Can I Claim Long Term Disability Benefits If I Have Fibromyalgia?
Widespread, chronic pain is the signature symptom of fibromyalgia – an ongoing condition for which there is no known cure. A lot of men and women who suffer from fibromyalgia have extreme fatigue, cognitive disturbances, muscle stiffness, and generalized anxiety.
Because fibromyalgia is such a difficult condition to pinpoint, let alone understand, it can be challenging to prove its detrimental effects on the sufferer. Although symptoms of FM can wax and wane, some sufferers are so profoundly affected – both physically and mentally – they are unable to enjoy a normal life or perform their employment duties.
You can qualify for LTD benefits
The good news is that insurance providers in Canada recognize fibromyalgia as a valid condition that can qualify for long-term disability benefits. However, many people suffering from this debilitating condition have had their disability benefits denied. A medical diagnosis – in and of itself – doesn’t mean you’re going to get LTD benefits.
If you are unable to work because of your fibromyalgia symptoms, it’s in your best interest to consult with a skilled personal injury lawyer who can help you seek appropriate disability benefits. Without an experienced personal injury law firm on your side, insurance companies are more likely to reject your claim, citing the non-specificity of symptoms or lack of evidence for work-related limitations.
Fibromyalgia – an invisible illness
According to the National Fibromyalgia & Chronic Pain Association, up to 6 percent of the world’s population suffers from this condition. Fibromyalgia can affect people at any age, but it is far more common in women. Because its symptoms are so varied and often similar to those of other diseases, fibromyalgia is often misdiagnosed.
Symptoms can include:
- Multiple areas of tenderness
- Dull yet persistent pain throughout the body
- Muscle stiffness
- Cognitive difficulties that impair concentration and memory
- Sleeping disturbances
- Bladder control problems
- “Brain fog”
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) causing abdominal bloating and pain
There is no single diagnostic test for fibromyalgia, but in order to be successful at claiming LTD benefits for this condition, you do need a professional diagnosis and supporting documentation that details the severity and types of symptoms from which you suffer.
Claiming disability because of fibromyalgia
Claiming long term disability due to fibromyalgia is feasible, but it requires substantial documentation and evidence of your credibility.
It isn’t enough to report vague symptoms that come and go; you must have proof that your impairments are severe and lasting, causing prolonged disability. Because mood disorders and IBS are common components of fibromyalgia, getting these diagnosed by your physician can help advance your claim. Fibromyalgia can take a toll, not only on your energy levels, but your emotional well-being as well.
People who suffer from fibromyalgia and chronic pain may gradually lose their physical ability to work over a period of months or years. During the interim, they should make an obvious attempt to remain at work, perhaps shifting their duties to accommodate their limitations.
Proving a disability claim: criteria needed
A long term disability law firm can prove invaluable when seeking the benefits you deserve. You run the risk of denial if you stray from standard practices for fibromyalgia diagnosis and treatment. Even if your doctor suggests alternative treatments, or thinks they may improve your symptoms faster, you should adhere to standard treatments first. This will improve the likelihood of your qualifying for LTD benefits.
You also need to provide compelling evidence that you made a good effort to continue working in some capacity or another. This can include both employment and medical records detailing your work history and attempts at employment, as well as sick days and leaves granted to accommodate your condition.
If a co-worker or supervisor witnessed you struggling in the workforce because of your fibromyalgia symptoms, they may sign a written statement saying so, which will aid your claim.
How Preszler Injury Lawyers can help you
Preszler offers compassionate legal advocacy for those who are unable to work because of disability. If you suffer from fibromyalgia and need assistance with a disability claim, we invite you to reach out for a free consultation.
You may qualify for LTD benefits, as well as employment insurance, and disability benefits under the Canada Pension Plan.