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Tuesday, December 9, 2014

From Diagnosis to Disability: Six Issues To Consider While Working with a Degenerative Disease

Degenerative conditions that result in cognitive impairments, that is, damage the ability to think, recall and reason, and physical impairments, are among the most tragic medical conditions.  Vibrant, intelligent, active people find their abilities to think and move gradually slip away, often while in the prime of their work lives, and at a time when their families are depending on them most.  Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, degenerative cognitive disorders such as early-onset Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (“ALS”) all lead to increasing fatigue and cognitive impairment, as well as corresponding increasing physical impairments.

One positive aspect of a degenerative condition, as opposed to an acute disability such as from an accident or cancer, is that you have the opportunity to plan ahead, and to take actions while you are still working to smoothly transition from work to disability, and to increase your chances of being awarded disability benefits.  While no one can know the date when you won’t be able to continue working, for most of these conditions, being disabled from working at some point is inevitable.  For people who are diagnosed with these conditions with a substantial part of their expected work life left, there are common questions for the process of moving from the diagnosis of a degenerative condition and the day you submit your application for disability benefits:  Below are clickable links for posts that have appeared to date:



Over the next few months, this blog will address each of these issues in separate posts on each topic.  I hope to provide a guide for planning your work life and transition to disability as a result of a degenerative disease. 

Work life is only one part of a complex process of addressing the effects of degenerative disorders on your life, but I hope the upcoming posts will be helpful in addressing at least this one area of concern to those working with a diagnosis of a degenerative disease.  As a Connecticut ERISA - LTD attorney who has represented many claimants in long-term disability appeals, I know that actions you take now can make a huge difference when you finally make your application for long -term disability benefits.  I hope this series will provide guidance to employees with chronic degenerative diseases to make this transition from working to disability as smooth as possible.

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