Lyme Disease, Tick Borne Illnesses & Long Term Disability
Yes, Lyme Disease and other tick born illnesses could qualify for long-term disability benefits depending on the circumstances of the case. However, insurance providers often will deny and aggressively fight against Lyme disease and similiar long-term disability (LTD) claims.
One of the reasons they fight these claims is that it can be challenging to obtain the correct diagnosis of the disease. Without strong medical evidence to support your disability claim, the insurance provider can deny the claim. The best chance you have of fighting the insurance company is to consult with a long-term disability lawyer.
Our long-term disability lawyer will review your denial letter for free and offer guidance on next steps to fight back. Call us today at 816-203-0143.
What Are Common Symptoms of Lyme Disease?
Lyme disease is transmitted to humans when a black-legged tick or “deer tick” bites a person. It is a bacterial infection. The symptoms of Lyme disease appear in stages. Symptoms can overlap between stages. The common symptoms of Lyme disease include:
- A rash that might appear within three to 30 days after the tick bite. The rash can form a bull’s-eye pattern and spread up to 12 inches. The rash could develop in more than one area on the body.
- Body aches
- Neck stiffness
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Joint pain and swelling
- Neurologic problems, including Bell’s palsy, meningitis, impaired muscle movement, and weakness or numbness in the limbs
Less common symptoms of Lyme’s disease include eye inflammation, severe fatigue, heart problems, and hepatitis.
If you have been bitten by a tick and experience any symptoms, see a doctor immediately. Treatments for Lyme disease and other tick borne illnesses are more effective when the person begins treatment early.
You also need to see a doctor to document your symptoms if you need to file a long-term disability claim. Medical records are the key to proving that you have the condition and your symptoms are severe enough to prevent you from working.
Can Lyme Disease Prevent You from Working?
Lyme disease symptoms can make it impossible for a person to perform the tasks required for their job or any other job. Fatigue, headaches, and chronic pain can interfere with concentration. Additionally, the side effects of the antibiotics can add to the challenges of working while receiving treatment. In some cases, a person might need to be hospitalized for treatment.
For some individuals, Lyme disease results in lifelong medical and emotional complications. A person could work for years with Lyme disease, but the treatment and symptoms finally overcome their ability to continue working. A person might develop additional symptoms, including cognitive disability, impaired memory, joint conditions, and arthritis, years after being infected with Lyme disease.
Even though a person might not develop severe Lyme disease symptoms, the combination of multiple symptoms could prevent a person from working.
How to Prove a Long Term Disability Claim for Lyme Disease
One of the most challenging issues related to long-term disability for Lyme disease is proving you have the disease. Blood tests can confirm Lyme disease, but the early tests could return negative results. Your body must produce antibodies before the blood test returns a positive result. Insurance companies use negative test results to deny disability claims.
Also, the symptoms of Lyme disease are common for other types of illnesses. A person could have Lyme disease for months before they receive a correct diagnosis. By then, the treatment for Lyme disease might not be as effective.
Because Lyme disease falls into the category of self-reported conditions, doctors rely on their patients to report their symptoms. The doctors use those reports to diagnose the condition. Objective medical tests are rarely performed to confirm the self-reported systems.
To receive long-term disability benefits, you must prove that your symptoms are severe enough to substantially interfere with or prevent you from performing job tasks. Objective testing, such as blood tests and functional work assessments, can help strengthen the evidence for your claim.
Appealing a Denial of Long Term Disability Claim Based on Lyme Disease
Hire a Kansas City long-term disability lawyer to appeal your denial. If you cannot work because of Lyme disease, an attorney can help you develop a strategy for appealing your denial of disability benefits.
Depending on the situation, your lawyer might advise that you undergo more objective testing. For instance, you might need to complete a Functional Capacity Evaluation, complete a fatigue study, or see a specialist for neuropsychological testing. Your lawyer understands what types of medical evidence needed to overcome the insurance company’s objections to your claim.
Your attorney can discuss the need for reports with an objective basis and reason for your diagnosis, limitations, and restrictions with your doctor.
Your attorney also helps you gather circumstantial evidence to strengthen your case. Statements from family members, supervisors, and coworkers confirming your self-reported symptoms and explaining how your symptoms impact your ability to perform job duties and activities of daily living. Copies of your work performance and reviews can help establish a decline in work performance since you were diagnosed with Lyme disease.
Contact Our Kansas City Long-Term Disability Lawyer
If your long-term disability claim was denied, contact the Law Office of Kevin J. McManus by calling 816-203-0143 to discuss your case with a Kansas City LTD attorney. Do not delay. If you have received a denial letter, you have very little time to file an appeal.