How the Complex Symptoms and Unknown Cause(s) of Multiple Sclerosis Can Delay Your Disability Insurance Claim

How the Complex Symptoms and Unknown Cause(s) of Multiple Sclerosis Can Delay Your Disability Insurance Claim

Multiple Sclerosis, or MS, is a disease of the central nervous system that causes a wide range of debilitating symptoms, which no two people diagnosed with MS experience exactly the same.

Severe fatigue, dry mouth, weakness, bipolar affective disorder, dizziness, loss of balance, bladder dysfunction, difficulty speaking, sensory impairment, L’hermitte’s (an electric shock sensation radiating down spine with neck flexion), pain, tingling, spasms, tremors and paralysis are just some of the symptoms of MS.

North Americans have high rates of MS (an estimated 55,000 to 75,000 people in Canada are living with the disease) and there are currently no known causes for MS, nor a cure, although some helpful treatments are available.

Due to the complex nature of symptoms, their often sporadic occurrence and sudden disappearance, and the fact that there isn’t one absolute test to diagnose MS, doctors must rule out all other possible causes before confirming an MS diagnosis.

That means that if you are experiencing disabling symptoms but have not yet received a diagnosis, your disability claim may be denied due to a lack of objective evidence or insufficient medical evidence.

Lack of objective evidence means your disabling symptoms (such as severe fatigue, depression or chronic headaches) cannot be proven by objective medical testing, giving your insurer reason to deny or delay your claim.

Insufficient medical evidence can be caused by your symptoms disappearing when you finally manage to get an appointment with your doctor to undergo examination and testing, though you know the symptoms will be back. Or, your doctor may observe your symptoms but does not provide enough details in your medical records, which your insurer will undoubtedly request when assessing your claim.

So what can you do to help your insurance claim if your doctors suspect MS but have not yet confirmed the diagnosis?

·         Since MS symptoms are often relapsing or remitting, it is important to document all occurrences, whether they last a few minutes to a few months, to show the recurring or progressive nature of the disease.

·         The full support of your medical doctors is important, so try your best to attend your scheduled appointments, take your doctors’ prescribed treatments seriously and ensure that everything is documented in detail in your medical files.

·         As soon as you experience disabling symptoms, even if you have not yet received a diagnosis, apply for short-term disability benefits right away through your private or group insurance policy. If your short-term disability benefits run out and you are still experiencing disabling symptoms, it is then time to apply for long-term disability benefits. If you do not have insurance, look into government disability programs such as CPP, ODSP or WSIB.

If your disability benefits claim has been denied even though you have complied with all your insurer’s requests, it is time to pursue legal action.

Visit the MS Society of Canada’s website for more information about Multiple Sclerosis:

Has your disability insurance claim been denied? Contact Share Lawyers and put our experience to work for you.

All initial consultations with our lawyers are free and there are no fees until we win your case.