Bartolic Law has helped many clients suffering from Ankylosing Spondylitis get their long-term disability benefits paid. Ankylosing Spondylitis claims often get close scrutiny and hostility from insurers because it progresses and is chronic. Thankfully, we have never had a client suffering from Ankylosing Spondylitis need to resort to litigation under ERISA § 502(a) to obtain the client’s long-term disability benefits, meaning we were able to get them all paid in full. In one case, the insurer denied the claim, asserting the client can sit frequently and stand and occasionally walk, permitting sedentary work.
Using our multi-faceted approach of medical evidence, credible opinions, and objective testing, we presented an internally consistent demonstration of our client’s inability to sit for more than 20-30 minutes at once, and that the longer the client tried to maintain sitting by changing positions, the shorter the tolerance became. Not long after, the insurer agreed our client was disabled and paid the benefits.
Treatment can slow down the progression and manage symptoms, but there is no cure for ankylosing spondylitis. Many people are diagnosed after experiencing various symptoms, including hip or lower back stiffness, pain, fatigue, or possible neck pain. Your shoulders and soft tissue can also be affected by this condition.
Patients with severe cases can experience pain and significantly reduced movement abilities in the spine. Some additional serious complications can include inflammation of the eyes, which can cause blurred vision and light sensitivity; compression fractures in your vertebrae, as well as possible spinal cord or spinal nerve damage; and heart problems, as ankylosing spondylitis can cause inflammation of the aorta, which can enlarge and impair the function of the aortic valve.
Ferrin v. Aetna Life Ins. Co., 336 F. Supp. 3d 910 (N.D. Ill. Sept. 28, 2018) (holding insurance policy’s grant of discretionary authority is void under Texas law due to certificate being issued after effective date of regulation, and policy renewing after effective date, and holding Plaintiff was disabled from Any Reasonable Occupation where treating doctors certify she can sit at the occasional level, and insurer’s consultants opine Plaintiff can sit frequently, as weighing all evidence together would make capacity likely at low end of frequent range at best).
Sadowski v. Tuckpointers Local 52 Health & Welfare Trust, 281 F. Supp. 3d 710 (N.D. Ill. Dec. 20, 2017) (holding plan was arbitrary and capricious in denying medical benefits for removal of spinal cord stimulator following a fall down the stairs and infection where plan argued the expenses were caused by the same injury as the car accident necessitating implantation of the stimulator years earlier)
Tassone v. United of Omaha Life Ins. Co., 264 F. Supp. 3d 867 (N.D. Ill. Aug. 30, 2017) (awarding client long term disability benefits denied by United of Omaha despite insurer’s doctor opining there was no objective evidence of functional impairment)
Suson v. PNC Fin. Servs. Grp., Inc., No. 15-CV-10817, 2017 WL 3234809 (N.D. Ill. July 31, 2017) (holding Liberty Mutual’s denial of client’s long term disability benefits was arbitrary and capricious where Liberty Mutual disregarded client’s carpal tunnel syndrome and relied on a vocational opinion to which client never had an opportunity to address before litigation)
If you have a disabling condition like ankylosing spondylitis, you might need to rely on disability benefits to support yourself, and Bartolic Law can help. Fill out the questionnaire below for a case evaluation and assistance with the claim process.