Filing a disability insurance claim, whether for a private disability policy or an ERISA policy, for an anxiety and depression diagnosis presents a challenge that can sometimes make the claimant feel like they are fighting an uphill battle. This is because their disability is not one that shows upon on an x-ray or in blood work. It is based upon how you feel – and how that gets interpreted by the doctors. The subjective nature of the disability is what makes it such a challenging claim. This does not mean the disability is not real, just that the claim may be more difficult to document and may pose challenges.
Frankel & Newfield works with many claimants who are suffering from depression and/or anxiety impairment and disability. We recognize that there are complex facets to these types of claims, in that the insurance company’s response and interactions to the claim and with the claimant can cause further issues for the claimant. In many cases, our clients are as removed from the process as possible, to prevent them from having any additional stress to compound their circumstances. We let you focus on your health.
Major depressive disorder is the more clinical term used to describe the mental disorder of depression. This is a persistent mood often characterized by a loss of interest in usually enjoyable activities. Depression is disabling and impacts a person’s interactions at work, home, or play. A diagnosis is made based on the patient’s own experiences, behavior assessments, and an examination of their mental status. There are no blood markers or tests, although a general practitioner may request a series of tests to rule out any physical causes for the depression.
A diagnosis of anxiety often accompanies depression. Anxiety is an uncomfortable internal state of mind. A person suffering from anxiety may have restless behaviors, like tapping their feet or fingers, pacing, pulling at their hair or biting their nails. The feelings of fear, perceived threats in the absence of any threat and an overreaction to mundane situations are typical of an anxious person. Some people with high levels of anxiety suffer from Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and other persistent fears. There is often a co-morbidity of issues involved.
People who have been diagnosed with anxiety and depression often feel like their job performance is endangered by their disability, whether it is or not. They then worry about their job performance, which turns into an additional cycle of anxiety. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America reports that anxiety is one of the most common forms of mental illness and that it can impact health, family life, and careers.
One of the issues concerning a depression and anxiety disability claim has to do with the type of treatment a claimant is receiving. Like any other disability, it is better for the success of the claim if the individual is under the regular care of a specialist, in this case, a psychiatrist with a focus on depression and/or anxiety. A self-diagnosis of anxiety, even if it is accurate, is not enough to substantiate a claim.
Treatment for these often includes antidepressant or antianxiety pharmaceuticals. In some cases, these medications make the claimant drowsy or sleepy, which can also prevent them from performing the material duties of their occupation. Talk therapy is often indicated in cases of depression and anxiety. However, symptoms may not be alleviated enough to permit a return to work. Working solely with one’s general practitioner is often problematic for the success of a claim.
There are instances when the disability insurance company reviewing a medical report for a client with another type of disability sees a doctor’s note that the claimant is suffering from depression and/or anxiety because of their disability. A common tactic is to try to push a claim from a physical ailment to a mental/nervous claim, based solely on a note from a treating physician. This is because, for most disability policies, benefits for a mental/nervous claim are usually limited to 24 months. Disability insurance companies treat mental/nervous claims with a heightened degree of skepticism. The claims adjuster will review medical records in great detail and seek to deny the claim.
Anyone with an anxiety and depression diagnosis should speak with the disability attorneys at Frankel & Newfield. We have represented many anxiety and depression sufferers and know how the insurance companies treat their claims. Call the law firm of Frankel & Newfield today at this toll-free number 877-583-2524. We can help, and you don’t have to take on this battle alone.
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