Getting Long-Term Disability (LTD) Benefits for Spondylosis
Spondylosis is a chronic and degenerative condition that affects a person’s spine. This condition is more common in older people, though symptoms can occur in younger people. Most people will experience a form of spondylosis as they age.
When a person develops spondylosis symptoms, they may notice it affecting their ability to work. Since spondylosis is a degenerative disease, it will get worse over time. When these symptoms get worse it may become impossible to work. In such situations, a person with spondylosis must consider filing for long-term disability (LTD) benefits.
If are filing an initial claim or appealing a denial of long-term disability benefits, contact the LTD lawyers at Chisholm Chisholm & Kilpatrick at (800) 544-9144 for a free consultation. We can evaluate your case and see if we are able to assist you.
What Is Spondylosis?
Spondylosis encompasses several types of age-related degenerative conditions of the spine, though they all share some common characteristics.
Types of spondylosis include:
- Cervical spondylosis, which affects the neck;
- Lumbar spondylosis, which affects the lower back;
- Thoracic spondylosis, which affects the mid-back;
- Lumbosacral spondylosis: which affects the sacrum area of the back; and
- Multilevel spondylosis, which is when spondylosis affects multiple areas of the back simultaneously.
The pain and stiffness associated with these forms of spondylosis can become a burden for many, especially over time. As such, spondylosis can hinder a person’s ability to work. Long-term disability benefits may be necessary to help protect a person’s income in such a case.
Symptoms of Spondylosis
Many people with spondylosis may not experience any symptoms, and others may have symptoms that come and go. However, some may experience a myriad of chronic symptoms. Symptoms of spondylosis include:
- Back pain;
- Stiffness of the back;
- Clicking, grinding, or popping sounds in the spine with movement;
- Weakness in the limbs;
- Muscles spasms;
- Pain that can radiate and spread to a person’s limbs;
- Lack of coordination;
- Difficulty walking due to lack of balance; and
- Loss of bowel or bladder control.
Many of the above-mentioned symptoms can get worse with movement, so doctors often recommend rest to relieve the severity of the symptoms. Additionally, a person may feel nothing at all until a sudden movement of the body triggers the symptoms.
Diagnosis and Treatment
If a person begins to feel any of the above-mentioned symptoms, they should visit their doctor. A doctor will first try and rule out any other conditions by reviewing the patient’s medical records and history and conducting a physical exam.
To receive a diagnosis of spondylosis, the doctor may use certain imaging tests, such as X-rays, MR scans, and CT scans. In most people, the signs of spondylosis are present in X-rays of the back. Moreover, spondylosis can cause nerve tissue in the spine to become compressed; when this happens, it can cause a tingling sensation. In such cases, a doctor may also administer a nerve test to see if the patient’s muscles are receiving nerve signals.
For most people who suffer from a form of spondylosis, non-operative treatment methods are common. For example, a doctor may prescribe over-the-counter medications to relieve back pain or recommend physical therapy to keep the body active. Wearing a back support brace can help mitigate the effects of spondylosis, too.
Doctors do not typically recommend surgery for spondylosis, though it is sometimes necessary when there are bone spurs or pressure on the nerves. Certain surgeries can help remove these spurs and relieve nerve pressure.
Spondylosis and Your Long-Term Disability Claim
If you suffer from spondylosis, you may need to file for long-term disability benefits. LTD benefits help protect your income when you cannot work due to a medical condition or injury. As such, these benefits usually cover all or a percentage of your pre-disability earnings.
Chronic back pain and stiffness, along with a myriad of other possible symptoms, can make working difficult. For example, if your profession requires a lot of standing, your back pain can make this impossible. Moreover, if you need to use your hands with precision, e.g., a surgeon, and you suffer from limb pain, dizziness, or numbness, this could put your patients at risk.
Spondylosis can affect a hard-working professional in many ways. You likely have spent your life honing your skills and building your career, so the prospect of losing that career is troubling.
When you believe you need to file for long-term disability benefits, you first must submit a notice of claim to your insurance company. This notice begins the process of obtaining your benefits. However, conditions such as spondylosis can be difficult to receive an approval for, so it is important and beneficial to contact a long-term disability attorney who can help you through the process.
Chisholm Chisholm & Kilpatrick Can Help with Your Spondylosis LTD Claim
Many people suffer from back-related conditions that prevent them from working. However, insurance companies deny many back-related LTD claims. They usually cite insufficient objective evidence showing the extent of the claimant’s debilitating condition.
Of course, this does not mean you cannot receive an approval for spondylosis, but it will require you to submit enough objective evidence to show how your condition prevents you from working. While many claimants may decide to handle their long-term disability claims alone, an attorney can help navigate the process. The LTD lawyers at Chisholm Chisholm & Kilpatrick understand the difficulties of filing for disability benefits and want to help.
Dealing with the Insurance Company
Insurance companies should handle every case fairly, but this is not always the case. Insurance companies prioritize their financial needs over the health needs of their clients, and this can happen with any claim. As mentioned, insurance companies routinely deny claims made for back-related conditions, including spondylosis. Yet they will still continue to ask for information for your claim.
Our team has over three decades of collective experience dealing with insurance companies. We know how they operate and can help you deal with them. CCK can act as your point of contact with your insurance company, meaning we will handle all correspondence with them on your behalf. Moreover, we will track all deadlines and submit all requests on time.
Your Long-Term Disability Policy and ERISA Law
Long-term disability policies are often hard to understand. Yet there is a lot of valuable information contained within them. If you are suffering from spondylosis, it is vital to understand your policy. Chisholm Chisholm & Kilpatrick have extensive experience with such policies and can help you understand yours. For example, all policies have a definition of disability, which you must prove to receive benefits. We can determine the best evidence to gather for your claim using this definition.
Generally, you will want to gather objective information that demonstrates the severity of your condition. For example, getting copies of any scans, such as X-rays or MR scans, your doctor took to diagnose you is beneficial. Moreover, witness statements from family, friends, or coworkers can also help. Additional evaluations—such as functional capacity tests and vocational evaluations—can also support an LTD claim for spondylosis.
If you receive your policy through your employer, then ERISA law governs it. ERISA law is complex and often complicates claims. This federal law brings its own strict rules and deadlines to which claimants must adhere. For example, you may only submit new evidence during the initial claim and administrative stages but not during litigation. An ERISA attorney knows this law and how to follow it and can help you ensure a fair review of your claim.
Appealing a Denial of Benefits
As mentioned, insurance companies deny many claims. They do not want to pay claims, so they try and find reasons to issue a denial. In such cases, CCK can also assist with your appeal. We can review your denial letter and directly address any issues therein. This will help strengthen your claim by gathering new and updated evidence to include with your appeal.
The administrative appeal stage is often the last time you may submit new evidence. As such, if your case were to go to litigation, you must rely on the evidence from your appeal and initial claim. If litigation is necessary, CCK can represent you.
Call CCK Today for a Free Consultation
Filing for benefits while also managing your condition is stressful. CCK understands this and wants to help. We believe you should not have to worry about filing for benefits; dealing with ERISA law; handling the insurance company; and wondering if you made a mistake. We believe you should focus on your health. CCK can handle the rest wherever in the LTD process you are.
Call us today at (800) 544-9144 for a free consultation with a member of our team. We will evaluate your case and see if we can assist you.
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