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The best time to identify and understand your disability coverage is before you need it.  Many with Parkinson’s disease continue to work long after they are diagnosed.  Depending on your job and your symptoms, you might continue working without accommodation.  However, at some point, you might need to reduce or change how you work, or you might need to stop working altogether.  If you have disability insurance coverage and you suffer lost income because of your Parkinson’s disease, you may qualify for benefits.  However, you risk losing your benefits if you do not understand your rights and obligations.

If you have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, you should determine whether you have LTD insurance coverage.  You may have purchased disability coverage, or earned it as an employment benefit from work.  It is a good idea to involve someone you trust – family member, close friend, or your LTD attorney.  For some, Parkinson’s disease can impair cognitive function and impact focus, memory, planning and organization.  Even if the outward effects are subtle, cognitive impairment could cause you to make a mistake that could result in a benefit denial.

If you purchased an individual disability policy, you have probably paid premiums for coverage on an ongoing basis – monthly, quarterly, or annually.  Review your financial records and checking accounts for evidence of these payments.  If you find payments to an LTD insurance company, you might request a copy of your policy from the insurance company.  If you have an insurance agent, you can also ask your agent to help you get a copy of your policy.

Ask your employer for information on your employment benefits.  If you earned your disability insurance coverage as an employment benefit, or purchased it through your employer, you can ask your human resource contact or supervisor for a copy of the Summary Plan Description (SPD) for each benefit plan and pension plan, in which you participate.  Some employers allow you to access these documents online.  The SPD should contain basic information about your coverage.  However, there can be other documents that superseded the SPD if there is a discrepancy.  Also, your coverage may be governed by more than one document.  You can request a complete copy of your plan governing documents in writing from the plan administrator, which is usually the employer.

If you have coverage, you should review it carefully to learn about your benefits and how to access them.  Organize your insurance information and store it in a safe place that you and your trusted person can access if needed.  This will provide you with peace of mind if you need help accessing your benefits down the road.

Should your LTD claim be denied, contact our office for a free consultation.  Do not fight your insurance company alone.  Focus on your health and family, and let us do the rest.

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