As more states legalize the use of medical marijuana, an increasing number of people are considering it as a treatment option for their medical conditions. If you are currently receiving long term disability benefits, you may have questions and concerns about how using medical marijuana could affect your eligibility for those benefits.
Generally speaking, you may use medical marijuana while on long term disability without issue. However, this can depend on a variety of factors, including the specific terms of your insurance policy and the laws and regulations governing medical marijuana use in your relevant jurisdiction. It is important for anyone considering using medical marijuana while on long term disability benefits to understand the potential implications before making any decisions.
In this article, we will explore the issue of whether you can use medical marijuana while receiving long term disability benefits and provide some guidance for those who may be considering this treatment option.
Medical Marijuana As “Appropriate Treatment”
Your disability benefits will depend on compliance with the terms of your insurance policy. Most disability insurance policies have a number of requirements, including that you be receiving “appropriate treatment” for your condition and symptoms.
Appropriate treatment requirements in a disability insurance policy typically refer to your obligations as a claimant to seek and follow the appropriate medical treatment for your disabling condition. This means receiving regular medical care and complying with your doctor’s treatment plans. In this sense, if your doctor prescribes medical marijuana to treat your symptoms, your use of it equates to compliance with your insurance policy.
Keep in mind that the recreational use of marijuana to self-medicate your symptoms can cause issues with your disability claim. Many long term disability insurance policies have exclusions for drug and alcohol abuse, and the use of recreational marijuana can fall under this category. This means that if you are using recreational marijuana while on disability, there is potential for your insurance company to terminate or limit your benefits.
Of course, it is important to carefully review your disability insurance policy to understand the specific requirements for appropriate treatment, as failing to meet these requirements can impact your eligibility for benefits. Additionally, consulting with a disability insurance attorney can provide further guidance on meeting the requirements outlined in your policy.
Medical Conditions Commonly Treated with Medical Marijuana
Medical marijuana has gained significant attention in recent years as a potential treatment option for a variety of medical conditions. With its legalization for medicinal purposes in nearly every state, patients suffering from chronic pain, seizures, anxiety, and other conditions have turned to medical marijuana as an alternative to traditional medications. The use of medical marijuana has been praised by some for its ability to alleviate symptoms with fewer side effects, leading many to believe that it may be a safer and more effective treatment option for certain medical conditions.
Some of the most common medical conditions treated with medical marijuana include:
Chronic pain: Medical marijuana is often used to treat chronic pain caused by conditions such as arthritis or neuropathy.
Anxiety and depression: Medical marijuana has been found to help alleviate symptoms of anxiety and depression, and may be used to treat these conditions in some cases.
Epilepsy and seizures: Medical marijuana has been shown to be effective in reducing the frequency and severity of epileptic seizures.
Cancer-related symptoms: Medical marijuana is sometimes used to alleviate pain, nausea, and vomiting caused by cancer and chemotherapy, and to increase appetite in cancer patients.
Glaucoma: Medical marijuana can reduce intraocular pressure in people with glaucoma, which can help prevent vision loss.
Multiple sclerosis: Medical marijuana may help reduce muscle stiffness and spasticity, which are common symptoms of multiple sclerosis.
Crohn’s disease: Medical marijuana may help reduce inflammation and pain associated with Crohn’s disease.
It is important to note that the use of medical marijuana to treat these conditions should be done under the supervision of a licensed healthcare provider, and the specific dosage and strain used may vary depending on your condition and medical history.
Challenges with Medical Marijuana for Long Term Disability Claims
The use of medical marijuana in long term disability claims can present a number of challenges for claimants. Some of these challenges include:
Difficulty proving disability: The use of prescribed medical marijuana may complicate the process of proving disability, as it may be difficult to distinguish the symptoms of your medical condition from the effects of your marijuana use. This can make it more challenging to demonstrate that you are unable to work due to your medical condition.
Dosage and efficacy: The dosage and efficacy of medical marijuana may vary depending on the your condition and medical history, and may require experimentation and adjustments over time. This can make it difficult to provide consistent and reliable information to your insurance company.
Disagreement over where it is “appropriate” treatment: Your insurance company may argue that despite your doctor providing a prescription, your medical marijuana use is an inappropriate treatment option for your condition. They may use their own “independent” medical examiners and/or medical consultants to claim your medical marijuana use is, in fact, the source of your symptoms, even if your own treating doctors disagree.
If you are considering the use of medical marijuana while on long term disability, it’s essential to carefully review your insurance policy to understand the potential challenges and implications of medical marijuana use. Additionally, consulting with a disability insurance attorney can provide further guidance on navigating these issues and protecting your rights as a claimant.
The Maddox Firm Can Help With Your Short or Long Term Disability Claim
The experienced team at The Maddox Firm has helped hundreds of clients win their short or long term disability benefits. We understand how your insurance company will scrutinize your claim and what evidence is required to approve your benefits.
The Maddox Firm can help you with your disability claim while using medical marijuana in a number of ways:
Examining your insurance policy: The Maddox Firm can examine your disability insurance policy to help you understand the terms and exclusions related to medical marijuana use, and to determine whether your medical marijuana use will put your claim at risk of termination or limitation.
Gathering your evidence: If you are using medical marijuana to treat your medical condition while on long term disability, The Maddox Firm will work with your healthcare providers to gather medical records and documentation to support your claim for disability benefits, including information related to your medical marijuana use. Additionally, The Maddox Firm will coordinate with your doctors to obtain supplemental statements confirming the necessity of your medical marijuana prescription to manage your symptoms. This documentation will demonstrate to your insurance company you are complying with your treating doctors’ recommendations.
Representing you in appeals or litigation: If your insurance company denies or reduces your disability benefits due to your medical marijuana use, The Maddox Firm can represent you in appeals or litigation and fight for your rights as a claimant.
Whether you seeking assistance with filing a short or long term disability claim, maintaining your benefits, appealing a claim denial, or litigating a final adverse decision, The Maddox Firm can help you navigate the complex issues related to medical marijuana use while on disability benefits. The team at The Maddox Firm will look over your insurance policy, correspondence from your insurance company, medical records, and any other relevant documentation in order to give you personalized guidance on how we can help you win your short and/or long term disability claim.
Contact us to help you file your claim, appeal, or litigation the right way.