Parkinson’s disease is a debilitating and disabling condition for which the firm has been representing clients for many, many years. Lately, we have seen a significant increase in the number of people afflicted with Parkinson’s disease who have both consulted with and hired us, to help them get their long-term disability benefits paid.
Parkinson’s Disease disables people in multiple different professions. We currently represent clients who are surgeons, corporate executives, teachers, and other healthcare professionals, to name a few.
To best ensure the likelihood that individuals who are disabled from Parkinson’s Disease get paid their long-term disability benefits, here are a few tips.
See The Right Doctor
Parkinson’s Disease is diagnosed by a neurologist because it is a movement disorder at its core. Any neurologist can make the diagnosis, but there are neurologists who specialize in diagnosing and treating Parkinson’s Disease.
Get a Proper Diagnosis
Diagnosing the disease typically begins with you, the patient, adequately explaining to the doctor all of your symptoms.
Those symptoms can include difficulty in the movement of your limbs, difficulties with speech, tremors both at rest and in action, issues with balance and posture, cognitive impairment, problems with stress, anxiety and mood, trouble walking, and sleep difficulties. It is important for you as a patient to be thoughtful and honest in communicating all of your symptoms to your doctor, to enable your doctor to make an appropriate diagnosis.
Because there is no one test to definitively diagnose Parkinson’s Disease, it is a diagnosis of exclusion whereby your doctor makes a judgment based on an understanding of your symptoms as conveyed by you and the doctors’ clinical observations of you.
As far as diagnostic testing, there are brain imaging studies that can help with the diagnosis. Most recently, a new test called a DaTscan, which measures the level of dopamine in the brain, has become a more accurate, though not totally accurate, diagnostic tool.
There are also certain medications which can be tried to help manage or control the symptoms, and those medications can further support a diagnosis of Parkinson’s Disease.
Understand Your Occupational Duties
If you are seeking long-term disability benefits due to an inability to perform the duties of your own occupation, then it is important for a doctor to clearly understand what the duties of your occupation are and why you believe you cannot perform those duties. Sometimes, your inability to perform your occupation will be obvious, based upon the duties required of you. In other instances, the doctor will need clarification as to why you can’t perform the occupation, based upon your inability to do certain of the key or important duties of the occupation.
Make Sure Your Doctor Will Support Your Claim
You need to confirm that your doctor will support your disability claim. Without proper medical support for a long-term disability claim, it is just about impossible to get the claim paid. Support from your doctor will include the filling out of supporting paperwork, usually in the form of what the insurance companies call attending physician statements. The forms can be somewhat detailed, but most physicians should not have trouble preparing them.
In general, it is wise to start a course of treatment with your doctor and go to a number of visits before asking that doctor to support your claim. Walking into a first visit for the primary purpose of just getting support for your long-term disability claim will often be met with resistance from your doctor.
While there are many issues and other potential steps necessary for you to succeed in the long-term disability benefits process, this information outlines the most critical steps for the medical support part of the long term disability benefit process.
If you have any questions regarding long-term disability claims based on Parkinson’s Disease or any other neurological or medical condition, do not hesitate to contact us.
Evan S. Schwartz
Founder of Schwartz, Conroy & Hack