Meniere’s Disease and Long-Term Disability Insurance: A Claimant’s Guide
Meniere’s disease affects hundreds of thousands of Americans every year and causes disabling pain and suffering to many. Unfortunately, those who file for long-term disability are often denied due to a lack of information and assistance to help the understand the complexities of their claim.
While filing a successful disability claim for Meniere’s disease can be difficult, it doesn’t have to be impossible.
At Bryant Legal Group, our team of long-term disability attorneys are experienced in working to help people with disabilities get their lives back. We know how insurance companies try to prevent claimants from getting compensation for their disabilities, and work to provide our clients with the answers to avoid these tactics.
In this article, we will cover what Meniere’s disease is, what to consider while filing a claim, and what may either strengthen or weaken your claim.
Meniere’s Disease: An Inner Ear Disorder
Meniere’s disease is an inner ear disorder that can cause a variety of debilitating symptoms, such as ringing in the ear (tinnitus), intermittent hearing loss, a feeling of congestion or fullness in the ear, and severe dizziness (vertigo). Some sufferers of Meniere’s disease will have such extreme vertigo that they will lose balance and fall, resulting in what is known as a “drop attack.”
This condition can develop at any stage of life but is often first noticed between the ages of 40 and 60. No two cases of Meniere’s disease are the same, with symptoms ranging in severity and frequency. However, this disease is relatively common and has around 45,000 new cases a year, according to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders.
Common Causes of Meniere’s Disease
Meniere’s disease is caused by a buildup of fluid in the inner ear, specifically in compartments known as the vestibular labyrinth. However, what causes this inner ear fluid to build up is still unknown. Some scientists believe that it is connected to the same blood vessel constriction that causes headaches, while others believe it to be connected to viral infections, allergies, autoimmune reactions, or even genetics.
The buildup of endolymph fluid in the vestibular labyrinth interferes how the inner ear and brain coordinate balance and hearing through the ear canal. Most cases of Meniere’s disease will start and remain in only one ear, but some cases spread to both ears.
Most commonly, Meniere’s disease will be diagnosed by a medical specialist known as an otolaryngologist, also commonly known as an ENT (ear, nose, and throat doctor). These doctors will perform hearing tests, vestibular tests, and may even order an MRI or CT scan to rule out other possible causes of your symptoms. Your diagnosis will then be determined by a combination of test results, your medical history, and if you suffer from any of the symptoms below.
Common Symptoms of Meniere’s Disease
Symptoms of Meniere’s disease can vary from case to case. If left unattended, mild symptoms can lead to severe conditions like vertigo or hearing loss. If you or a loved one are suffering from any of the following symptoms, seek medical attention immediately:
- Trouble balancing
- Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
- Temporary or permanent hearing loss
- Pressure or fullness in the ears
- Trouble sleeping
- Impaired concentration or memory
Can I Get Disability Benefits for Meniere’s Disease? What to Consider When Filing a Claim
Many Meniere’s disease disability benefits claims are denied due to insufficient medical records covering diagnosis, treatment, and testing. Insurance adjusters often claim that those suffering with Meniere’s disease are exaggerating their symptoms in order to receive disability insurance they do not deserve.
Keep in mind that a diagnosis by itself does not mean that a disability claim is supported or not. The most important step you can take toward building a successful long-term disability claim for Meniere’s disease is keeping thorough medical records. To prove your claim is legitimate, you will need an official diagnosis, proof of testing and treatment, and documentation showing the severity and frequency of your symptoms. Insurance companies will be looking for clinical signs (physical symptoms) and diagnostic testing when considering your claim.
Proving Inability to Work Due to Meniere’s Disease
When filing for long-term disability, a main factor of your success will be proving that your disability prevents you from performing your work duties. Symptoms of Meniere’s disease can certainly be disabling, but to receive disability insurance benefits, they must directly interfere with your ability to work. Insurance companies may not always understand how these symptoms impact your performance, so it is important to explain clearly.
For some, ringing in the ears and hearing loss will affect their ability to understand information from coworkers or customers, whether in person or on the phone. For others, extreme vertigo can create high risk in jobs requiring physical labor or dangerous conditions or prevent those with highly skilled occupations from using computers all day. Those who suffer from fatigue may even experience a lower ability to perform tasks, risking their careers in skilled trades and fields.
How to Strengthen Your Disability Insurance Claim
Beyond the steps listed above, there are many other ways to strengthen your long-term disability claim. Be open and honest with your doctors about negative side effects from medication and treatment, stay consistent with your medical treatment (especially during flare-ups), and limit your consumption of substances that may affect your condition like alcohol, caffeine, and tobacco.
It is also valuable to have someone with experience available to help you communicate with (and fight back against) insurance companies. Hiring a long-term disability attorney can take the stress off you, so you can focus on recovery.
Looking for Personalized Advice From an Insurance Lawyer?
Bryant Legal Group: Helping People Claim Disability for Meniere’s Disease
Bryant Legal Group, a premier Illinois disability insurance law firm, has helped many professionals get the long-term benefits they deserve. We take a proactive approach to LTD claims, helping doctors, lawyers, and others from the very beginning of their claims. We use this approach to help you avoid making any potential common mistakes with your claim. If the insurance company denies your claim, we will be at your side to help you file an appeal.
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