Long-Term Disability that is associated with mental illness is extremely common – and in fact, in Canada, mental illness and psychiatric disorders are now the most common reason for long-term vocational absence. Depression, for example, is estimated to be one of the ten leading contributors to disability in the world. Some of the most prevalent conditions among disability claimants are schizoaffective disorder, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorders, depression, obsessive–compulsive disorder, dementia, and mental and behavioural disorders due to the use of alcohol (caused by depression).
If you are suffering from a mental disorder which is preventing you from working, and you have been unreasonably cut-off or denied long-term disability benefits, call our Hamilton disability lawyers for more information. Losing your monthly disability benefits is not the end of the road – but can be crushing financially.
Defining disability is not an easy task, and it is becoming clear that no single definition can cover all aspects of disabilities – however mental illnesses can be thought of as clinical alterations in a person’s thinking; mood or behaviour, which is associated with substantial distress and impaired functioning.
Mental illness is normally caused by a complex interactions of a person’s biological, psycho-social, economic and genetic factors. Mental illnesses can affect individuals of any age; however symptoms often appear by adolescence or early adulthood. There are many different types of mental illnesses, which can range from single, short-lived episodes to chronic disorder which can cause interruption in a person’s quality of life relating to employment or work, health, leisure, living situation, and relationships.
If a person’s mental illness is severe enough they may not be able to sustain the demands of regular gainful employment. When a person suffers a mental illness, such as major depression, there are unfortunate effects on that person’s emotions, thinking, judgment and behavior which can cause feelings of:
These common mental disorders can no doubt have a big impact on the way a person’s work productivity, leading to employment issues, absences or work-related disability – often leaving a person with a mental health disorder financially destitute and turning to their long-term disability carriers for help.
There is a strong relationship between mental illness and work-related disability. If you suffer form of mental illness or mental disorder that leaves your functionally impaired either permanently or episodically, you may need to turn to your disability insurance for financial protection while you participate in a treatment plan, or worse, to permanently assist your total disability has no prospect of recovery.
Long-term disability insurance is normally available through an employer or an association. You may also have your own individual long-term disability policy that you have purchased directly from a broker or insurance Company, on a client by client basis.
The role of disability income replacement insurance is to provide a stream of income payments, paid monthly to a disabled insured person that satisfies the definition of total disability. The income insurance is to replace a portion of a disabled person’s income, that is unable to work due to the total disability caused by injury or illness.
Typically, insurance policies define disability in a few different ways. The most common definition of disability assigned to most occupation classes is that of total disability. Total disability is commonly defined in two separate ways. For the first 24 months of your total disability, your total disability must prevent you from performing the substantial duties of your own regular occupation. After 24 months there is a change of definition which is more restrictive. Your total disability must prevent you from performing the regular duties of any occupation for which you are reasonably suited by education training or experience.
If your mental illness or any symptoms of mental illness prevent you from performing either the substantial duties of your own occupation or the duties of any occupation for which you are reasonably suited by education training and experience, you will qualify for a long-term disability benefit, which is normally payable until age 65.
There are many types of common mental health disorders, including depression, and anxiety, generalized anxiety disorder, phobias, social anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, PTSD, schizophrenia etc. which cause disabling symptoms.
Depression – depression is by far the most common mental disorder. Typically, depression refers to a very wide range of mental health problems which can lead to interruption of many life activities. Normally there is a loss of interest and enjoyment in ordinary activities, and experiences. A person may experience behavioral and physical symptoms including crushing sadness, social isolation, fatigue, low mood, social withdrawal, exacerbation of physical pain, loss of interest in everyday life, feelings of guilt, worthlessness, deserved punishment, low self-esteem, loss of confidence, helplessness and thoughts of suicide. There are many cognitive related changes that accompany depression such as forgetfulness, poor concentration, reduced attention, pessimism, some of which may be caused by a mix of symptoms and antidepressant medication.
Anxiety – typically anxiety accompanies depression. Anxiety comes in many forms, such as social anxiety, general anxiety disorder, specific phobias, panic disorders PTSD etc. General anxiety disorder can be described as having feelings of excessive anxiety and worrying, restlessness, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, muscle tension, disturbed sleep, over-worry, anticipation of catastrophic failure etc. Panic disorder also causes anxiety about being in place or a situation where leaving may be difficult or embarrassing. This type of anxiety causes people to worry about being outside the home, using public transportation, being in a crowd of people are being in particular spaces or situations.
Bipolar disorder – bipolar disorder is a chronic mental illness, episodic in nature that is characterized by recurring patterns of manic in depressive symptoms. Bipolar disorder is typically a lifelong condition which the onset is experienced mostly in early adulthood. Bipolar disorder is classified into categories, being bipolar type I and bipolar type II disorder. Both have similar symptoms and patterns – but typically people with bipolar type I disorder have much more severe manic episodes. People with bipolar disorder type II typically experience milder episodes of hypomania that alternate with periods of severe depression.
Schizophrenia – schizophrenia is a very complex chronic mental illness that is typically characterized by a variety of symptoms such as delusions, hallucinations, paranoia, disorganization, disorganized speech, disorganized behavior and significantly impaired cognitive ability. Often times, people with schizophrenia experience cognitive disorder such as impaired ability to communicate. Many people with schizophrenia often experience anxiety, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder and can become involved in substance abuse involving alcohol, medication, tobacco and drugs. Medication is often necessarily to reduce the chronic psychotic episodes and improve self-care and mood. Schizophrenia can ultimately lead to work dysfunction and employability. If a person develops schizophrenia and early adulthood, while gainfully employed, then hopefully he or she would benefit from disability income replacement.
If you suffer from a life altering mental illness that prevents you from working, and you have been cutoff or denied disability you have a right to retain a Hamilton disability lawyer to appeal your denial. We understand that mental illness is often unpredictable and episodic, something insurance companies do not typically care look into. Often times, people with mental disorders have prolonged periods of stability between episodes, be it depression, bipolar, PTSD often making them unreliable and prone to anxiety and panic attacks.
Other people, who suffer extreme and severe depression, often simply can’t cope with the realities of life. The basics of surviving, is simply the most productive thing that a person suffering from severe depression can handle. Remembering to eat, drink enough water, take care of their hygiene and take their medication – the mere basics of life, are often extreme effort. We understand the people with mental illness have difficulty concentrating, find it hard to remain motivated, have difficulty sleeping, suffer medication side-effects, lose interest in activities of life and daily living, are often self-isolating, and often they may be judged and feel ashamed. All of which can no doubt interfere with a person’s ability to work and maintain regular gainful employment.
Unfortunately, disability insurance companies do not often see the full and clear clinical picture. They assess what has been provided to them – such as your family doctor records, your employment file, and they often do not dig deep enough into a person’s medical history to understand how their mental illness really impacts their ability to perform the substantial duties of their job, or for many people, any job for which they are reasonably trained by education, training and experience.
If you have been denied or cutoff long-term disability, and you suffer from a mental illness, please call us to discuss your case. There is never any charge you were simply happy to talk. We will answer all of your questions and any communication with our firm is highly confidential. Call us at 905-333-8888 or fill in a contact form today.