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Depression, Anxiety & Denied Long Term Disability Claims

3 Minute Read by Denied Long-Term Disability Lawyers Hamilton Serving Ontario

If you are suffering from depression or anxiety and worried that you might be denied long term disability, you’re not alone. Mental health disorders are among the top denied long term disability claims.  We understand the stress of being unable to work, worrying about your claim, and the associated financial burden that results can further aggravate your condition.

Understanding Mental Illness

Depression and anxiety are often referred to as an invisible disability.  Unlike a visible physical condition that can be diagnosed with an x-ray, ultrasound or blood test, depression and mental illness is more difficult to quantify. According to the World Health Organization, depression is a leading cause of disability. It affects nearly 300 million people worldwide.

While there are effective treatments for depression, many suffering with a mental illness may experience several barriers to treatment. The social stigma associated with depression and anxiety may cause people to not actively seek medical care. The lack of resources, understanding and even trained health-care providers can also hinder a person’s ability to get effective medical help. To further complicate your path to getting better, treatment does not fit under a one-size-fits-all protocol.

Depression and mental illness comes in many forms – such as major depression, anxiety,  psychotic depression, situational depression and bipolar disorder are some of the most common. Symptoms often include feelings of hopelessness, anxiety, sadness, loss of feeling, guilt, lack of interest in daily activities, difficulty concentrating, insomnia, weight changes, thoughts of suicide, and physical manifestations such as aches, pains and headaches that do not ease with treatment. Any of these symptoms can be very debilitating and make it difficult to maintain normal routines including work.

Making a Disability Claim for Depression & Anxiety

It can be very challenging to file a successful disability claim for depression and anxiety.  When making a claim, it is very important to know and understand your disability policy. In order to qualify for disability benefits, you must prove your depression or anxiety meets the criteria as laid out in your policy. Every policy is different, but generally, the parameters tend to include a disability that prevents you from performing the regular duties of your occupation. Most often, insurance companies will look for symptoms which can be proven. Physical symptoms will often weigh higher when processing your claim. If you are unable to work because of your condition and are seeking disability, seeking legal counsel can help uncomplicated what can be a very trying process.

Common Reasons for Denied Disability for Depression & Anxiety

Failure to Seek Timely and Regular Medical Care
It’s important to have regular appointments with your family doctor and to be actively taking part in a medical treatment plan. This could include medication, psychiatric care and/or counselling.  It is important you ensure your doctor and medical care team are keeping accurate and complete records of your symptoms, your treatment, you response to treatment and the ongoing medical plan. Work with your doctor to properly and thoroughly document all treatments, medications and side effect. Attend all your appointments.  Follow the advice and treatment plan as laid out by your professional medical team. Your insurance provider is looking for evidence that you are following medical advice and being proactive to get better.

Evidence That May Seem To Contradict Your Condition
Often, the onus is on you to prove you have the condition outlined in your claim. Because depression and anxiety is difficult to diagnose and quantify, the insurance company may hire an investigator to monitor your daily life. This often includes the monitoring of your social media accounts. Their goal is to ensure your daily life is consistent with the disability you’ve claimed.  Since many people often present the best version of themselves on social media, and can mask their symptoms in public for short periods, you could end up looking more able-bodied than you are and able to handle day-to-day activities than you really can.  If you are seeking disability insurance, it is very important you are cautious of what you do and what you post. While with many medical illnesses, people will have good and bad days. Just be mindful that your activities may be used as part of your claim.

What Can You Do To Help With Your Disability Claim?

Keep All Your Medical Records
It is very important that you keep all your medical records. This includes a history of appointments and prescriptions.  You should also ensure your physician and any other professional involved in your care is also keeping thorough and accurate records of your appointments, symptoms, treatments and care plan. Disability insurers will often challenge anxiety and depression claims because of the lack of a standard diagnosis protocol.  This is why it is extra-important to ensure your diagnosis, symptoms and treatment plan is well-documented.

Try to Keep a Journal of Your Symptoms Impairments & Limitations
It’s not easy, but try to keep a personal medical journal outlining your symptoms.  Record your feelings toward your daily activities, any insomnia, appetite changes, energy changes and weight fluctuations.  Highlight the intensity of your symptoms as well as your medical appointments and treatments.

Have You Been Denied Long Term Disability? Do You Have Questions About A Claim?

Speak to one of our lawyers today. Depression and anxiety disability claims can prove difficult and time consuming. If you are preparing to file a claim or have been denied long-term disability, contact Lalande & Company Lawyers for a free no-obligation consultation.

Lalande & Company Lawyers have extensive experience in providing representation for disability insurance claims. If you or a loved one is concerned about a denied long-term disability benefit, please do not hesitate to contact us. Your insurance policy is designed to protect you. We’re here to help ensure that it will. Please contact us 24/7 or call us at (905)333-8888, by filling out a confidential contact form, or by chatting with out live agent, 24/7 who will be more than happy to set up an appointment with one of our lawyers.

Michelle Collie | Lalande & Company Lawyers

Mental Illness and Applying for Long-Term Disability Benefits

If you are suffering from a serious mental illness, such as major depressive disorder (either single or recurrent), schizoaffective disorder (bipolar or depressive), schizophrenia, HIV, severe obsessive-compulsive disorder, severe anorexia or bulimia nervosa, or any other severe psychological or psychiatric disorder, you may be entitled to long disability benefits. If you have developed a mental illness while employed, you may have access to a group benefits policy that allows you to apply for short or term disability coverage, then following an elimination period, access to long term disability coverage.

Long-term disability coverage provides monthly income replacement for individuals who are unable to work due to a total disability. You may also have purchased a private long-term disability plan through your broker or through a broker employed by your professional association.

If you do not have group benefits or you did not purchase a private plan, then you will unfortunately have to turn to a government sponsored plan such as ODSP or CPP.  If you have any questions about mental illness and LTD, our Hamilton disability lawyers can help. We are experts in the field of disability litigation and we represent claimants throughout the entire Province.

How do I qualify for long-term disability if I suffer from a mental illness?

In order for your insurance company such as Manulife, Great West Life, Sunlife, RBC Disability, SSQ or any other insurance company to approve your long-term disability benefits, you must suffer a total disability that prevents you from carrying on your own occupation. Total Disability is a standard policy definition which means that your disability or mental illness prevents you from performing the substantial duties of your occupation and carrying out the major functions required of your job.

How long can I collect long term disability benefits for if I suffer from a mental illness?

Most policies, at the two-year mark, call for a change of definition. This means that after 24 months of disability payments have been made to you, your policy will switch to an “any occupation” definition of total disability.  Any occupation, according to most policies, means that your mental illness is preventing you from engaging in any occupation or performing any type of work for compensation

If you have suffered an onset of a psychiatric disorder which causes you symptoms such as paranoid delusions hallucinations, paranoid behavior, disorganized behavior, catatonic behavior etc. there is no doubt that you will qualify for disability benefits to the change of definition not probably for life. Other disorders, such as major depression, addiction or other mental illness will require that you provide ongoing medical documentation to your insurance company to prove your disability, along with any other requirements that the policy calls for.

How common is mental illness in Canada?

Mental illness is very common in Canada. The Canadian Mental Health Association has reported that by age 40, close to 50% of the Canadian population will have suffered some sort of mental illness in their lifetime.   Even more shocking is that almost half of people that suffer from a mental illness do report their suffering to their family doctor. Unfortunately, many people believe that they will be discriminated against in the workplace or suffer shame and embarrassment if they are labelled with a mental illness.

The problem with not seeking treatment for your mental illness then becomes proving that you are disabled. If you do not seek out proper medical care, your mental illness may not be properly diagnosed and/or treated effectively, which renders it difficult to prove to your insurance company that you are disabled.

For many people in rural Ontario communities, there is also an issue with the inability to find quality treatment. Many Ontarians are struggling with chronic mental health or psychiatric issues who are unable to find proper medical care, or in the alternative, they may encounter terrible and intolerable side effects associated with the anti-psychotic medications they take.  Unfortunately, most policies are clear that you must not only be under regular medical care, but you must also provide medical documentation regular routine basis which shows your insurance company that you still suffer a total disability, which is supported by your doctors.

Have you been denied or cut-off your monthly long term disability benefits?

Our Hamilton Disability Lawyers are able to assist long-term disability insurance claimants during all stages of a claim for disability insurance benefits, from the denial to trial. If you have been denied long-term disability benefits, please call 905-333-8888, fill in a contact form or chat with our live operator to schedule an appointment by telephone or in person. Our consultations are free and without obligation.

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