May has been recognized as Mental Health Awareness Month since 1949, when organizations raise awareness through fundraising events, support programs and public educational programs focused on helping people with mental health issues.

Our law firm represents many individuals who are disabled because of mental health issues, the most common of which is depression or severe anxiety. These claimants often face more challenges than other claimants whose disabilities are more visible.

Unlike someone who has a disease or an injury, people suffering from mental health issues don’t always look disabled. They look “normal,” and because of this, their disabilities are often questioned by employers, as well as well-meaning family members and friends. But their disabilities are just as real as any other person who can’t perform the tasks of their occupation because of a physical illness or injury.

The same attitude pervades the long-term disability insurance sector, which takes a hard line with mental nervous claims. Claims are often denied right from the start, with the LTD company claiming the person has not met the standard of a mental/nervous condition or that their doctor’s care does not indicate a true mental/nervous condition.

These claims are more challenging than other claims, where MRIs or X-rays may lend insight into one’s condition. Often, we utilize cognitive testing to help support the claim.

How a Mental/Nervous Condition is Limited by the LTD Policy

Most LTD policies from employers, which fall under the Employment Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA), limit benefits to 12 – 24 months for disability caused by, or sometimes even contributed to by, mental illness. It is extremely important for claimants to understand their LTD policy.

An experienced long term disability insurance attorney will be able to provide a thorough review of your policy to learn what, if any, kind of disability benefits you will be entitled to for a mental/nervous claim. There are many qualifying provisions and limitations for these types of claims, which our law firm has addressed successfully for our clients.

The policies often include mention of other mental illnesses, including bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, dementia, or organic brain disease. Some of these claims may allow benefits beyond the limited benefit period.

The limitations are harrowing for the claimant to consider, as they know mental/nervous conditions don’t simply heal in 12 – 24 months. What will happen after the policy period ends? A claimant will remain unhealed, but now without benefits.

A further challenge is presented when a patient with another type of disability has their claim disingenuously swept into the mental/nervous category. This is done when a note in their medical record indicates they are suffering from anxiety. Someone with a life-altering disability will be understandably anxious, and the healthcare provider is no doubt simply trying to indicate the patient’s response to their condition. But for the claimant, being placed into a category that isn’t accurate and where benefits are so severely restricted adds another level of stress and worry to an already difficult time in their lives.

How to Protect A Mental/Nervous Disability Claim

A conversation with an experienced long-term disability insurance attorney is the first step to protecting your disability claim. Our partners invite you to call the firm for a free consultation. Call the office today at 877-583-2524 to speak with us and learn how we can help.

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