Receiving Long-Term Disability Benefits for Early Onset Dementia
Dementia is a medical term for medical conditions leading to cognitive decline. The most common symptoms include memory loss, loss of balance, and problems with communication, such as speaking. By far, most people diagnosed with dementia will be 65 or older, with conditions worsening as a person ages. But younger people are increasingly being diagnosed with dementia. Early-onset dementia, also called younger-onset dementia, is a diagnosis for those under age 65.
Many people with dementia are unable to work, so disability benefits are a crucial source of income. At the Law Offices of Steinhardt, Siskind and Lieberman, our attorneys have helped many clients with early onset dementia. Call us to speak with a Maryland long-term disability lawyer about your case.
Does Long-Term Disability Cover Dementia?
Most long-term disability insurance policies provide benefits until a person reaches retirement age. For this reason, most people with a dementia diagnosis will not receive benefits because they are already retired. However, those with early onset dementia are under age 65, so there is always a question about whether they can receive benefits.
We have seen many people receive long-term disability benefits for a dementia diagnosis, provided they can prove the existence of their disability, including an inability to work due to limitations. As an example, emerging memory loss can prevent many people from doing their jobs because they can’t remember what tasks to perform. Also, impaired speech can prevent someone with a public-facing job from successfully performing the essential duties.
A key issue is when you qualify for benefits. Some people assume they can begin receiving benefits the day of their diagnosis. But your limitations might not interfere with your ability to do your job for months or years. There is also an elimination or waiting period for many policies.
Specific Challenges with Obtaining Benefits for Early Onset Dementia
One challenge is ensuring your dementia is not classified as a mental illness. Many employer-sponsored disability policies only pay a maximum of 24 months of benefits for mental illnesses. As a result, you might not get all the benefits you need for a progressive disease like dementia if your insurer misclassified it.
You will want to show that your dementia is not a psychological condition but is instead caused by physical changes in the brain. As an example, you might rely on MRI or other brain scans to show that you are experiencing physical changes in brain matter which has led to cognitive impairments.
Seek Assistance Today
Anyone denied employer-sponsored long-term disability benefits has the right to appeal that decision. At our firm, we have worked with many clients who are struggling to get an insurer to pay out benefits according to the policy. Those struggling with early-stage dementia might feel especially frustrated, especially if you are struggling to communicate or manage conflicting tasks. Feel free to contact the Law Offices of Steinhardt, Siskind and Lieberman, LLC, to schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys. We provide compassionate assistance to anyone seeking disability benefits.