Parkinson’s Awareness Month

April is Parkinson’s Awareness Month.  Parkinson’s is a chronic, degenerative neurological disorder that affects the nerve cells in the brain that produce dopamine.  Its symptoms include muscle rigidity, tremors, and changes in speech and gait.  There are approximately five million people worldwide suffering from Parkinson’s disease.  In the United States, approximately sixty thousand new cases will be diagnosed this year alone.

Tremor, or shaking, often in a hand, arm, or leg, occurs when the effected person is awake and sitting or perhaps standing still, also known as a resting tremor.  Tremor is the most common and often the first symptom that people recognize.  Other common symptoms include muscle stiffness, slow, limited movement, weakness of the face and throat muscles, and difficulty walking.  Non-motor symptoms can also be the result: constipation, sleep problems, and depression.

The symptoms associated with Parkinson’s disease can result in that person’s inability to function in the workplace, which may then entitle the person to disability benefits under an individual policy or a policy or plan provided by his or her employer.  This individual may also be entitled to Social Security Disability benefits.  Even if the degree of symptoms may seem to obviously render you disabled, and unable to work, the insurance company handling your claim may not view your symptoms in the same way.  Claimants for long-term disability benefits are often denied due to missing, inaccurate, or incomplete paperwork.  Especially if your disability benefit is provided by your employer, and thus a federal law known as the Employee Retirement Income Security Act applies to your disability benefit and the claim process.  It is important to completely understand your claim and internal appeal procedures.  The ERISA attorneys at McDermott Law are highly experienced in the areas of short-term and long-term disability insurance claims as well as ERISA.  We are here to assist with your denied claim or even guide you through the initial claim process.

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