Insurance companies need more than a simple diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease in order to determine whether you are eligible for long-term disability benefits. Since Parkinson’s disease is different for everyone, insurance companies will assess your particular level of disability, motor coordination, cognitive and/or mental functioning, and level of fatigue when reviewing your case.
To learn more about applying for Parkinson’s disease disability benefits, contact CJ Henry Law Firm, PLLC today.
You must submit a complete application and medical records for review. The insurance company will be looking at how Parkinson’s impacts your motor functioning and your ability to perform work. The following are a few of the motor skill functions they will assess:
It’s very important that your doctor’s notes are both complete and well-organized. If your doctor handwrites notes in your file, ask for a typed copy to submit to the insurance company. You may have records from several doctors, including a neurologist. Your neurological records need to include the severity and frequency of your symptoms as well as how they affect your ability to work.
For example, if you have hand tremors and your job involves working at a computer, your doctor should describe the severity of your tremors and how the tremors prevent you from doing your job. He or she should note whether your tremors are constant or intermittent and if they prevent you from typing effectively. You may also experience a loss of fine motor skills which is another factor that would make it difficult to work at a computer.
In addition to objective information, your doctor’s opinion or evaluation of your symptoms and ability to function is a key part of your records.
The effects of Parkinson’s disease are not only physical in nature. They can also alter your cognitive and/or mental functioning. Some of the symptoms your insurance company will look for related to cognitive functioning are as follows:
The insurance company will accept documentation from several types of providers including a neurologist, neuropsychologist, psychiatrist, or psychologist. However, records from a neuropsychologist are preferable and carry the most weight with the insurance company.
As with motor functioning records, your doctor’s opinions about your symptoms and how they impact your ability to perform your job are crucial to the insurance company’s assessment for your Parkinson’s Disease disability benefits application. For example, if your job requires quick analysis of information, memory loss and delays processing information may make it impossible to do your job effectively.
Fatigue can be difficult to prove because of its subjective nature. The insurance company will assess the extent of your fatigue and how it prevents you from working. Your doctor should include information about your ability to do the following. Can you:
Your physician’s observations and opinion of your fatigue level will help your application as well as increase the likelihood that you’ll qualify for Parkinson’s disease disability benefits. If your job requires you to analyze complex information, your doctor should state whether or not you are able to concentrate long enough to effectively complete the task.
These symptoms affect you physically but do not involve motor function. Symptoms in this category include the following:
Documentation should include the frequency, severity, and how your symptoms prevent you from performing your job. For example, if you have recurring episodes of blurred vision, you would not be able to operate a machine safely. For a symptom such as a vision problem, the insurance company will also want to see a report from a vision specialist.