Most people filing for long-term disability benefits do not suffer from just one medical condition. There are probably multiple issues with various symptoms and side effects, that, when combined, cause a person to be totally disabled under the terms of his or her disability policy.
When filing for long-term disability benefits, it is important to be up front in the initial claim with all of your medical conditions, not just the one that you think is the most disabling. It is necessary to provide as much proof (medical records, tests, lab results, etc.) as you can for each condition and symptom. The more you have to support your claim of total disability, the better your chances are for approval.
A claim for long term disability is often denied because the insurance company finds that the medical condition causing the disability is not, itself, disabling. For example, the insurance company will review the evidence of your disabling condition and find that you could work, but with some limitations. However, you likely have other medical conditions or issues that also make it impossible for you to continue working. Sometimes, these other conditions are by themselves causing your disability and sometimes these conditions just make your overall medical situation worse.
Disclose All Conditions Up Front
If your claim is denied, you have the right to an administrative appeal with the disability insurance company. You do always have the opportunity to provide additional proof of other medical issues – or even new issues – during the appeals process. Even if you think a minor medical condition or issue is not as important and isn’t the cause of your disability, it may be relevant and helpful to your case. So, you should disclose all your medical conditions up front in the initial claim.
It is important to note that the insurance company can only consider the information that is provided to them. They may require clarification or additional information regarding your medical condition, but they are not going to ask about additional issues. It is not in the insurance company’s best interest to seek out more information from you that may help your claim. That is why full disclosure from the beginning is your best chance at getting the disability benefits approved.
The process of compiling all this information and knowing which information is important is not straightforward. Having an experienced attorney to help guide you through the process, either initially, or through the appeal or a lawsuit for disability benefits, can ensure you have the most complete file, and that gives you the best chance of getting your long-term disability benefits.