Anyone who has multiple sclerosis (MS) or knows anyone who has, knows how tragic and debilitating the illness can be.
Although MS is a well-documented degenerative disease that causes loss of motion control and renders people almost completely helpless physically over time, insurance carriers are often reluctant to approve long-term disability claims for MS. It is critical to understand how to make a winning claim in order to get the benefits you need.
Why do insurance carriers deny MS claims?
There are a couple reasons. First, insurance companies tend to deny claims. Insurance is a for-profit enterprise, and paying out on every claim would result in bankruptcy for insurance carriers. They have to find ways to deny claims as often as possible to stay profitable.
Second, multiple sclerosis is a degenerative disease. Most people who get MS can still function more or less the same during the first years of getting it. Then, over time, the symptoms increase: speech problems, loss of strength and muscle coordination and blurred vision.
When a worker might be totally capable of performing at work for the first years will eventually become unable to work, but the diagnosis – MS – has not changed. Without a change in diagnosis, insurance carriers often refuse otherwise valid claims.
Three things to improve your chances of getting your MS disability claim accepted
There is never a guarantee of getting a long-term disability insurance claim accepted, but these steps will help:
- Document the change: It is important to work with a medical professional to obtain documentation of your changing condition. Although the underlying diagnosis remains the same, your doctor can create a record of your deteriorating condition to establish that, while you could work effectively in the past, now you cannot.
- Making sure the right terminology is used in your claim: Terminology is extremely important on these insurance claims. Make sure your doctor is extremely thorough and uses terminology that aligns with the terminology used in the policy.
- Working with an experienced lawyer: Having an attorney on your team helping you through every step of the process is an invaluable asset. From the initial filing of your claim to administrative appeals to an appeal in court and a possible lawsuit in civil court, a good attorney can help you increase your chances of getting your claim approved.
There is a lot at stake for sufferers of MS. For many, without the insurance benefits, they could be without any income at all. Make sure you do everything you can to get the benefits you need.