In honor of MS Awareness Week, we would like to devote this blog to successfully proving and establishing a disability claim based on Multiple Sclerosis. We find that most of our clients who have MS have struggled to remain at work, but then reach a point where they can no longer continue. In such circumstances, the carrier may ask “what changed?” It is helpful to show that the condition deteriorated even though the client struggled to remain at work. There are steps you can take to help document the progression of the disease:
- Make sure that your doctor’s records accurately describe your symptoms. Many feel that they do not have to describe their fatigue, migraines, muscle weakness, etc. on each visit to their physician(s) because the symptoms are just naturally a part of the disease. This is true, but your medical records must contain a description of the symptoms you are experiencing. If the medical records do not contain an accurate description, a subsequent letter from your physician may be perceived as inconsistent with the medical records.
- If you are experiencing “adverse” side effects from your medication, this should also be reported to your physician. Again, many do not report unpleasant side effects because they are to be expected. However, the side effects and their disabling potential should be accurately described in the medical records.
- Keep a journal. Document migraines and fatigue. In describing migraines, document the length, severity and type of pain of each headache. In describing fatigue, include the same type of description and additionally note what activities you had planned to do, but could not engage in because of the fatigue.
- Keep track of “sick days.” Although you may be using accumulated vacation time for sick days, it is helpful to know what work days were actually missed due to illness. Most disability plans state that you must be able to work with “reasonable continuity.” If you are unable to consistently report to work, this is another factor establishing disability.
There are many other methods of “objectifying disability,” including
- Physician Questionnaires
- Cognitive Testing
- Functional Capacity Examinations, and
- Vocational Assessments
At Kantor & Kantor, we have successfully handled dozens of MS claims. Every claim is different and requires careful analysis to determine which strategy is best for proving your claim. Please give us a call for a free consultation at (818) 886-2525 or use our online contact form.