I Have Cancer. Will I Qualify for Long-Term Disability?

Long–term disability benefits are typically available to employees who have been diagnosed with cancer. However, many LTD cancer claims are denied. Whether you are approved depends on the specifications of your LTD policy and the severity of your illness.

The process of securing long-term disability insurance when you have cancer

Physicians classify cancer into stages depending on the size of the tumor and how far it has spread throughout the patient’s body.

Stage 1

During this stage, cells that are confined to a single part of the body begin to grow abnormally. Depending on the severity, stage 1 cancer can be removed using a surgical procedure. Successful LTD claims based on stage 1 cancer are very rare.

Stage 2 and 3

During this stage, cells continue to grow locally or spread solely to the nearby lymph nodes. Stage 3 usually involves the advanced growth of cells into the lymph nodes. Those in these stages can secure LTD benefits, particularly if they experience severe symptoms like headaches, cough, fever, fatigue, or nausea.

Stage 4

Stage 4 refers to cancers that spread beyond the regional lymph nodes into extended parts of the body. Although they can be receptive to treatment, they are primarily associated with severe symptoms that are easy eligible for a successful LTD claim.

Disability benefits dependent on treatment side effects

Treatments for patients tend to vary depending on the location and spread of the cancer. Surgery can eliminate cancerous skin lesions, while lung cancer is usually treated using chemotherapy and radiation. Widely used cancer treatments include proton therapy, gene therapy, bone marrow transplants, and laser treatments.

Some of the work-debilitating side effects of chemotherapy includes fatigue, a compromised immune system, pain, nausea, and digestive problems. For radiation therapy, some of the side effects may include skin irritation, persistent fatigue, and other symptoms that may limit one’s work activities.

In most cases, these side effects can provide a sufficient basis for short-term disability insurance benefits that can replace a part of the patient’s income for up to six months.

Proving a long-term disability case

Anyone applying for long-term disability benefits should expect to have their case carefully scrutinized, regardless of whether your cancer has reached stage 2, 3, or 4. It is therefore essential that your claim contain all the relevant medical information related to your disability. The federal law that is responsible for governing most LTD plans, ERISA, provides workers or their lawyers with the opportunity to request a free copy of the claim from the specified plan administrator. Once you have this copy, you must make sure that it contains all necessary diagnostic tests, some of which include bone scans, biopsies, CT scans, MRIs, x-rays, and ultrasounds. In addition, they should include relevant notes from your physician or oncologist.

Are you a cancer patient seeking long-term disability benefits? Contact the long-term disability lawyers at Beedem Law for a FREE consultation and learn more about your options. Reach out to us online or by calling 612-305-1300.

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