Depression, Anxiety, and Disability Insurance: A Claimant’s Guide 

Apr 16, 2019 | Blog |

Globally, depression is the number one cause of disability. While mental health conditions are finally getting the attention they deserve, long-term disability (LTD) insurance companies are still reluctant to approve and pay claims related to depression and anxiety.

If you’re considering an LTD claim for depression or anxiety, you need to review your plan documents carefully and prepare your evidence. Keep reading to learn more about the essentials of a successful mental health LTD claim.

What Is Depression?

Depression is much more than just feelings of sadness. You may suffer from major depressive disorder if you experience:

  • Persistent sadness or emotional emptiness
  • Hopelessness
  • Feelings of guilt, helplessness, or worthlessness
  • Reduced interest in your hobbies, activities, or daily life
  • Fatigue, decreased energy, or problems sleeping
  • Problems concentrating or making decisions
  • Changes in appetite
  • Irritability
  • Unexplained pain
  • Suicidal thoughts or urges

While women are more likely than men to report depression, anyone can experience disabling depressive symptoms. Research shows that roughly 7% of adults will experience major depression in their lifetime.

What Is Anxiety?

We’ve all felt stress and anxiety. However, when you have an anxiety disorder, your anxious feelings persist and interfere with your life. Common symptoms associated with anxiety include:

  • Overwhelming worry about everyday concerns and interactions
  • Restlessness and irritability
  • Concentration problems
  • Insomnia and disrupted sleep
  • Panic attacks
  • Physical symptoms like sweating, dizziness, shortness of breath, and heart palpitations

While many people lump depression and anxiety disorders together, they are two separate diagnoses, although many people experience them at the same time.

What Is Bipolar Disorder?

Almost 3% of adults have bipolar disorder. Sometimes called manic-depressive disorder, bipolar disorder involves alternating periods of mania and depression. Manic individuals feel euphoric, agitated, and easily distracted. They may make impulsive decisions and feel a decreased need for sleep.

Mental health providers categorize bipolar disorder in several ways. People with bipolar I disorder have experienced at least one severe manic episode. Bipolar II disorder involves significant depression and one milder manic (or hypomanic) episode.

Can I Get Long-Term Disability for Depression or Anxiety?

Sometimes, depression and anxiety can be controlled by psychotherapy, medication, and other mental health services. However, therapy and medication may not be enough, even when you follow your doctors’ recommendations. If you’re unable to work due to your severe depression, anxiety, or other mental health symptoms, you may be eligible for long-term disability benefits.

Read Your Policy: Many LTD Policies Put Caps on Mental Health Compensation

Many long-term disability policies put strict limitations on the amount of time they’ll pay for mental health-related disabilities. Before you apply for disability insurance benefits, you’ll want to review your plan documents carefully. Don’t be surprised if you find clauses that limit the payment of some mental health claims to two years.

However, don’t panic if you see one of these exclusionary clauses. You may be able to receive LTD benefits for a longer period of time if you also have physical disabilities. Some policies also exclude specific conditions, such as Alzheimer’s disease or schizophrenia, from the two-year limit.

Since reading and interpreting LTD policy language isn’t easy, it’s best to consult an experienced disability insurance lawyer early on. Your lawyer should be able to help you understand how your LTD plan’s terms and conditions will impact your claim, and they can also suggest strategies to maximize your benefits.

How Can I Strengthen My LTD Claim for Depression or Anxiety?

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the thought of applying for LTD benefits or appealing a denied mental health claim, it’s best to get help from an experienced disability lawyer. Every LTD claim involving depression and anxiety is different, and a lawyer can help you build a compelling case for benefits.

However, there are some ways you can reliably strengthen your LTD claim for depression or anxiety.

  • Take Your Treatment Plan Seriously

Some people with depression and anxiety struggle to make it to appointments with doctors and counselors. Others forget to take their medications. However, if you don’t follow your treatment plan, the insurance company may deny your claim because there’s not enough evidence documenting your symptoms and limitations.
Even more importantly, treatment can save your life. If you have thoughts of suicide or self-harm, you should immediately seek medical care or call 911.

  • Don’t Minimize Your Symptoms

Talking about mental health is hard. Sometimes, people don’t want to admit how severe their symptoms are or desperately want to avoid an inpatient hospitalization. However, you can’t get the care you deserve if you stay quiet.
When you talk to your doctor or counselor, they will document your symptoms in your medical records. Their notes provide powerful evidence in your LTD claim and can help reinforce the severity of your conditions.

  • Talk to a Lawyer Who Understands LTD and Mental Health

Depression and anxiety can impact your decision-making, concentration, and persistence. On a bad day, you may feel like giving up on your LTD claim. Thankfully, you don’t have to fight alone.
When you have a skilled disability lawyer at your side, you get a source of emotional support and strength. At Bryant Legal Group, we carefully guide our clients through their LTD claims and educate them about every step of the process. We also give our clients space to heal and rebuild while we take care of the details of their claims.

RELATED BLOG ARTICLE: Disability Claimants Must Seek Timely and Adequate Care to Secure Full Benefits

Bryant Legal Group: Disability Advocates for People with Depression and Anxiety

If you or someone you love has questions about depression, anxiety, and long-term disability, it’s time to schedule your free consultation with an attorney from Bryant Legal Group. Our disability lawyers will listen to your story, help you understand your legal options, and suggest next steps. All consultations are confidential.

To schedule your free, no-risk consultation, call us at 312-561-3010 or complete our online contact form.

Reference

Friedrich, M.J. (2017, April 18). Depression is the leading cause of disability around the world. JAMA, 317(15):1517. Retrieved from https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/article-abstract/2618635

The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.

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