Everyone feels tired sometimes. With busy work and life schedules, it can be easy to overwork.
But for those with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), this feeling of being fatigued and tired doesn’t go away with a good night’s sleep. This condition is also known as systemic exertion intolerance disease (SEID) or myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME). Sometimes it's abbreviated as ME/CFS.
Is CFS a Disabling Condition?
CFS is a complex and life-altering disorder that causes severe exhaustion despite rest or sleep. In addition to extreme tiredness, CFS can cause a wide range of symptoms including headaches, joint and muscle pain, memory problems, and difficulty focusing. This condition can be so debilitating that even everyday tasks such as cleaning the house or cooking a meal can become overwhelming.
People with CFS often struggle to complete work duties and may need to take extended periods of leave or switch to part-time schedules in order to manage their symptoms. Additionally, people with CFS may experience depression, anxiety and insomnia as side effects of their condition. All of these effects can make managing CFS difficult both physically and mentally.
Is CFS Eligible for Disability Benefits?
Receiving disability benefits can provide financial relief and other forms of support to individuals with CFS. Disability benefits can help cover medical costs, assist with living expenses such as rent or mortgage payments, and even provide access to in-home care. But qualifying for disability benefits when managing an invisible disability can be complicated.
Faith's Story with CFS & Long Term Disability Benefits
When Faith came to Share Lawyers, she wasn’t just exhausted and sick from her CFS, she was also overwhelmed by being denied long term disability benefits from her insurance company that insisted her condition wasn’t serious enough to stop her from working.
About two years ago, Faith came down with a really nasty flu. Even when she got better and returned to work, something still felt different. She was always tired and even though she prioritized getting a lot of sleep - up to 9 hours a night - her sleep was restless and she would wake up feeling exhausted and totally drained.
She spoke with her boss about feeling tired all the time, but he remarked that everyone feels tired, making her feel guilty and ashamed. Running around after two kids and working over 40 hours a week, she wondered if everyone her age felt limitations in their energy levels.
Faith Knew Something Was Wrong
But Faith couldn’t shake the feeling that something wasn’t right - she went to her doctor who did a range of tests, and a blood test came back showing she had mononucleosis, caused by the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV). Her doctor told her these symptoms should subside and to take it easy and drink plenty of liquids.
Faith did everything she could to keep up with her regular schedule. She stopped drinking caffeine, started a vitamin-rich healthy diet, and tried acupuncture. But she was still always tired. She began to have a hard time concentrating and would often have to take almost double the time on her work than she usually did.
When Faith came home from work she would immediately go to bed or lie down. She cancelled social events and decided not to go on a trip to Italy that she and her husband had planned because she was just not up to it. She felt alone and was constantly depressed with crying spells and a total lack of interest in socializing with others.
Short Term Disability Benefits Help For a While
Faith went back to her doctor and explained how she was feeling. He conducted lots of testing, and based on these constant appointments Faith was starting to have to call in sick to work at least once a week. She just couldn’t go on like this. She applied for short term disability benefits, which were approved. In addition to consulting her medical doctor, she went to a homeopathic doctor, started doing yoga, and started a whole range of natural supplements.
But nothing made it better. Just going to the grocery store to pick up a few simple items totally wiped her out for the day, she would be totally exhausted and when she tried to sleep she would toss and turn or lie awake.
She was notified that her short term benefits had run out, but she knew she would not be able to return to her job. Her doctor had ruled out a whole range of conditions and the only option left was CFS.
Denied the Long Term Disability Benefits She Needed
Faith applied for long-term disability benefits and was denied. The insurance company cited that fatigue was not a reason for her not be able to work. She could barely do anything in her daily life, let alone work. How could this be?
Her husband saw a Share Lawyers ad online and talked to Faith about coming to us for help. At first, she was hesitant to talk to us - she felt shame, she wasn’t able to function how she used to, and thought if the insurance company said no, then that was that. Rules were rules.
But Share Lawyers was able to help. We know how big a feat fighting the insurance companies can be. We have over 35 years of experience working for people like Faith, and we assured her we would be able to get her the benefits she deserved to give her the time to get better. After her first call with us, Faith didn’t feel as alone or discouraged. We talked to her often to keep her updated on her case.
A Fair Settlement was Reached Thanks to a Long Term Disability Lawyer
The long term disability lawyers at Share Lawyers were able to ensure that Faith received a fair settlement by demonstrating how she was unable to work. We gathered medical evidence to support her claim and stood up to the insurance company and fought for her rights. Faith thought this was impossible, but the disability lawyers at Share Lawyers was there for her. Her biggest success is just knowing that she did not let the insurance company get away with not paying her.
*All names and identifying details have been changed to protect the confidentiality of all involved.
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