treatments for leukemia.
If you were denied long-term disability after a diagnosis of leukemia, call our long-term disability attorney at 816-203-0143. We will review your denial letter for free and offer a strategy on how to appeal your denial and get the benefits you deserve.
Common Types of Leukemia
Leukemia describes a wide range of cancers of the blood cells. Two factors are used to diagnose the type of leukemia a person develops – the speed at which the cancer develops and the type of blood cells impacted.
Acute leukemia describes fast-growing cancers, and chronic leukemia describes slow-growing cancers. Leukemia may begin in the two major types of white blood cells – lymphocytes and granulocytes. The main types of leukemia include:
- AML or acute myelogenous leukemia is a fast-growing cancer of the myeloid cells that occurs in both children and adults.
- ALL or acute lymphoblastic leukemia is a fast-growing cancer of the lymphoid cells and is the most common type of leukemia for children, but it can occur in adults.
- CML or chronic myelogenous leukemia is a slow-growing cancer of the myeloid that primarily affects adults. There may be no symptoms for months or years until the cells begin to grow more quickly.
- CLL or chronic lymphocytic leukemia is the most common type of leukemia for adults. It is a slow-growing cancer of the lymphocytic cells that may have no symptoms for years.
- Other types of leukemia include hairy cell leukemia, acute promyelocytic leukemia, chronic myelomonocytic leukemia, large granular lymphocytic leukemia, and juvenile myelomonocytic leukemia.
Leukemia begins in the bone marrow and hampers the body from making healthy blood cells. Leukemia may occur because of exposure to radiation, chemicals, or agents used to cure or control other cancers.
Genetic abnormalities may also cause leukemia, but it is not usually inherited. However, chronic lymphocytic leukemia does tend to develop in close family members.
Symptoms of Leukemia That May Cause Long-Term Disability
Symptoms of leukemia vary depending on the stage and the type of leukemia. However, common early symptoms of leukemia include:
- Aching joints or bones
- Skin rashes
- Unexplained weight loss
- Swollen or bleeding gums
- Enlarged liver or spleen
- Swollen glands (lymph nodes)
- Slow-healing cuts, frequent bruises, or nosebleeds
In addition to the above symptoms, symptoms of leukemia that could be disabling include:
- Extreme fatigue
- High white blood cell counts could result in retinal hemorrhage, vision problems, brain fog, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), and stroke
- Increased risk of infections
A person could have leukemia for a long time without experiencing symptoms. However, even after treatment for leukemia, the chronic symptoms could persist, resulting in a long-term disability claim.
Diagnosis and Treatment for Leukemia
Having medical proof that you have leukemia is the first step in filing a long-term disability claim for leukemia. A physician may discover you have leukemia through a routine blood test.
However, most people begin reporting symptoms which prompts a doctor to run blood tests. The doctor may also recommend a bone marrow test to detect leukemia cells. Your physician could also recommend a test for genetic abnormalities. Genetic tests help determine the exact type of leukemia you have, which can formulate a treatment plan.
The treatment of leukemia is based on several factors, including the type of cancer you have, your physical health, your age, and whether the cancer has spread to your central nervous system.
The goal of treatment is to kill the cancerous white blood cells. Unfortunately, that often kills healthy white blood cells, impairing the body’s ability to fight off infection.
Several options for treating leukemia include:
- Chemotherapy (chemicals that kill cancer cells)
- Radiation therapy (use of high-energy beams and x-rays to stop cancer cell growth)
- Targeted therapy (drugs that attack specific weaknesses in the cancer cells)
- Biological therapy (helps the immune system recognize, target, and kill cancer cells)
- Stem cell transplant (replacement of diseased bone marrow with healthy bone marrow from a donor)
Many leukemia treatments cause debilitating side effects. There could also be complications that result in other disabling conditions. For many individuals, it can be impossible to work or perform many of the activities of daily living because of leukemia treatments.
Applying for Long-Term Disability for Leukemia
Even though you are diagnosed with a severe form of cancer, an insurance company may fight your long-term disability claim for leukemia. The company may claim that you can continue working while you receive treatments for leukemia. However, leukemia impacts a person’s ability to work in numerous ways, including:
- The symptoms of leukemia often result in conditions that prevent a person from performing physical tasks, including chronic pain, headaches, vomiting, chronic fatigue, frequent nosebleeds, vision problems, etc.
- The side effects of leukemia treatments can result in vomiting, nausea, infections, fatigue, weight loss, and other chronic symptoms
- Cognitive abilities may be impaired because of the cancer and the treatments and medications for the leukemia
It is up to you to prove that your leukemia prevents you from working when you file a long-term disability claim. In addition to your personal narrative describing your condition, you need detailed medical records and statements from physicians detailing your symptoms, the frequency of symptoms, and how the symptoms impact your ability to function. You may need to see a medical specialist for further evaluation.
What to Do If You Were Denied Long-Term Disability After a Leukemia Diagnosis
When an insurance company denies a long-term disability claim, you must file an appeal quickly. However, you must ensure that the appeal is complete and all evidence is included with the appeal. Our long-term disability lawyer in Kansas City has extensive experience with long-term disability disability appeals.
We understand that leukemia can be disabling and prevent you from working. Therefore, our long-term disability attorney can work with you and your physicians to complete the detailed long-term disability claim forms, reports, and records necessary to support your leukemia long-term disability claim and appeal.
Navigating the process of obtaining long-term disability benefits for cancer can be time-consuming and confusing. Our long-term disability attorney handles the details of your long-term disability claim so that you can focus on your leukemia treatments.
Contact Our Long-Term Disability Lawyer for More Information
Do you have questions about long-term disability claims and appeals? Contact our office to schedule your free consultation by calling 816-203-0143 or completing our online contact form.