According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), those living with Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) have reported more losses in function in every domain of human activity than those without arthritis. What does this loss of function mean for RA patients in the workplace? Unfortunately, for many people this means their illness becomes so debilitating they can no longer continue to work. Living with chronic illness can make managing one’s health feel like a full time job.
The life-altering adjustments for those living with chronic illness are many. For some, this means adjusting to the idea of no longer being able to enjoy their career or participate in the workforce, no longer being able to contribute to family finances, and no longer being able to participate in pleasurable hobbies and activities. It is not uncommon for those diagnosed with chronic illness to grieve for the person they were before their illness, and to grieve for the life that they used to live. This transition can be incredibly difficult, especially when the symptoms of your illness are “invisible” to others. Living with RA can be an isolating experience, separating you from work and colleagues, forcing changes into your social life, and creating a strain on relationships and friendships.
A life once full of satisfying work, detailed social calendars, pastimes and physical activities, and family obligations can swiftly become bombarded by ceaseless doctor’s appointments, medication management, medical treatments, alternative medicine treatments, deep set fatigue, sleep disturbances, pain, and constant uncertainty.
As if coping with the layers of change and modifications that come with chronic illness were not enough to suffer, some individuals experience the additional burden of convincing their insurance company that their illness 1) is real and 2) is totally disabling. Although it seems downright obvious to those living with chronic illness (and to the family and friends who surround them), insurance companies are not so easily convinced and require very specific evidence for a long term disability claim. If you find yourself having to make a disability claim, you must provide evidence of all the ways your life has changed. Document everything. Don’t assume that any insurance representative will either help you, or try to understand what you are going through. Don’t hold back for fear of being trivial or because you want to appear stronger or more capable than your disease allows you to be. Make the insurance company aware of every aspect of how your disease occupies your time and makes you suffer. And, make sure to enlist the aid of your doctors, family, friends and co-workers to provide supporting statements about your circumstances.
For more information on satisfying your insurer’s definition of disability, please visit our previous blog post How To Satisfy Your Insurer's Interpretation of Total Disability.
At Kantor & Kantor, we have spent the last 25 years advocating for clients whose insurance companies have failed or refused to pay claims arising out of disability. We understand, and we can help. www.kantorlaw.net (800) 446-7529