This week, the American Heart Association and the American Stroke Association are presenting the International Stroke Conference 2015 in Nashville, Tennessee. It is a huge scientific conference, with experts in every aspect of cerebrovascular disease. The size of the conference is in direct proportion to the prevalence of strokes in the American population. According to the Centers for Disease Control, strokes kill almost 130,000 Americans every year and are the fourth leading cause of death for Americans.
A stroke is caused by a blocked blood vessel or bleeding in the brain. It is sometimes called a “brain attack,” similar to a heart attack, when blood does not flow properly to the heart and sections of the heart tissues die. In the case of a stroke, portions of the brain are oxygen deprived and brain cells are destroyed or damaged.
Strokes were once through of as something that only happened to the elderly, but in 2009, 34% of people hospitalized for strokes were younger than 65. The quality of life after a stroke occurs depends a great deal on the severity of the stroke and to some extent, the overall health and well being of the person.
Stroke victims face particular challenges regarding filing a claim for long term disability insurance benefits. The sudden onset of a stroke also makes dealing with a disability claim more challenging than an illness where there is time to adjust to the limitations. Most stroke victims have a problem with communicating, as speech is frequently impaired by a stroke.
The effects of a stroke present a strong example of the importance of spouses making sure that they each know where important documents are. We have fielded calls from spouses who had no idea if their husbands or wives had disability insurance policies, where the policies were located, or who – insurance agent or Human Resources officer – needed to be contacted to begin the process of applying for short or long term disability benefits.
Disability benefits for stroke victims seem as if they should be quite straightforward, but unfortunately this is not always the case. Disability insurance companies take advantage of the fact that strokes vary widely in their impact, so that a person who has had a stroke may have a small stroke that has no after effect, or they may be completely disabled.
The same claim guidelines apply for a stroke victim that apply for any disability:
- Locate the original disability insurance policy to be sure you are fighting for the correct benefits.
- Do not delay in filing a claim for disability insurance benefits.
- Document all conversations with insurance company representatives.
- Have a trusted friend or family member handle all requests for further information.
- Do not let requests from insurance companies that arrive by mail go unanswered, as there are strict time limits.
The effects of a stroke can be devastating. Having an experienced disability insurance attorney representing you and your family will allow you to take care of your loved one and focus on their care and recovery.
Call our office today if you have questions about disability insurance claims.