- What is Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder?
- Is OCD a Disability?
- Receiving an OCD Diagnosis
- Appropriate Treatment for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder and Work Disability
- Mental Illness Limitations on Your Long-Term Disability Policies
- Can an Attorney Help Me Get Long-Term Disability for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder?
Do You Have A Case?
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a mental health condition, and a form of anxiety. As with most mental health conditions, proving your condition as a disability can be difficult. Unfortunately, many long-term disability insurance companies are often dismissive of mental health claims in order to reduce the benefits they give out. By working with an experienced disability attorney, you can have more of a fighting chance against your insurance company.
What is Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder?
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder is a common and chronic mental health disorder. generally, it can be long-lasting, or even life-long. It is most commonly classified by the individual’s recurrent, unwanted thoughts (obsessions), along with repetitive behaviors (compulsions). Common repetitive behaviors might include excessive hand-washing, counting, cleaning, or other tasks that are done to make the obsessive thoughts go away. These so-called “rituals” only offer temporary relief, and refraining from doing so often leads to increased feelings of anxiety.
While mental health counseling and medication can help curb symptoms, there isn’t a clear-cut “cure” to this condition. Usually, therapy for OCD involves discovering the root causes behind the individual’s obsessions and compulsions and trying to address those triggers. Depending on the severity of your diagnosis, it could be considered a debilitating condition.
Is OCD a Disability?
In cases with severe symptoms of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, it can be considered a disability. When your OCD negatively impacts your ability to work, it could be classified as such. Common symptoms of OCD include:
- Repetitive behaviors/compulsions
- Intrusive and unwanted thoughts
- Intense fear and anxiety when compulsions aren’t executed
- Headaches and migraines
- Muscle tension
- Mood swings
- Motor tics
- Vocal tics
OCD symptoms and the Obsessive-Compulsive behaviors associated may vary.
Obsessive Behaviors with OCD
Common examples of Obsessions include:
- Taboo thoughts
- thoughts of self-harm
- having a need for symmetry
Compulsive Behaviors with OCD
Some examples of Compulsions include:
- Compulsive counting
- Excessive hand-washing or cleaning
- obsessive arranging or ordering of objects
- Repeating a prayer or monologue
- Repeatedly checking on things, such as locks or stoves
Symptoms of OCD can fade and come back over time and may change throughout the person’s life. While some people with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorderunderstand that their behaviors do not make sense, others do.
Receiving an OCD Diagnosis
Receiving a diagnosis for your Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder is an important first step in seeking help for your condition. And, it is essential to building your long-term disability claim. A diagnosis of OCD will likely include:
- A physical test to rule out other possible health conditions
- Blood tests for thyroid regulation, blood count, and to check for substance use
- And a psychological evaluation.
- The first of these 2 evaluations helps reduce misdiagnosis and lets doctors make sure that you will get the right treatment for your symptoms.
Appropriate Treatment for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
Overall, proper treatment for your condition is a requirement for most long-term disability claims. This is because the insurance company wants to see that you are taking active steps to treat and manage your condition. While OCD is not always curable, there are a number of ways that you can receive treatment for the management of your symptoms.
CBT is a type of mental health counseling that has 2 main components. Firstly, exposure to triggers and the prevention of compulsive responses. Next, is cognitive therapy. This practice helps individuals train themselves to respond appropriately to triggering stimuli, while also finding the root causes of the compulsive responses. Studies involving CBT have shown it to greatly reduce OCD triggers from occurring. In some cases, it even helped individuals permanently stop their obsessions and compulsions.
Medication for OCD
There are a variety of medications that can be prescribed for OCD. But, medications alone are rarely enough to curb Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. Generally, you will need medication along with therapy. Overall, two different types of medicine are prescribed for treating OCD. These are Selective-Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRI’s) and Antidepressants.
Your doctor may prescribe one or more medications, based on how you respond to them. Talk with your doctor about the possible side effects of prescribed medications.
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder and Work Disability
OCD can be a debilitating condition if your symptoms are severe enough. Even with medication and therapy, you may struggle at work because of your condition. Intrusive thoughts can make it difficult to focus at work. Obsessive rituals can make it difficult to perform efficiently at work and can take up a significant portion of your day. Sometimes, they can even make you late for work.
The causes of your OCD can be complex and hard to define. Abstract answers are often not helpful to insurance companies. By presenting a diagnosis and a clear path of appropriate treatment for your condition, you can build a good foundation for a long-term disability claim. Work with your doctors and your disability attorney to create a record of solid evidence of your condition, and how it impacts your ability to 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 no additional physical disability, your benefits may run out when you reach the Mental Illness Limitation. There are some exemptions to MIL’s, 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.
Discuss with your disability attorney your options regarding your policy.
Can an Attorney Help Me Get Long-Term Disability for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder?
If you are looking to file a long term disability claim for your OCD, you should seek out an experienced attorney. At D’Agostino & Associates, we help people living with disabling conditions such as Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder 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.