Long-Term Disability for Individuals With Chronic Pain

According to a survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in 2019, 20.4 percent of adults in the U.S. feel they suffer from chronic pain, and 7. 4 percent of adults report suffering from what the CDC calls high-impact chronic pain. Those with high-impact chronic pain say they felt pain “most days” or “every day.”

Despite which category you fall into under the CDC standards, if you seek a long-term disability (LTD) insurance policy claim for chronic pain, it’s likely you will be met with skepticism if not outright denial. The problem in proving chronic pain is that it doesn’t necessarily show up on an x-ray or MRI. It’s often your word – and that of your physician – against the insurer and their claims adjusters and in-house medical advisers.

If you’re a Minnesota resident seeking to make a long-term disability claim for your chronic pain, or if you have already been denied, contact the long-term disability attorneys at Beedem Law. We have been dealing with insurance companies and their tactics for many years, and we can help you document and press a claim with an improved chance of success.

We proudly serve clients in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and the surrounding communities of St. Paul, Duluth, Hennepin County, Ramsey County, Dakota County, and Anoka County.

Common Causes of Chronic Pain

Some forms of chronic pain – defined by physicians as pain lasting 12 weeks or more – can be attributed to medical conditions or result from medical treatments, including:

  • Post-surgical pain
  • Post-traumatic pain following a serious accident of any type
  • Arthritic pain due to a degenerative bone condition
  • Cancer-related pain
  • Nerve pain from neuropathy
  • Back pain due to degenerative disc disease or other conditions
  • Psychogenic pain linked to mental trauma or psychological issues

The above types of pain may be easier to document for the insurance adjusters, but you will also need to prove that you have restrictions and limitations resulting from your pain and that, together, they prevent you from working.

Chronic pain can also arise from more common causes outside of disease and degenerative conditions. These include:

  • Being overweight, which causes extra stress on the knees and back
  • The result of years of poor posture
  • Curvature of the spine
  • Improper lifting and carrying of heavy objects
  • Sleeping on a poor mattress

Sometimes, there is no one recognizable cause of your chronic pain, which means it derives from multiple factors, or is idiopathic (unknown in origin).

Long-Term Disability as an Option

If your chronic pain makes it impossible for you to work, you may have a claim under your long-term disability (LTD) policy, but the going can be rough. LTD policies are riddled with fine print and exclusions, and your insurer may try to fit your pain into one of those exclusionary categories or simply claim you lack objective findings or substantial verification. Keep in mind, most often, pain cannot be objectively confirmed.  Your pain likely won’t show up on an MRI or x-ray unless the cause shows up on your skeletal structure.

After all, the evidence for chronic pain may exist mainly or solely in statements by the claimant that the insurers will often question. In essence, the insurance company will insinuate that you are making it up or exaggerating the extent of your pain just so you can cash a monthly benefit check.  Many times the insurer goes so far as to suggest that the opinions of your treating physicians are not supported by the medical evidence.

Though it may be difficult to obtain LTD coverage for your chronic pain, it is not impossible. It just requires more effort and documentation on your part.

Helping Your Claim

Chronic pain is often subjective.  It’s your word on how you feel day today. Insurance companies tend to find it harder to deny claims that can be substantiated by MRIs, CT scans, x-rays, and nerve conduction studies. If your condition lacks those types of evidence, you will need to take additional steps.

Insurance companies may also become suspicious if you have a pattern of overusing pain medications. Say you go to the emergency room frequently to get a refill. That can be a red light for the insurers who may suspect you of drug dependency.

Get Help from Experienced Long-Term Disability Attorneys

Another problem you’ll likely face when you file a claim are the tactics and trickery of the claims adjuster assigned to you. They may call and begin by asking, “How are you doing today?” If you answer “good” or “fine,” that can be proof enough for them to claim that you’re not in chronic pain.

Adjusters can also give you a continuous runaround or flood you with documentation request after documentation request. 

Don’t deal with these people on your own. Let the attorneys at Beedem Law deal with them for you. We’ll not only help you assemble a documentation package to improve your chances of success, but we’ll also handle the adjusters so they don’t trick you into saying something they can use against you.

If you want to pursue a long-term disability claim or have been denied an LTD claim in or around Minneapolis, Minnesota, contact Beedem Law immediately to schedule a consultation.


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