Dealing With Lyme Disease As A Long-Term DisabilityJanuary 30, 2023
Understanding Lyme Disease
Lyme disease is a debilitating condition that is caused by a bacterial infection known as Lyme borreliosis. People can become infected by this bacteria when they come into contact with an infected tick. The tick can bite the individual and cause the bacteria to be transmitted to the person. Once bitten the person will develop a circular bullseye rash typically 3-30 days after exposure. Lyme disease is an inflammatory infection that causes a wide variety of symptoms for people infected with the bacteria and as such can be difficult to diagnose since it can masquerade as other disorders such as chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, or many others.
The Stages of Lyme Disease
A person suffering from Lyme disease can expect different symptoms depending on what stage of the disease they are in. In the first early stage the symptoms include:
- Joint and muscle pain
- Neck stiffness
The early symptoms of Lyme disease are very similar to flu-like symptoms and so this condition can often be misdiagnosed by physicians. If left untreated many people end up moving to the next stage of the disease. The symptoms during this later part of the disease include:
- Painful swelling of the joints
- Nerve issues such as numbness or pain in your limbs
- Memory recall problems
- Difficulty concentrating
- Mental fog
- Heart problems
These more serious symptoms can be quite difficult for people to deal with, especially if they don’t know the cause. Early treatment is key when it comes to Lyme disease for making sure that symptoms don’t get worse and become a chronic condition. Occasionally people who have been infected by Lyme disease will develop long-term symptoms even after the bacteria has been treated.
Misdiagnosis of Lyme Disease and Fighting for Disability Benefits
Lyme disease often ends up getting misdiagnosed because the symptoms of it are so similar to that of other diseases and conditions. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms for an extended period of time and you have spent any time outdoors it is best to check yourself over for tick bite marks, or to tell your doctor that you are concerned about the potential of having a tick bite.
For people who have Lyme disease, it could lead to the inability to work or function in day-to-day life if symptoms are severe enough. Lyme disease is a recognized disability for which individuals can qualify for disability benefits from the Canadian government if it has become chronic. There are two types of benefits that a person could submit a claim for, CPP disability benefits and Long-term Disability Insurance Benefits through a group disability insurance policy from their workplace. However, because Lyme disease is so difficult to diagnose, benefits are often denied by insurance companies. Inadequate testing methods and the difficulty of proving that the disease has moved into a chronic stage are two key advantages for insurance companies looking to deny long-term benefit claims.
If you are dealing with Lyme disease and have been denied your long-term benefits claim it is best to speak with an experienced disability lawyer near you. They can help you appeal your claim and have the knowledge of the legal system to know the best way to fight for you. Contact the disability lawyers at Himpro for your free case evaluation.
Updated content: Originally published Aug. 27, 2018
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