How do I Get My Disability Insurance Company to Recognize My Crohn’s Disease Claim?

Over the course of many years, disability attorney Jason Newfield has represented claimants suffering from Crohn’s disease and IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease), as these claims are frequently denied or claims terminated, because of the nature of this illness and the ups and downs.  Long term disability insurance companies see these claims opportunistically, knowing that the condition includes times when the disease is active, known as “flaring,” and other times when it seems as if the person is fine.

The disability insurance company is seeking  objective tests, lab tests or diagnostic imaging that proves the person is suffering from pain from a visible condition – even where the condition like Crohn’s disease will often not be visible, and most often is described by the patient as the impairing nature of the issues.

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What is Crohn’s Disease?

Crohn’s disease is a type of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). It causes swelling of the tissues (inflammation) in your digestive tract, which can lead to abdominal pain, severe diarrhea, fatigue, weight loss and malnutrition, among other symptoms. Prolonged inflammation leads to damage to the GI (gastrointestinal) tract.

What are the Impairing Symptoms of Crohn’s disease?

Symptoms may appear suddenly, but they can also develop gradually and worsen over time. They will vary depending on which part of the digestive tract Crohn’s disease is affecting and how severe the condition is. Experts do not know precisely why Crohn’s disease develops.  Symptoms of Crohn’s disease often include those that can impact one’s ability to work and engage in daily life activities, including:

  • Diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Fatigue,
  • Abdominal Pain and Cramping
  • Pain
  • Blood In The Stool
  • Mouth Sores
  • Reduced Appetite  
  • Weight Loss

If Crohn’s disease has caused fistulas or inflamed tunnels to develop in the skin near the anal area, the person may experience intense pain or drainage, making working in a public location extremely challenging.

The intensity of pain from Crohn’s disease typically varies over time.  That means people with Crohn’s disease can expect to go through periods of time where the discomfort is greater or less severe.  This makes proving your claim challenging when you are considered to be in a period of “remission.”  Disability insurance companies often seize upon records indicating stability to terminate a long-standing Crohn’s disease claim.   Many people report experiencing these cognitive symptoms during flare-ups. Others with ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease seem to have chronic (persistent) brain fog of varying degrees. Researchers have found strong evidence that a person’s intestinal function can impact their brain function. These issues can help to support a disability insurance if properly documented.

What happens to your body when you have Crohn’s disease?

Crohn’s disease increases the risk of developing kidney stones, gallstones, fever, and liver disease. Flare-ups can cause canker sores in the mouth, which tend to clear up along with gastrointestinal symptoms. People with Crohn’s are also at increased risk of developing colon cancer.  Crohn’s disease is a long-term, chronic illness that may come and go at different times in your life. In most cases, it affects the small intestine, most often the lower part called the ileum. In some cases, it affects both the small and large intestines.                                                                                                                        

How Can I Protect My Disability Claim if I have Crohn’s disease?

Proving disability due to Crohn’s disease to a long-term disability insurance company is challenging, even though the Social Security Administration recognizes IBD’s on its list of conditions considered disabling.  Like with all conditions, under a long-term disability insurance contract, regardless of condition, one must prove HOW and WHY they are unable to work because of the medical condition at issue, without true consideration of the name of the medical condition.  Insurance companies focus upon functional deficits and functional limitations when assessing disability insurance claims.  

Often, the medical resources utilized by the disability insurance company will include nurses – and not medical specialists involved in the treatment of IBD or Crohn’s disease, and thus, they are likely not familiar enough with the evidence to properly credit the impact upon one’s functionality.

If you suffer from Crohn’s disease, you know the physical symptoms are not the only challenge you face in trying to lead a normal life, including working. There are cognitive problems created by Crohn’s disease that can impact upon the ability to focus on concentrate on work and may cause impairment. Extreme pain and fatigue is a battle that does not end, even if intermittent, and this response is a frequent symptom of Crohn’s disease.  It is unpredictable, and the ability to plan activities is often compromised, events cancelled, or otherwise impacted and further support how and why Crohn’s disease is impairing.  

An experienced long term disability attorney who has successfully represented IBD and Crohn’s disease clients is your strongest strategy to succeed with a claim, if you are about to file a disability claim or have had your long-term disability insurance claim denied or terminated. We encourage you to contact disability attorney Jason Newfield to discuss your situation and learn about your options and how he can help guide you with your IBD or Crohn’s disease claims. 

Crohn’s Disease Success Story

Our client was a successful saleswoman whose claim with Hartford was terminated – despite continuing to suffer from Crohn’s disease.  She came to us to file her ERISA appeal, and ultimately to pursue litigation on her behalf.  Our appeal consisted of robust medical support from her long-standing treatment providers, an expert vocational report that supported her inability to engage in any work on a sustained basis and continued eligibility for benefits under the policy and powerful support statements from our client, her spouse, and friends, who all provided powerful secondary evidence to help demonstrate why her condition so severely impacted her life and her ability to work.  We reinforced the decision from Social Security approving her claim – which allowed Hartford to reduce its exposure and attacked the hired gun medical reports.  

Although Hartford could not be persuaded at the appeal level, our powerful appeal supported litigation against Hartford, where the fresh set of eyes from outside counsel led to a favorable and early resolution of her case.  Outside counsel recognized and conceded that the development of the appeal was powerful and even with a favorable standard of review, he strongly recommended resolution.

Will I Be Able to Prove I Have Crohn’s disease to My Long-Term Disability Insurance Company?

There are steps you can take to support your long term disability claim. The Newfield Law Group helps clients with preparing claims or appeals by making life easier for claimants, by guiding the process, and by providing the insurance company the necessary information to support impairment and have the insurance company accept disability.  Often, insurance company representatives share that our advanced preparation of materials helped to streamline the process for approval of a claim. This is the advantage of working with an experienced disability insurance attorney who has worked with the patient population for two decades.

Let us Guide You.  Call Our Office Today

When you call Newfield Law Group, you will speak with an attorney who has more than two decades of experience in this highly focused area of the law.  During your consultation, he will be able to give you insight as to what you are up against and how you might fight back. Having family members disabled, he understands these issues differently than many attorneys.  Jason Newfield is honest and straightforward with claimants, recognizing the need for clarity with compassion. We invite you to call today and learn more.  

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