Maximizing Your Benefits
The best approach to maximizing your benefits is usually the simplest one: let the medical drive the legal. As a PWP reaches a stage when disability benefits need to be sought because of the stage of the disease process, that is the time to seek them.
- While you are able to work, this would mean your likely focus is on employment rights, such protections against discrimination and the right to appropriate job accommodations; later, if your ability to work is increasingly compromised, disability benefits such as LTD and Social Security will become more important.
- Within that framework, you may find that you have some flexibility. By keeping in mind the various definitions of disability that may come into play over time, you may be able to implement a big-picture, more comprehensive strategy, to help you get what you deserve.
- This is by no means a suggestion to present your case on different facts for different purposes. Indeed, doing so could be the best way to preclude you from securing the full spectrum of benefits to which you may be entitled – the odds are high for example, that a PWP’s LTD carrier will know all about the applicant’s employment history, medical condition and SSDI application.
- The goal here is to always be truthful, honest and consistent in your approach to securing your benefits. And to be smart about the process, so that you can take appropriate steps to maximize your benefits.
- Of course, doing so requires that you have a reasonably informed understanding of your basic rights, and information on how to secure expert professional support when needed to tailor strategies to your specific situation, needs and objectives – all of which may change over time.
Scope of this analysis
There are a few important limitations to the information presented here:
- First, laws change. A hugely favorable recent example is the Americans with Disabilities Amendments Act of 2008. This Act restored rights that people with disabilities (PWDs), including people with Parkinson’s (PWPs), mistakenly presumed they had under the original ADA, yet did not because of United States Supreme Court and other case law decisions. However, the amended ADA still does not protect against every work related action or condition that a PWP may believe is unfair and/or discriminatory. Moreover, there will likely be opportunities for advocacy to help make sure the intent of the amendments is fully realized.
- Second, the focus of the legal information presented here is on issues that can have significant financial impact on the lives of PWPs and have historically most commonly been inquired about. There are a myriad of other legal issues, many affecting state or local programs and/or focused on fixing civil wrongs moreso than monetary relief, that are important but beyond our immediate scope.
- Other limitations are noted in specific sections of this website.
Content for this section provided by Mark Rubin, J.D.