We know a dog trainer who is fond of telling her clients that having a smart dog is far more challenging than having a dog who is not that smart. The smart dogs are excellent problem solvers, and any kind of training or behavioral modification has to be adjusted accordingly.
In the same way, people who are really good with finance and become CPAs, or Chief Financial Officers or other similar high performing occupations face special challenges when they have a mental illness that impacts their ability to function at work.
We’re not talking about the normal stress of being a CPA during tax season, or a Chief Financial Officer dealing with the challenges that come with Annual Reports when the Board of Directors are not happy with the company’s performance or asset management.
The high functioning professional with seemingly limitless cognitive abilities is just as vulnerable as anyone else when it comes to mental illness. And anxiety, depression, schizophrenia and other mental illnesses sometimes seem more pronounced when they occur in a high functioning individual.
We often find that disability insurance companies tend to lump many of these high performing professionals into a category that might be titled “they’re too smart to really have this disability.” Claims are denied, based on paper reviews that don’t contain cognitive studies or consider the psychopharmacological medications that many of these individuals need to maintain some degree of what we call normal functioning behavior.
Instead, insurance companies often will view the occupational requirements strictly from a physical demand level, (often considered sedentary) and ignore the cognitive demands of the occupation.
Our disability insurance law firm has worked with many individuals of all ages with high cognitive abilities who are decimated by mental illness. Often their anxiety or depression makes coping with a disability denial an impossible task. We take this battle on, so that they are able to focus on recovery and treatment. We ensure that the claim gets the appropriate consideration from a vocational standpoint, and that the insurance companies know that they are obligated to consider all of the issues involved, rather than just the physical aspects of one’s job.