If you are about to file a long- or short-term disability insurance claim because of fibromyalgia, or if you have filed a claim and are experiencing problems with having your disability benefits paid, you should speak with an experienced long-term disability insurance policy attorney who has successfully handled fibromyalgia claims.
If you have questions, call Jason Newfield or Justin Frankel at 1-877-LTD-CLAIM (1-877-583-2524) or click here to send an email.
Disability insurance companies hate fibromyalgia claims. Disability insurance companies consider fibromyalgia a “syndrome” and not a real disease, so when a long- or short-term disability claim of fibromyalgia is filed, it sends up a red flag and starts a process of claims delays and denials that add considerable stress and strain on the person suffering from fibromyalgia.
Frankel & Newfield disability claim attorneys represent many people with fibromyalgia so they can focus on dealing with their illness and taking care of themselves. Successful advocating for disability benefits when fibromyalgia is diagnosed requires knowledge and experience of the disease and disability insurance company’s claims, appeals, and litigation processes.
Disability insurance companies tend to characterize fibromyalgia patients as malingerers, and claims representatives are not sympathetic to the fact that people with fibromyalgia suffer from a variety of painful symptoms, including widespread musculoskeletal chronic pain, fatigue, numbness, chest pain, memory problems, pelvic pain, headaches, irritable bowel syndrome, and sleep disturbances, all of which are symptoms of fibromyalgia.
The intensity of fibromyalgia symptoms varies from patient to patient. For some people, the symptoms of fibromyalgia come and go, so the same person who cannot get out of bed one day is the same person who can enjoy a normal day another time. For others, it is a never-ending, daily struggle with pain and fatigue. This is the nature of the disease; its unpredictability adds to the challenge that sufferers must live with.
In some instances fibromyalgia symptoms begin after a physical trauma, surgery, infection or significant psychological stress. For others, fibromyalgia symptoms gradually appear and increase in intensity with no single ‘trigger’ event. That unpredictability is interpreted by the insurance company as meaning that fibromyalgia is not a real disability and does not merits benefits.
Today, contemporary medical science recognizes that fibromyalgia is a real disease, not a syndrome or a condition.
Researchers now believe that fibromyalgia amplifies painful sensations by affecting the way that the brain and the spinal cord processes pain signals. It is recognized as a neurochemical problem. Several risk factors have been identified, including sleep patterns, family history and having had rheumatic disease. There are general classification guidelines for fibromyalgia, established by the American College of Rheumatology.
The challenge for the fibromyalgia claimant is a lack of objective evidence and testing. Fibromyalgia cannot be seen on an x-ray or in your blood work. Fibromyalgia is understood to be somehow linked to changes in how the brain and spinal cord process pain signals.
A diagnosis is made by evaluating symptoms. According to the Mayo Clinic, newer diagnostic criteria includes widespread pain that lasts at least three months, fatigue, waking up tired, trouble thinking and no other underlying condition that could be causing these symptoms. There are other diseases with similar symptoms, and those need to be ruled out before a final diagnosis of fibromyalgia is made.
Another challenge facing fibromyalgia claimants comes from their own physicians. Your doctor is not a disability insurance lawyer – nor should she or he be one. The doctor and their team are focused on providing you with the best care possible.
Unless they have treated many fibromyalgia patients who have successfully filed for disability benefits, they may not know that their reports and records play a large part in the fibromyalgia disability claim. Your reports must include certain information, including comments about how fibromyalgia has made it impossible for you to perform the specific and material tasks of your occupation.
The National Fibromyalgia and Chronic Pain Association (fibroandpain.org) is a nonprofit organization that works to support people suffering from chronic pain illnesses and their families and friends. A section on the website titled “Economic Burden” outlines the financial challenges faced by sufferers. A third of fibromyalgia patients responding to a 2007 study reported that they spend between $100 – $1,000 per month over and above the cost of their insurance to see a healthcare professional.
There are certain drugs used to treat the symptoms of fibromyalgia, although there is no cure for this debilitating disease. At best, fibromyalgia is managed with a combination of medicine and lifestyle factors. Exercise, stress-reduction medication, and learned relaxation techniques are found to offer some relief.
Despite advances in the understanding of fibromyalgia, including specific criteria used to diagnose the disease, insurance companies still consider fibromyalgia patients to be questionable at best and malingerers at worse.
For the individual facing a life of chronic and disabling pain, it is critical to contact an experienced law firm that has a track record of success with representing claimants at every step of the process.
If you have filed a long- or short-term disability insurance claim because of fibromyalgia and the insurance company is not processing your claim in a timely manner or has denied your claim, speak with an experienced long-term disability insurance policy attorney who has successfully handled fibromyalgia claims.
Secrets the Disability Insurance Companies Don't Want You to Know!