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Getting Long-Term Disability (LTD) Benefits for Dementia

According to the World Health Organization, more than 55 million people worldwide suffer from some form of dementia.  The most common form of dementia is Alzheimer’s Disease, which affects around 5.8 million Americans.

While many people think of Alzheimer’s Disease when they hear the word “dementia,” the two are not entirely synonymous.  Dementia encapsulates several conditions that affect the brain.  Nevertheless, any form of this condition can impair a person’s ability to work.

For those with dementia, long-term disability (LTD) benefits may be necessary to protect their income.  Further, such benefits allow a person to get the care they need to treat their condition.  Dementia-related conditions are progressive with no known cure, so having long-term disability benefits is crucial.

Call us today at (800) 544-9144 for a free consultation.  If you need LTD benefits, we may be able to help you.

What Is Dementia?

Dementia causes the loss of cognitive function in a person.  For example, a person may have trouble thinking and remembering things.  Further, a person’s reasoning skills diminish.  It also affects a person’s behavior and emotions and can make interacting with others difficult.

Unfortunately, dementia gets worse with time.  Eventually, a person suffering from a form of dementia will become completely dependent on others for their day-to-day living.  As such, working while suffering from dementia can become impossible.

While many older people develop dementia, it is not a natural part of aging.  In most cases, the cause is unknown.  Researchers believe some people inherit dementia.  Moreover, genetic mutations can cause dementia, though this is rare.

Types of Dementia

As mentioned, there are several types of dementia.  A person may also have multiple forms simultaneously—this is known as “mixed dementia.”  All these conditions affect a person’s brain and can qualify them for long-term disability benefits.

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Some common forms include:

  • Alzheimer’s disease: This is the most common form. While the exact cause of this disease is unknown, researchers believe it comes from mutated genes in the brain.
  • Lewy body dementia (LBD): This form affects a person’s brain through unusual clumps of protein. This disease affects the thinking, mood, bodily movements, and behavior of the sufferer.
  • Vascular dementia: This form is a direct result of a person having a stroke (or strokes) that damages their brain. The most prevalent symptom of vascular dementia is memory loss.
  • Frontotemporal dementia (FTD): FTD affects the nerve cells of the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain. This form encompasses several other brain disorders.

Additionally, there are dementia-linked brain disorders, including:

  • Huntington’s disease: This disease affects a person’s brain and spinal cord. Nerve cells within these areas waste away.  This disease can appear in young people too—usually around 30 or 40 years old.
  • Parkinson’s disease: Parkinson’s disease often leads to a condition known as “Parkinson’s disease dementia.”  This form of dementia begins about a decade after developing Parkinson’s.
  • Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease: While this condition is rare, it is also extremely rapid in its progression. It results from proteins causing other proteins in the brain to become abnormal.  This fatal condition causes symptoms of dementia.

Symptoms of Dementia

Some symptoms do not occur until well after the disease is present within the body.  Nonetheless, these symptoms can vary based on the individual.  Certain factors that affect which symptoms a person experiences include age and the specific dementia condition.

Dementia causes healthy parts of the brain (i.e., neurons) to cease working properly and eventually die.  Everyone experiences some neurons dying as they age, but those with dementia lose a much higher number of neurons.

While these symptoms vary from person to person, they can include any of the following:

  • Memory loss (both long- and short-term memory)
  • Confusion
  • Language issues, such as having difficulty speaking or expressing oneself
  • Struggling with reading and/or writing
  • Hallucinations
  • A lack of empathy
  • Acting unusually, such as wandering from room to room
  • Balance issues
  • Taking longer than usually to completely standard everyday tasks
  • Paranoia

All the above-mentioned symptoms can get worse over time.  It is difficult for a person suffering from this condition to recognize these symptoms.  Usually, a person close to them will recognize the differences in the person’s cognitive abilities.

Diagnosis and Treatment of Dementia

Diagnosing dementia is difficult.  Doctors need to recognize patterns in a person’s symptoms, including what they can and cannot do.

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Nevertheless, to receive a diagnosis of a type of dementia, you must visit a doctor.  Your doctor will perform a physical examination.  Additionally, they will ask you about your medical history and your symptoms.  Often, the doctor must interview a close relative to get a better understanding of the symptoms you are having.

Unfortunately, there is no test that can diagnose dementia—at least not on its own.  Therefore, doctors usually run a series of tests to reach a conclusion.  These tests can include neurological evaluations, which evaluate your memory, language, balance, and other related abilities; imaging tests, such as CT, MRI, or PET scans; and blood tests.

Since most types are uncurable, treatment only slows the progression of the condition.  However, these treatments can make living day to day easier for the person suffering from dementia.

Once a person receives a diagnosis (and, likewise, a specific dementia-related condition diagnosis), their doctor may prescribe them medication.  Medications may include cholinesterase inhibitors, memantine, medications for depression, medications for hallucinations, and more.

A doctor may also recommend certain therapies to lessen the problems associated with dementia.  One type of therapy commonly used is occupational therapy wherein a person learns how to make their home safe and how to cope with the debilitating nature of their condition.

Dementia and Your Long-Term Disability Claim

Dementia is a debilitating condition that makes working impossible.  The longer a person suffers from it, the worse it becomes.  Since all professions require a certain level of cognitive abilities, even early symptoms can be devastating.

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Consider a pharmacist who has early signs of dementia.  The pharmacist may forget which medicine goes to which client, and this can have detrimental consequences.  Likewise, a surgeon suffering from dementia can put the lives of their patients at risk.

Simple tasks become burdensome.  It can be impossible to perform the duties of your job.  Additionally, when a person is still in the initial stages of their condition—and recognize the progressive nature of their condition—they are likely to experience depression and anxiety, which can further inhibit their ability to work.

It is vital, when filing an LTD claim, to gather as much evidence as you can.  This evidence will prove your disability and how it affects you daily.  Insurance companies want to see how your dementia impairs you.  Thus, the specific dementia-related condition you have is not as important as the impaired cognitive abilities you experience each day.

It can be an arduous process to file for long-term disability benefits.  Filing a claim can be more stressful than normal if you suffer from a form of dementia.  It can make filling out forms and submitting evidence seem like an impossible obstacle to overcome.  Therefore, it is important to consult an experienced LTD attorney when filing for benefits.

How CCK Can Help You with Your Long-Term Disability Claim

Filing for long-term disability benefits for your dementia may be necessary.  LTD benefits can protect your income and allow you the time to manage your illness.  However, insurance companies do not like paying claims.

The long-term disability lawyers at Chisholm Chisholm & Kilpatrick have over 30 years of experience dealing with insurance companies.  We know how they operate and want to help you navigate this complex process.  We believe you should not worry about filing for your LTD benefits and instead should focus on your health.

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Our team will begin by thoroughly reviewing your long-term disability policy.  Within your policy is a definition of disability that is vital for your claim.  Insurance companies look to see if your disability matches the definition within your policy.  To prove that it does, you must submit evidence.

CCK will determine the best evidence to gather for your dementia LTD claim.  This evidence can include specialized reports from your treating physician; witness statements from family, friends, and coworkers; and additional evaluations from outside experts.  Medical records are crucial to a claim, but they often do not tell the whole story.  Therefore, supplemental evidence is sometimes necessary to reinforce your claim.

Additionally, we can act as your point of contact with your insurance company.  Insurance companies are difficult to correspond with and routinely ask for more documentation and evidence.  We will handle all of this and ensure that your insurer receives all information on time.

Moreover, if you receive your LTD policy from an employer, you will have to deal with ERISA law.  Our team has experience in ERISA law and understands the added complexities thereof.  For example, if your initial claim receives a denial under ERISA, then the appeal stage is the last time you may submit new evidence.

Call CCK Today for a Free Consultation

Dementia can make filing for long-term disability benefits difficult, but these benefits are necessary so that you may focus on managing your condition.  Our team understands this and wants to help you.  We will handle everything on your behalf.

Additionally, we can continue to represent you even after you receive an approval.  Insurance companies usually continue asking for updated forms and evidence.  We will handle these aspects so that you may retain your hard-won benefits.

Call us today at (800) 544-9144 for a free consultation with a member of our team and see how we may be able to assist you.