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Cancer Disability Insurance Benefits Claim


  • Cancer Long Term Disability Claim Video

How can Disability Insurance Attorneys Dell & Schaefer assist you?

As disability insurance attorneys, Dell & Schaefer have represented numerous long term disability claimants that have been unable to work as a result of being diagnosed with cancer. Disability Attorneys Dell & Schaefer have an expansive understanding of the significant restrictions and limitations that a person with cancer must live with on a daily basis. We have worked closely with top physicians in order to sufficiently satisfy a disability carrier’s threshold of evidence necessary to prove that a client is disabled by cancer.

Not everyone suffering with cancer qualifies for long-term disability benefits, therefore the medicals records of each client must be reviewed to determine the level of restrictions. With most clients suffering from cancer, it is the side effects of the medication and therapies which prevents them from being able to work. While many people are able to go into remission we have represented many disability claimants that continue to suffer with fatigue, brain fog, anxiety, depression and cognitive impairment as a result of the their cancer treatments.

We welcome the opportunity to discuss your long-term disability claim. You can contact us for a free initial consultation.

What is cancer?

Cancer refers to any one of a large number of diseases characterized by the development of abnormal cells that divide uncontrollably and have the ability to infiltrate and destroy normal body tissue.

Cancer begins in your cells, which are the building blocks of your body. Normally, your body forms new cells as you need them, replacing old cells that die. Sometimes this process goes horribly wrong. New cells grow even when you don’t need them, and old cells don’t die when they should. These extra cells can form a mass called a tumor.

Tumors can be benign or malignant. Begnin tumors aren’t cancer while malignant ones are. Cells from malignant tumors can invade nearby tissues. They can also break away and spread to other parts of the body.

Cancer is the second-leading cause of death in the United States, second only to heart disease. One in four Americans is diagnosed with cancer everyday. There are over 200 known types of cancer that can affect the human body.

How the symptoms and treatment can affect you

Although each type of cancer has its own specific set of symptoms, there are general symptoms that occur in many types of cancer such as; persistent fatigue, unintentional weight loss, lower back and stomach pain, fever, bowel changes and chronic cough.

These general symptoms in combination with the more specific symptoms of the type of cancer a person suffers from can be debilitating, both mentally and physically.

Treatment also varies based on the type of cancer and its stage. The stage of a cancer refers to how much it has grown and whether the tumor has spread from its original location. Surgery, radiation, chemotherapy are the most common types of treatment for various types of cancer. The side effects of chemotherapy and radiation can be unpleasant and can include radiation recall (reddening and blistering of the skin), fatigue, nausea, pain, hair loss, anemia, infection, blood clotting problems, nerve and muscle effects, skin and nail effects, fluid retention and flu like symptoms.

For most people with cancer, living with the disease is the biggest challenge they have ever faced. The disease changes your daily routines, roles and relationships. It can cause money and work problems as those who suffer from cancer often find themselves unable to continue to work due to the physical and mental demands of the disease and treatment. It can change the way a person sees themselves physically and emotionally.

However, through prevention education, early screening and improved treatments, overall diagnosis and death rates have dropped and survival rates have increased.

Resources and information

There are many valuable sources of cancer information available. You can also access resources over the internet such as:

There are numerous charities dedicated to cancer research, prevention, detection and treatment including:

There are 20 opinions so far. Add your comment below.

Debi Pitts:

I was diagnosed with Castleman’s Disease in 2007, had malignant tumor 8.5 cm in left kidney by the time it was found and lost kidney. Continued to work for last 3.5 years in executive position at college. Lost 5 staff to RIF and ran student affairs office for @3,000 student with 22% having significant and serious disabilities documented and others with serious mental health issues. Working 16-17 hours days with only one other staff and myself. Severe systemic symptoms – began having progressive signs of chronic kidney disease, blood work showing problems, and then spot showed on right kidney one day before received letter from Liberty Mutual denying my STD any longer than Nov. 30, because it seemed I could continue to work. Documentation from both oncologist and primary care stating that it would be against their medical advice for me to RTW and requested extension through March 2012. Now have to appeal – no benefits after Nov. 30 (even though they had all doctors input since November 8, didn’t hear until December 20.

What do you recommend?
Distraught Dean.

Attorney Greg Dell:

Debi,

I am sorry to hear about your situation. You need to file an appeal in order to have a chance of having your benefits reinstated. Please contact us privately at 800-828-7583 so that we can discuss your options with you.

Alice Ann:

I was diagnosed with Stage 1 lymphoma large cell B in March 2013. Chemo therapy treatments and radiation treatments followed. Because I was unable to return to my former job I was placed on LTD benefits from CIGNA. To date I am suffering from cognitive impairments, fatigue, lethargy, depression and anxiety. I am currently working with a psychiatrist who has been working with the forms necessary to be filled out for helping to support my LTD claim with CIGNA (he seems to be expert in working with disability claims). On my own accord I visited a neurologist in Oct 2013 who provided no help for the cognitive impairments except to refer me to have neuropsychological testing. Per this testing it was determined that I had mild to moderate cognitive impairment and the source of the impairments were coming from depression and anxiety. No mention of possible effects of chemo and radiation treatments was mentioned.

Is there no official diagnosis for “chemo brain”? How can I prove that the chemo and radiation treatments caused the cognitive impairments? I had suffered from depression and anxiety PRIOR to the cancer but DID NOT have the cognitive impairments I currently experience prior to the cancer. I have turned over the report of the testing over to CIGNA and now I am afraid that I have ruined my claim because there is no definitive arrow pointing to cancer treatments as being the source of the problems I am now experiencing.

This comment may appear to be too organized for someone with cognitive decline, but believe you me this comment took over an hour to complete.

Attorney Stephen Jessup:

Alice,

Neuropsychological testing would be the appropriate testing to document cognitive decline. Did the test results indicate the decline was on account of your physical medical conditions or did it indicate some other basis for the problem?

Alice Ann:

Dear Stephen,

The test results concluded that depression and anxiety were the cause of my cognitive decline.

Yes, I have been treated for depression and anxiety for years prior to the cancer and during. Is there any way for me to prove that the chemo therapy and radiation treatments were the cause of my cognitive decline? I’ve submitted the test results to my LTD carrier and now feel that I’ve made a huge mistake! “Chemo brain” is very real and I would think it could be used as part of my disability claim. Please advise…

Attorney Stephen Jessup:

Alice,

I agree that Chemo Brain is a very real thing, but in order for your cognitive decline to be associated with same you will need to discuss with your doctors the ways to establish that.

Angela:

Hi,

I’m Diagnosed with MPN/polycythemia Vera also with Essential Thrombocytosis. MRI review by my neurologist indicated advanced microvascular disease with lacunar imfarct (stroke) affecting executive function, and several other CV accidents. I was also diagnosed with Erythromelalgia. I am pursuing tests to determine if there has been vascular damage to other areas or organs. Currently on low dose Chemo and have started medication for secondary stroke prevention and short term for sleep and anxiety. Cigna nas received the neuro report but questioned it because the follow up was in 4 months. Cigna keeps asking for what my restrictions and limitations are but are not accepting the doctors responses. Last form he indicated ‘no work, no stress’.

I have severe fatigue, anxiety, cognitive problems related to Chemo and I assume also the stroke. The chemo is causing stomach pain, nausea, weakness, muscle pain etc.

What is Cigna looking for. My doctor doesn’t seem to be giving them the right answers and this is continuing to delay the STD determination. I’m seeing the doc again tomorrow and foes are due again. I will most likely need your help in the future but wanted to see if you could provide some direction for filling out the limitations and restrictions part. I am really sick and this is really not helping at all. Thanks in advance.

I work in clinical drug developement and manage several people. My job has very high demands and requires constant decision making, solution finding, maintaining a high-functioning team, planning, a lot of conversations and engagement with others etc at a very fast pace. There is no way that I can properly do my job in this condition.

Attorney Stephen Jessup:

Angela,

Unfortunately, without seeing a copy of the policy, correspondence and medical records/claim forms we would not be able to give you much insight as to what is needed to perfect your claim. Please feel free to contact our office to discuss your claim in greater detail.

Kathleen S:

I was diagnosed with colon cancer 2010 was on ltd for two months and went back to work after finishing chemo. Cancer returned and spread to lungs. Was approved for ldt and company recommend by MetLife help me get social security which was awarded in December 2014. Finished chemo end of December 2014. No evidence of desease as of October 2015. MetLife contacted oncologist in May. Oncologist said could not go back because of fatigue, brain fog and pain in joint and muscles, bones and depression and anxiety. MetLife constantly calling to get me back to work. They called me the end if September and told me the would not bother me for six months to a year. They called me today to inform me that they were going to ask my oncologist if I could do any work. I feel like I am being harassed. My oncologist now is telling me to go to other doctors. Reumatologist states have high ana indicating an auto immune desease but can’t figure what which one. New primary said problems due to chemo. Was previously seeing psychiatrist for depression anxiety. Feel like I have no support. I am a widow with no other means of support except my ltd and social security. All of this has put me in such a high state of anxiety. Worse than previously. I am hoping you can tell me what to do. My oncologist is getting annoyed. He seems like he is only concerned that I am desease free now. Even though he and my reumatologist said the cancer would be back and try to enjoy everyday.

Attorney Stephen Jessup:

Kathleen,

Your situation is not at all uncommon. With many cancer survivors on disability as soon as the cancer is in remission the insurance companies will view it as you being fit for return to work. It then becomes a battle to prove the effects of the treatment continue to disable you, which can be very hard to do given the subjective nature of fatigue and concentration problems. Please feel free to contact our office to discuss your claim moving forward.

Tina:

I was diagnosed with Stage 2A breast cancer in 2009. I had chemo and about 37 rounds of radiation. In addition I had several surgeries one of which was a bilateral mastectomy.
I took the year off to complete my treatments and surgeries. I returned back to work in January 2010.
Since then I have diagnosed with Graves Disease and have been on medication for several years which is frequently being adjusted. I have anxiety that prevents me from sleeping and sleep apnea. I also suffer depression and one of the hardest of all is the fatigue.
I have joint pain all most all of the time, migraines and of course Chemo Brain.
For the last year and a half I have been experiencing eye problems and vertigo. After several doctors I finally found a doctor that has at least identified the problem.
I have quite a few different things going on and it just keeps getting harder to keep up with my obligations.
I don’t know if any of this qualifies me for any assistance. But I’d like to check my options.
Thank you,
Tina

Attorney Stephen Jessup:

Tina, we handle claims related to privately purchased or employer provided disability insurance claims, do you have any such coverage? If not your only option would be to explore SSDI if you are not able to work due to your conditions.

David:

I was diagnosed with chronic lymphatic leukemia and currently undergoing chemotherapy with strong chance for remission within 6-8 months of starting therapy. Long-term disability starts after 90 days of discontinuing work and lasts for 2 years. My concern is that once in remission and physicically doing better, the insurance company will discontinue the disability bnefits claiming that I am no longer disabled. I will still have chronic leukemia that is in remission. Are my worries unfounded and will I be able to continue the the full 2 years of benefits that I have paid with a life time of premiums?

Attorney Stephen Jessup:

David, your worries are not unfounded as the concern you expressed happens to many people. When cancer is in “remission” the insurance carriers will typically interpret that to mean that you are fine to return to work regardless of any of the lingering effects of medication/treatment, etc. Please feel free to contact our office if you would like to discuss your situation further.

Toni:

Hi. My name is Toni, I’m 44 years old, was diagnosed with breast cancer in december 2017, had mastectomy of right breast, went back to work only part time. Medications have me unable to really focus, medical assistant for years, had hysterectomy june 21 2017. Had cervical fusion in 2008, now having issues with my neck again since mastectomy I’m right handed and that my dominant hand hard to grasp things. Didn’t have chemo or radiation, taking pill for next five years, been on three different kind due to severe side effects. Want to work but only working 16 hours a week, right arm swelling. What are my options?

Attorney Stephen Jessup:

Toni, if you are covered under an disability insurance policy through your employer or have one you purchased on your own then you could explore filing a claim for benefits. If you do not have such a policy your only option may be social security disability. You would need to consult with an attorney than handles SSDI to discuss your options.

Jill A.:

Mr Jessup.
In June 2016 I was diagnosed with stage 2 infiltrating right breast cancer with subsequent surgeries (2 and a right mastectomy) 2 forms of chemo and 6 weeks of radiation. I will be taking a hormone suppression medication for the next 10 years. I will be having a left mastectomy Oct 11th.

The Hartford cancelled my LTD they said because they did not receive the paperwork that they requested from my chemo-therapist. The side-effects that I still have make it impossible for me to work in the capacity of an in-patient psychiatric RN..my career since 1999. My chemo brain, tremor/numbness anxiety/startle response, fatigue and diminished eyesight would impact my ability to assess, safely medicate, take orders, chart and respond in an emergency situation. Hartford is focused on “how far can you walk?” kind of stuff… not what is critical in my position. Thanks

Attorney Stephen Jessup:

Jill, please feel free to contact our office to discuss your claim in detail. You are correct that the focus of the disability should be on the cognitive aspects of work as opposed to the physical ability.

John:

My cancer came back and it is now considered stage 4 and I am off work for now on STD. I figured Stage 4 would be automatic for LTD but looking at others stories I may be wrong?

Attorney Victor Peña:

John, no LTD claim is automatic. Sometimes the LTD claim is automatically reviewed once your STD benefits are exhausted but the LTD carrier will still have to do a review to determine if you meet the terms of your LTD policy.

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