Do You Have A Case?

The overall impact of mental health in our everyday lives has been becoming increasingly apparent in recent years. According to the American Psychiatric Association, almost 1 in 5 adults in the US live with some form of mental illness. However, not everyone suffers from mental health to the point that it is disabling. If your mental health symptoms are debilitating, you may be able to qualify for your long-term disability insurance benefits.

Mental Illness vs Physical Illness with Disability Coverage

While physical health symptoms are often easier to prove to insurance companies, the barriers to coverage on mental health claims are often more restrictive. Mental Illness is a sliding scale of severity, and mental health conditions can affect people differently. Where one individual can lead a completely normal life, someone else with the same illness may be completely unable to get out of bed most days. Because of this, a diagnosis is rarely enough to convince an insurance company that you require benefits.

man living with a mental health condition - depressed man sitting in a dark room holding his head

Common Mental Illnesses Covered By Long-Term Disability

Generally, any mental illness could be covered under long-term disability insurance if your policy covers it. Your disability attorney can help you determine what your insurance policy covers. Most policies that include mental illness coverage include:

Mental Health Disorders and Physical Symptoms

Mental illness can manifest symptoms that are both cognitive and physical. These physical symptoms may be important to building your case. While symptoms can vary greatly based on your illness, and how they manifest, below are some physical symptoms that you might be experiencing.

  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Insomnia/Sleep pattern issues
  • Immunosuppression
  • Blood pressure changes
  • Heart rate spikes/arrhythmia

Be sure to discuss any and all symptoms you are experiencing with your doctors. They can help you determine whether your symptoms are a manifestation of your mental illness or a symptom of other health issues you may be experiencing. Additionally, having medical records of you reporting your symptoms can be an important aspect of building your case.

How Do I Prove My Disability With Mental Illness?

Anyone living with a mental health condition knows the toll it can take on your life, your health, your relationships, and your career. However, your insurance company will likely not understand the gravity of your unique situation. Especially because of the wide range of varying symptoms that a single mental health condition.  They will likely not understand how your symptoms impact your ability to work. To have your disability claim approved, you will need to show how your symptoms limit your capacity to perform work tasks.

For example, a depressive episode might cause you to be unable to get out of bed because of mood and fatigue, which forces you to call in sick. A loss of focus or ability to concentrate due to your condition might make it harder to work. Or your anxiety can compound the normal stresses of a work deadline and make you unable to meet the objective. Limitations from mental illness can also lead to safety issues if you work in a more physical career. Low energy and hopelessness can exacerbate the normal stresses of the work environment and overwhelm you.

Providing Evidence From Your Doctor

Be sure to discuss any and all symptoms of your depression with your primary care physician, therapist, and any other relevant doctors. You should also discuss the frequency and severity of symptoms. Your doctor’s reporting and support are key to developing a strong basis for building your case. Be sure to mention how these symptoms can reduce your ability to perform work tasks. As mentioned above, the physical symptoms you are experiencing can matter just as much as your emotional or cognitive ones. Be sure to include them as well.

Official diagnoses of your mental illness from a licensed therapist or psychologist will also be vital in building your case.

Neuropsychological Evaluation

Neuropsychological Evaluation is a test that measures your mental and cognitive deficits. The evaluation can objectively measure how your depression affects your cognitive ability. The evaluation will also provide an IQ test and additional screenings for further diagnoses. During the evaluation, your memory, problem-solving skills, processing speed, executive functioning, and more will be measured. It also has parameters in place to help ensure that the individual is putting in their maximum effort. These parameters help legitimize the validity of your test.

Neuropsychological Evaluation can often be one of the strongest pieces of evidence to support your claim because it objectively shows how your cognitive function affects your ability to perform at work.

Mental Illness Limitations on Your Long-Term Disability Policies

When filing for long-term disability insurance for mental illness, it is important to check if your policy includes a Mental Illness Limitation. While policies may vary, it is common for a Mental Illness Limitation to limit your benefits to 2 years. However, some policies may have an even smaller limit.

If you are disabled solely due to your mental health condition, and have no additional physical disability, your benefits may run out when you reach the Mental Illness Limitation. There are some exemptions to MILs, but they are generally reserved for specific conditions, such as bipolar disorder. However, if you can demonstrate objective proof of your cognitive limitations, such as with a neuropsychological evaluation, your benefits may extend past the limit.

Mental Illness Limitations and Physical Symptoms

The physically limiting symptoms of your condition can be an important aspect of your claim, especially if you need benefits beyond the second year. If you suffer from physical symptoms that limit your ability to perform at work as a result of your mental health condition, you may be able to extend or remove the Mental Health Limitations.

MILs and Additional Conditions

If your mental health condition is not your only debilitating diagnosis, you may be able to continue receiving benefits. Many people who are diagnosed with a chronic illness can suffer from depression or anxiety as a result, for example.

Discuss with your disability attorney your options regarding your policy.

Can an Attorney Help Me Get Long-Term Disability for My Mental Health Condition?

If you are looking to file a long-term disability claim for your mental health condition, you should seek out an experienced attorney. At D’Agostino & Associates, we help people living with disabling conditions such as mental illness file long-term disability claims. We help you through the process step by step to help you build a strong case. Our law team is here for you.

At D’Agostino & Associates, our team of lawyers can help you sort through all the details, understand what you are entitled to, and fight to get what you deserve. D’Agostino & Associates P.C. has offices in New York and New Jersey. Contact us, or call us at 1-888-245-2924 to schedule a free consultation with our attorneys.