Myths About Disability and the Need for Disability Insurance

People with physical problems are a familiar site. In wheelchairs or on crutches, blind or even deaf we have all crossed paths with a disabled person as some stage in our lives. What do you feel when you see a disabled person? Pity, curiosity or even fear? Do you know how to behave in their presence or are you worried that you might stare or say something inappropriate? Read on for some of the leading myths about disabled people and find out why you need disability insurance.

Myth One: Disabled People Need To Be Helped

In most instances disabled people are perfectly capable of taking care of themselves. If they need help they will ask for it! Do not assume they cannot perform certain tasks!

Myth Two: Don’t Ask Uncomfortable Questions

People with physical disabilities would rather you asked questions about their disability than avoided the issue. Let curious children ask the questions they need to.

Myth Three: People With Disabilities Cannot Work Or Contribute At Home

Disabled people are skilled just like you and me and make many important contributions at work and at home.

Myth Four: People with Disabilities Are Depressed

Yes, illness might cause depression but disabled people are not chronically depressed and should not be treated as such. Disability is not a death sentence!

Myth Five: Physically Disabled People Lead Very Different Lives

The people lead very normal lives just like you and me. They go to school and to work, they fall in love, and they have friends.

Myth Six: Disabled People Have No Real Future

Disabled people have dreams and ambitions just like you and me and the ability to realize these dreams. Take our paralympians for example, many of whom have achieved great things.

Myth Seven: It Will Never Happen To Me

Disability is a reality for all of us. Accidents and even illnesses can all cause lasting disability that could change our lives forever.

Disability insurance

Are you financially prepared for the worst? For the day that you are disabled due to illness or injury and can no longer support your partner or spouse and family? If not, have you heard of disability insurance? A disability insurance policy will provide a pay-out if you are ever disabled and unable to work, replacing all or part of your income and keeping your family financially afloat.

Don’t be misled by the myths surrounding disability and protect your family’s future income today!

Avoiding a "Self Reported" Disability Claim Nightmare

1,200,100 Social Security Disability applications were filed in 1999 (48 percent or 579,000 were declined). In 2009, ten years later, 2,816,200 Social Security Disability applications were filed (and 65 percent or 1,830,530 were declined). The number of disability applications more than doubled while denials more than tripled. In one year, more than $23 TRILLION dollars of annualized benefits were lost.

In 2011, TRILLIONS of dollars in Insurer, Social Security and Veterans Administration disability claims will continue to be denied unnecessarily.

Disabled Americans diagnosed with serious medical and psychological illnesses are just beginning to process the enormity of the physical, emotional and financial challenges they will be facing. This is the worst imaginable time to be filing a disability claim.

Insufficient preparation and inadequate presentation of a long-term disability (LTD) claim form increases the likelihood that your application will be denied substantially, especially when it’s a claim for chronic fatigue or another “self-reported” (fibromyalgia, carpel tunnel) disability.

Review your LTD policy. Does it offer total disability benefits only or does it provide partial or residual (long-term partial disability) benefits so that you don’t have to be totally disabled to collect benefits? Hopefully it’s the latter. What’s the policy’s definition of partial disability? Does it state your inability to perform one or more of the material daily duties of your occupation and/or is there reference to performing the duties of your occupation in a reduced capacity?

For “self reported” disability claimants, we’d like to share some “tips” to improve your chances of collecting disability benefits.

TIP # 1: It’s been our experience, over a three-decade career specializing in the disability insurance business, that an improperly completed LTD claim form increases the chances of the claim being denied, even when the complete information is submitted to the insurer after the initial claim has been submitted. Remember you are applying for benefits to replace your lost wages. You’ll need to prepare your application for benefits with the same (or better) attention to details as when you applied for your job..

TIP #2: You will need to have a focused conversation with your physician about the specific ways in which you will need his or her cooperation as you navigate the LTD claim process. As noted: You absolutely, positively must have the complete cooperation of your physician as well as his or her agreement with you as to the extent of your disability. Complete documentation of your “self reported” disability, supported by irrefutable evidence from your treating physician(s) (who are recognized experts and authorities in the treatment of your specific condition is absolutely essential in the initial filing of your claim).

TIP #3: Is your treating physician a specialist (an expert) in the treatment of your specific condition? Very few are. If he or she is not, take heed. Due to the specialized nature of a diagnosis, your insurer will expect your physician to have expertise in the treatment of your specific condition. A disability insurer looks for expertise in the treatment of any illness, especially “self reported” disabilities. This, however, does not mean you have to change doctors. Your primary care physician (PCP) has possibly already referred you to a specialist for diagnosis and initial treatment. In such a case, your PCP would probably follow your course of treatment, with an occasional update with your specialist.

TIP #4: What has been your doctor’s experience in helping other patients with “self reported” disabilities obtain disability benefits? Has he or she had significant success or great difficulty? Your physician needs to be your ally in the claims process, especially until you’ve begun receiving benefits.

TIP #5: What type of testing has been utilized to confirm a diagnosis? When “self reported” disabilities first began to be recognized as unique and difficult-to-diagnose illnesses, considerable controversy surrounded the various methods of diagnosis. Leading researchers and clinicians, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the National Center for Infectious Diseases developed various guidelines for evaluating your condition. (For more, we urge you to do a web search and read “Social Security SSR 99-2P: Your Guide to CFS Claims Success).

Summary

In reviewing a multitude of long-term disability claims that were denied by insurers there’s one predominate theme: the claimants’ personal physician and/or other subsequent medical documentation does not support or validate the extent of the disability. The claimants were expecting a certain outcome (for their claim to be paid) while the medical information attached to their claim form did not validate the extent of the disability. In essence, claimant and physician just have not communicated properly. The Bottom Line… do it right the first time.

Copyright 2016

Allan Checkoway, RHU

Why Let A Disability Limit Your Mobility?

For those of use who are able to walk around on our own, it’s difficult to imagine the challenges facing those with a disability. We take for granted the simple act of traveling by car. Unfortunately for those with a disability, getting in and out of their vehicle is not their only challenge. Storing the wheelchair in their car becomes an immediate concern.

For those with limited mobility, and a van, wheelchair lifts and ramps help to ease wheel chairs in and out of your vehicle. This will increase your freedom, allowing you to go out more, and enjoy more of life’s opportunities. You can store your wheelchair by attaching it to the ramp. The ramp that you choose may also be easily foldable and allow you to store it safely inside your van while you are away from the vehicle.

Depending on your needs, a manual or power wheelchair lift will give you the assistance you are looking for. Prices start between $350-$450, and in some cases, may be covered by your medical insurance plan.

Manual wheelchair lifts normally work with any folding manual wheelchair and require a Class I hitch. The spring loaded platforms on many of these models helps to make lifting the wheelchair easier. The weight capacity can differ from model to model, so it’s important to do some research.

Power wheelchair lifts literally lift your wheelchair into your vehicle. Although more expensive than their manual counterparts, the power lift can handle heavier types of wheelchairs, and for the most part, is easier to use.

When choosing a wheel chair lift, make sure that you determine that you are choosing a model suitable for your chair. There are many different sizes and models of lifts that will accommodate different styles of chairs, so just make sure that your chair is suitable for the lift.

Another feature to note when purchasing your chair lift is weight. Different lifts will hold various weights. Typical weights range from 300-500 pounds, so choose a lift that will handle your needs best.

Wheelchair Lifts: Inside and Outside Loading and Options

Wheelchair lifts come in both inside and outside loading models. The inside models will fit inside trunks and when they are not in use will disassemble for easy storage. You should determine your lift based upon your basic preference and choice. Whether you purchase an inside or outside loading, you should ensure that the model you purchase comes with a warranty.

Purchasing a wheelchair lift can be done through financing if you want to purchase a brand new one, or you may find great savings by searching for a used one. Remember, as mentioned earlier, to see if your purchase can be covered under your insurance.

Another option available is to have your vehicle or van modified by a professional company to accommodate your wheelchair. While expensive, it does provide a perfect solution for someone who wants to travel, and is not going to let their disability hold them back!

Wheelchair Lift: Construction

Your wheelchair lift needs to be sturdy and the material of choice is solid aluminum, though you may also purchase a solid steel model as well. Your lift should also be rust proof, easy to install, and require little or no maintenance. Make sure that you have an experienced professional install your lift, this is too important to be left to “want to be” handymen. As soon as you begin to think there may be a problem with your lift, have a professional come and look at it right away. Make sure to keep all warranty and guarantee paperwork, in case there is a problem with your lift.

Wheelchair Ramps: Who Needs Stairs

Stairs have always provided a challenge to disabled persons and office buildings often were never built to accommodate someone with a wheelchair. Fortunately, that is no longer a worry with portable wheelchair ramps.

Many of these ramps can be extended to reach 3 meters (9ft) and can be used to conquer stairs or to assist with getting into a van. An added bonus is that many of the wheelchair ramps that are designed today are lightweight and can be carried literally anywhere and stored anywhere.

Life is too short not to be enjoyed! There are plenty of solutions available to disabled persons to allow them the mobility they deserve. Get out there and enjoy life to its fullest.

Parenting a Child With a Disability and Honest Communication – Do You Ever Get Sad?

We were ready for a weekend away. A team of moms had gone out of town to do a presentation at a conference. For a few of the ladies, it was the first time away from home and needless to say, they were a bit apprehensive about leaving their family.

For one mom in particular, there was a concern for her son who had Autism and a seizure disorder. He had not had a seizure in over a year so she was confident that he wouldn’t have one while she was away. At the same time, she was anxious of the chance that he would have one while she was away. She carried most of the responsibility for matters related to her son’s health and she didn’t want her husband to feel stressed if a seizure did occur.

On the last day of the conference she received a call from home. The worry in her voice told us that something was wrong. Her husband called to let her know that indeed, their son had a grand mal seizure. With patient expertise, she guided him on what to do until she returned home the next day.

We could sense her grief and she expressed her feelings of guilt and remorse for not being home when it happened.

A couple of days after our return home I called the family to see how their son was doing. Mom was out with one of her other children so I spoke to dad. He said that his son was slowly feeling better however he was very tired and lethargic.

Then he said, “Can I ask you a question?”.

“Of course”, I responded.

“Do you ever get sad?”, he asked.

“Sad?”, I repeated.

“Yes, do you ever get down or depressed?”, he inquired.

“Well, I feel helpless when my son is ill and I do get sad sometimes, yes.”

“Okay”, he replied, “Because last night I didn’t feel like eating dinner. Everyone was asking me what was wrong but I figured that they should know what was wrong. My eight-year-old son has Autism and he had to have a lot of medication because of a seizure. Now he can’t walk and for a few days, I have to carry him around.”

“To me, that’s very sad”, he explained. “I got up from the table and went to rest in my room and now everyone is upset with me.”

“Did you tell them why you were sad?” I asked.

“No”, he replied. “My wife has enough to worry about and I didn’t want to upset her any further.”

This was a defining moment in our conversation.

“Can I offer you my point of view, a wife’s perspective?” I asked.

“Sure”, he said.

“I know that you want to protect your wife’s feelings by not telling her how you feel because you don’t want to create additional stress for her. “

“That’s right”, he affirmed.

“When we don’t communicate our feelings and we emotionally withdraw, we can actually cause more stress and anxiety for our loved ones. It creates tension and misunderstanding. You may leave them wondering if it was something they said or did that is causing your grief and unhappiness.”

“Oh”, he replied. “I never thought of that.”

“We may feel vulnerable and exposed when we have candid conversations, however, it is important to be open and honest so that we can understand each other’s perspective. That is how we learn and flourish in our relationships.”, I offered.

“Otherwise strain and hostility may grow, putting the relationship at risk.”

“That makes sense”, he said. “Thanks.”

Whether we are parents or we are in a supporting role, it is crucial that we communicate openly and honestly. Otherwise tensions mount, misunderstanding occur and unnecessary conflict may arise.

By sharing perspectives, we can strengthen our connection and find a balance that works for everyone, especially for the person you are teaching, caring for or supporting.