Sometimes referred to as “invisible” medical conditions, cognitive disorders are illnesses or injuries that impair such intellectual or cognitive abilities as memory, concentration, planning and problem solving, reasoning, verbal and written communication, and other logical processes.  Cognitive injuries or disorders can also impact emotional regulation and tolerance for stress. 

Many people suffer from neurocognitive disorders (NCDs), which can include symptoms such as loss of memory, basic perception and problem-solving skills, and, in some cases, a person’s ability to speak.  These cognitive and mental impairments can be particularly challenging to prove when filing an LTD claim. Mild cognitive impairments that can result from things such as concussions, ischemia, stroke, medical illnesses or long-term medication use are especially difficult to identify by clinical exam alone or through basic objective medical testing commonly used by physicians. Nevertheless, even mild cognitive impairments affect a person’s ability to work and function in various capacities.  This is especially true for highly intelligent people who rely on their sharp intellect to perform in mentally demanding occupations.  For these people, the types of subtle changes and impairments that are hard for others to even notice can interfere with the ability to perform at a high level.  NCDs may be caused by:

  • Alzheimer’s disease 
  • Dementia
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Huntington’s disease
  • Autoimmune disorders like multiple sclerosis (MS) or systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE)
  • Chemical brain injuries, commonly after chemotherapy (“chemo brain” or chemo fog”
  • Concussion or other traumatic brain injuries
  • Bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder
  • Substance abuse disorders
  • PTSD

The above are some of the disorders preventing thousands of women and men from performing their work effectively on a day-to-day basis. If you are suffering from a cognitive disorder and want to consult an attorney about a possible claim, give us a call to discuss your options. Do not hesitate to take action; we can help. If you have already filed a claim and been denied, please call us immediately. You do not want to risk losing your appeal.

What You Need To Win Your Long Term Disability Claim.

A claimant who suffers impairment will need to offer as much “objective medical evidence” as possible to verify and quantify the disabling diagnosis and symptoms. Objective evidence is anything that does not rely solely on the patient’s self-report. This can include clinical observations from your treating physician noted in medical records, abnormal clinical test results, lab work, radiology findings (MRI, xray, CT scan, or functional scans like CPET or diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), or cognitive examination results via neuropsychological testing. Depending on your condition, you will want to present various types of evidence with your claim. We understand dealing with any cognitive or mental disorder is overwhelming on many levels. The personal toll it takes on you and your families’ lives can seem overwhelming. Dealing with medical providers, drug companies, treatment centers, counselors, and various other resources is enough of a burden for anyone. This is why we recommend you partner with our long-term disability attorneys to help you file your initial claim.

Many professionals have tried and failed to present their case to their insurance provider, and this can limit your options in the claim’s appeal phase. Understanding what to submit to the insurance carrier is critical when trying to win your case. It is important to remember that insurance companies do not want to pay your claim and, in many cases, are trained to reject claims that should be approved. 

A skilled ERISA law firm will help the claimant put together a convincing application package and work with him on appealing a denial. There are many factors that insurers review with your application, so you must work with an experienced attorney specializing in long-term disability claims.  In many cases this will include Neuropsychological Testing that is designed to measure and detect cognitive impairments that may not be obvious in a routine medical exam.    

Insurance companies have attorneys working hard on their behalf, and they will likely do everything they can to deny your claim. In many cases, they will ask the claimant to undergo an IME or Independent Medical Evaluation or Neuropsychological Evaluation by a doctor or psychologist of their choice. They choose doctors and psychologists who commonly favor the insurer instead of the policyholder and may try to make it appear you are exaggerating your problems.  Choose not to attend the medical evaluation and it will look as if you are not cooperating with the insurance company’s requests, giving them another reason to deny your claim.

Insurance companies also like to do video surveillance of your day-to-day activities and present their findings during the hearing. What does this mean? If you claim cognitive or emotional impairments, but they have a video of you engaging with others and performing normal activities such as banking and shopping, this may be used against you to suggest your impairments are not genuine.  An experienced attorney specializing in long-term disability claims can help you understand what you should and should not be doing as early as possible.   

If you are struggling with your insurance company and would like our experienced long-term disability attorneys to review your case, please call or email us directly today. We will evaluate your claim and give you an assessment based on the information you provide. We have taken on all the major providers and know what it takes to win, and we will work with you to make sure you get the best outcome for yourself and your family.