Long term disability

Lyme Disease and Long Term Disability

All four members of an Ontario family have come down with the symptoms of Lyme Disease – an often controversial diagnosis that can cause confusion among medical professionals along with a long list of debilitating symptoms. Unfortunately, as it did in this case, it can also lead to a long struggle to get the disability benefits you need and deserve.

What is Lyme Disease?

Lyme Disease is an infectious disease transmitted by ticks which can infest animals close to humans, notably including dogs, cats and deer. The territory for the black-legged ticks that spread the disease in Ontario is expanding, probably due to climate change, and so the incidence of Lyme Disease is increasing too.

The symptoms can be confusing to both patients and the medical profession, which is often slow to reach the diagnosis simply because many physicians have never seen a case with their own eyes. The range of complaints can resemble those of Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s disease), Alzheimer’s, fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue. The Ontario government is trying to spread the word about Lyme Disease to more doctors via medical journals and social media.

The Tiessen family from the Niagara Peninsula spent years working as Christian missionaries overseas and it’s at one of their postings that they believe they all were infected by a beloved dog – a dog that was typically full of ticks.

So far, the parents and both sons have shown varying symptoms, with the father hit the hardest, including brain lesions and memory loss. It took two years and many tests to get a proper diagnosis and even longer to obtain long term disability benefits.

Do You Qualify for Long Term Disability Benefits?

The tricky nature of Lyme Disease and the dizzying range of symptoms mean that eligibility for disability benefits – no matter whether it deals with private or government insurance – is not guaranteed. An insurer will depend on your medical records and an evaluation of not just the diagnosis itself but what specific limitations the condition imposes on you.

  • Rule #1 – be sure to stay under the regular treatment of a physician. That doctor’s records will be the key to how your claim is assessed.

The claim should take into account:

  • Limitations to day to day activities
  • Limitations to specific work-related activities (such as inability to physically complete the tasks of a job, or the inability to remember necessary details)
  • For a child, limitations to regular activities appropriate to age

Let Us Help

Claims for conditions which are complicated to assess, such as Lyme Disease, are often rejected by an insurance company at first, with benefits only paid after an appeal. There may be many reasons why this happens, including a failure to obtain proper medical documentation. If there is room to deny a claim, the unfortunate fact is that many insurance companies will take that step automatically.

You need someone in your corner. Contact Petrillo Law today by calling (905) 949-9433 for a free consultation with an experienced long term disability lawyer. We look forward to hearing from you. 

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