Can I Get Long Term Disability for Non-Systemic Vasculitic Neuropathy?

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Businesswoman leading sedentary lifestyle causing back painWorking with a chronic and unpredictable condition like Non-Systemic Vasculitic Neuropathy (“NSVN”) can be challenging and stressful – and, in severe cases, can lead to long term disability. NSVN symptoms can interfere with your physical, mental, and emotional well-being, and affect your productivity and quality of life. If you are suffering from NSVN and are unable to work because of your condition, you may be eligible for long term disability (“LTD”) benefits.

This article will cover vital strategies to consider before filing for long term disability benefits due to NSVN.

Is Non-Systemic Vasculitic Neuropathy a disability?

Non-Systemic Vasculitic Neuropathy ("NSVN") is a rare condition that affects the peripheral nerves, which are responsible for carrying signals between the brain and the rest of the body. NSVN occurs when the blood vessels that supply the nerves become inflamed, resulting in reduced blood flow and nerve damage. The precise cause of NSVN is unknown, but it may be triggered by infections, autoimmune disorders, or medications.

NSVN can cause a variety of symptoms that may affect one’s ability to work and perform daily activities. Some of the common symptoms include:

    • Pain, numbness, tingling, or burning sensations in the hands, feet, or other parts of the body;
    • Muscle weakness, cramps, or spasms;
    • Difficulty walking, balancing, or coordinating movements;
    • Loss of reflexes, sensation, or proprioception (awareness of the position and movement of the body parts);
    • Fatigue, fever, weight loss, or night sweats; and/or
    • Cognitive impairment, such as memory loss, confusion, or difficulty concentrating.

NSVN may be considered a disability if your symptoms present with enough severity and frequency to significantly limit your ability to perform the essential functions of your job. For example, a common symptom of NSVN is hand numbness or weakness, which can be particularly disabling if you’re an office worker who needs to type and handle paperwork regularly. This numbness can make it difficult to type accurately and quickly, leading to a significant decrease in productivity. Additionally, the discomfort associated with prolonged typing may necessitate frequent breaks, further hindering your ability to complete work efficiently. The physical strain of managing these symptoms at work can also exacerbate your condition, leading to a vicious cycle of symptoms and decreased work performance.

NSVN can also have cognitive implications that lead to disability. For example, let’s say a college professor experiences cognitive impairment due to chronic pain and fatigue associated with the condition. This cognitive impairment could manifest as difficulty in concentrating, memory problems, or trouble with complex problem-solving. In a teaching role, this could hinder their ability to plan lessons, remember students’ names or needs, and maintain the focus necessary for managing a classroom. The cognitive demands of teaching, combined with the cognitive symptoms of NSVN, could significantly impair their ability to perform their job effectively.

In both examples, the symptoms of NSVN directly impact the individual’s ability to fulfill the core responsibilities of their profession, thereby making a strong case for the need for long term disability support.


Can I get long term disability for Non-Systemic Vasculitic Neuropathy?

Yes, you can get long term disability (“LTD”) benefits for Non-Systemic Vasculitic Neuropathy (“NSVN”) if you meet the terms of your policy. LTD insurers have specific criteria and definitions for disability. Proving that NSVN meets these criteria, especially in the context of a sedentary job, can be complex and requires detailed medical and occupational evidence.

When applying for LTD benefits due to NSVN, especially for individuals in sedentary occupations, several challenges may arise:

    • Demonstrating the Severity and Impact of Symptoms: NSVN’s symptoms can be intermittent and variable in intensity. For sedentary occupations, it’s crucial to show how these symptoms significantly impair your ability to perform job functions. This includes documenting how pain, numbness, or muscle weakness affects tasks like typing, sitting for extended periods, or concentrating.
    • Lack of Objective Testing: When assessing claims, insurers tend to favor conditions with objective, quantifiable evidence. Unlike some other medical conditions, NSVN may not have clear-cut diagnostic tests that unequivocally prove its presence or severity. This can make it challenging to provide concrete medical evidence to support your claim. Typical NVSN symptoms like pain, numbness, and muscle weakness are largely reported by the claimant and can be difficult to quantify objectively.       The subjective nature of many NSVN symptoms may lead insurers to be more skeptical of your disabling condition.
    • Variability in Response to Treatment: NSVN can respond differently to treatment in different individuals. Some may experience significant improvement with treatment, while others may not. This variability can complicate the assessment of disability, as insurers may argue that potential treatments haven’t been fully explored.
    • Misunderstanding of the Condition: Since NSVN is not a well-known condition, there may be a lack of understanding or awareness among those evaluating the LTD claim. This can lead to underestimating the impact of the condition on your ability to work.
    • Proving Disability in Sedentary Jobs: For sedentary occupations, the challenge is to demonstrate that NSVN symptoms are debilitating enough to prevent one from performing primarily desk-bound tasks. Insurers often exhibit skepticism towards claims involving sedentary occupations, as the physical limitations may not be as visibly apparent as in more physically demanding jobs, making it harder to prove the extent of your disabling symptoms and its impact on such work roles.

To address these challenges, it’s important to have a comprehensive and strategic approach, including thorough documentation of symptoms, treatments, and their impact on daily work functions. Consulting with an ERISA attorney experienced in long term disability can be beneficial in effectively presenting your claim for benefits.


How do I prove Non-Systemic Vasculitic Neuropathy as a disability to my insurer?

Doctor holding clipboard with file in hospital roomProving Non-Systemic Vasculitic Neuropathy (“NSVN”) as a disability to your insurer involves presenting comprehensive and convincing medical evidence. The importance of medical evidence in substantiating LTD claims for NSVN cannot be overstated. NSVN, being a complex and less commonly understood condition, requires robust and detailed medical documentation to clearly demonstrate its impact on your ability to perform your job duties, especially in sedentary roles. This evidence not only substantiates the existence and severity of your NSVN but also bridges the gap between your condition and its functional impact on your occupational capabilities. In the context of LTD claims, where insurers scrutinize the validity and extent of your disability, thorough and convincing medical evidence becomes the cornerstone of a successful claim.

Here are some examples of evidence that can be used to support your NSVN long term disability claim:

    • NSVN Diagnosis: Start with official documentation of your NSVN diagnosis. This should come from a qualified healthcare professional, typically a neurologist or a rheumatologist. The diagnosis is often made based on a combination of clinical evaluation, laboratory tests, and sometimes a nerve biopsy.
    • Detailed Medical Reports: Obtain detailed medical reports from your treating physicians. These reports should include a thorough description of your symptoms, the progression of your condition, response to treatments, and how these symptoms impair your ability to work, especially in a sedentary job.
    • Objective Testing Evidence: NSVN often requires specific tests for diagnosis and monitoring. Include results from Nerve Conduction Studies and Electromyography (EMG), which measure the electrical activity of muscles and nerves that can be affected by NSVN. Other objective testing for NSVN can include nerve biopsies, which can show vasculitis in the nerve, providing direct evidence of NSVN. Blood tests can show markers of inflammation or other abnormalities that support the diagnosis of vasculitis.
    • Imaging Tests: While NSVN might not have specific findings on imaging, tests like MRI can be used to rule out other conditions.
    • Treatment Records: Document all treatments you have undergone, including medications, physical therapy, or other interventions. Include information about the effectiveness and side effects of these treatments, as well as your compliance with the treatment plan.
    • Symptom Diary: Maintain a detailed diary of your symptoms and how they affect your daily activities, including work-related tasks. This can help illustrate the day-to-day impact of NSVN, providing a more comprehensive view than medical reports alone.
    • Functional Capacity Evaluation (“FCE”): Consider undergoing a Functional Capacity Evaluation. This is an assessment conducted by a physical therapist or occupational therapist to determine your ability to perform work-related tasks.
    • Statements from Employers or Colleagues: If possible, gather statements from your employer or colleagues that describe how your condition has impacted your work performance.

How can an attorney help with my long term disability claim?

A knowledgeable long term disability attorney can significantly enhance the likelihood of your Non-Systemic Vasculitic Neuropathy (“NSVN”) claim being approved. At Riemer Hess, we have extensive experience in successfully securing long term disability benefits for our clients, including many cases involving complex conditions like NSVN. We are well-versed in the type of evidence insurers require for such claims and adept at navigating the unique challenges these claims present.

Consider the case of “John,” a 45-year-old IT consultant. John’s life was disrupted when he started experiencing symptoms of NSVN. Initially, he dealt with sporadic episodes of numbness and muscle weakness, but over time, these symptoms intensified, severely hampering his work efficiency. Despite seeking medical help, his doctors struggled to effectively manage his symptoms. John’s employers tried to accommodate his condition, but it soon became evident that he couldn’t sustain his work responsibilities.

Realizing he could no longer continue working, John turned to Riemer Hess to assist with his long term disability claim, apprehensive about the possibility of denial. Our firm took the lead in compiling an exhaustive collection of his medical records, including treatment notes, diagnostic test results, and assessments from his healthcare providers. Knowing the importance of objective evidence in NSVN cases, the attorneys at Riemer Hess directed John to undergo a Functional Capacity Evaluation that could concretely demonstrate the severity of his condition and its impact on his job performance.

Riemer Hess meticulously ensured that all documentation was accurately prepared and submitted promptly. We also coordinated with John’s medical professionals to secure additional supportive statements for his claim. When the insurer requested a telephone interview with John, our attorneys prepared him thoroughly and were present during the call to assist with any queries about his treatment and prognosis.

John’s claim for long term disability was approved, offering him the financial support necessary to manage his condition. He was immensely relieved to receive the benefits and continued to rely on our firm to oversee his claim going forward.


At Riemer Hess, our experienced ERISA attorneys understand the disability insurance claim process and what your insurer will look for, whether you’re filing a claimappealing a wrongful denial, or looking to litigate with your insurer.  To arrange for a consultation with lawyers at Riemer Hess, call us at 212-297-0700 or click the button below to schedule an exploratory call.

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