Parkinson’s disease is a progressive nervous system disorder. It significantly affects a person’s movement. As a result, it may prevent a person from working. However, many people with Parkinson’s disease are denied long term disability benefits. Unfortunately, it is not enough to show that you suffer from Parkinson’s Disease. You must show that your Parkinson’s disability prevents you from performing the duties of your job.
Even still, it is possible to receive long term disability benefits if you have Parkinson’s disease and Tucker Law Group has won hundreds of Parkinson’s disability cases. Below, we will outline the process for seeking these benefits.
Is Parkinson’s Disease a Disability?
Generally speaking, the disease itself is not a disability, but the symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease can certainly be disabling. Insurance companies do consider Parkinson’s disease a condition that can cause disability. However, in order to receive your Parkinson’s disability benefits, you must generally show three things. First, you must show significant medical evidence that supports your disability claim. The insurance company will assess your Parkinson’s by considering whether your medical records document symptoms such as the following:
- Cognitive functioning
- Motor functioning, including tremors, writing problems, grip strength, etc.
- Slowed movement (bradykinesia)
- Rigid muscles and the pain caused by muscle stiffness
- Speech impairment
- Other non-motor symptoms, like losing the ability to blink or swinging one’s arms when walking.
Second, you must show proof that you have received the appropriate treatment. For example, your doctor may recommend that you work on improving your movement with a physical therapist. Your long term disability insurer will want to see that you have made a consistent effort with this physical therapist. Essentially, you must meet regularly with your doctor and follow his or her advice, unless there is a solid medical reason not to do so (such as a co-morbid condition that prevents a certainly therapy or drug). Further, you must have documentation showing that you have followed this advice.
Third, you must show how your Parkinson’s symptoms impact your ability to perform your job duties. The frequency and severity of your symptoms need to be documented – along with a list of your job duties that are impacted by those symptoms. The disease alone will not be sufficient to win a disability claim. You must prove how the disease limits or prevents you from working.
Parkinson Disease Disability Benefits
The physical symptoms of Parkinson’s disease can prevent you from performing everyday tasks. This can include physically attending work. Thus, if you have received a Parkinson’s diagnosis, then you should review your group long term disability insurance policy. The following information applies to most people with group long term disability insurance.
Parkinson’s Disease Is Generally Covered
Under nearly all group employer disabilty plans, new hires can typically receive coverage regardless of their pre-existing health conditions. Yet, most insurance policies exclude pre-existing health conditions for an extended period of time. Often, a person must have coverage for 12 to 24 consecutive months to make a claim based on the limitations from their pre-existing conditions.
Benefits Cover a Portion of Your Salary
Most employer’s group disability plans provide Parkinson’s disability benefits which cover around 60 percent of a person’s salary. He or she can receive this money until the age of 65 (or in some plans, until Social Security retirement age) if disabled. However, these benefits are often offset (reduced) by benefits received from workers’ compensation and Social Security, among others. Further, the group disability insurance benefits available under many employer plans are taxable. Thus, a person suffering from Parkinson’s disease will often take home less than 60 percent of his or her salary.
Contact Our Long Term Disability Attorneys
Are you living with a Parkinson’s disability? You may consider filing a long term disability insurance claim. At Tucker Law Group, we can help you decide if this option is right for you and help you fight an insurance company that denies disability benefits for your Parkinson’s Disease. We can help you prepare the strongest claim possible. For a free consultation, contact our nationally recognized law firm at (866) 233-5044. You can also send us a message online through our online contact form.