Chronic stress and poor work-life balance are becoming a daily norm, resulting in declining mental health among a large percentage of the working population. Career burnout has emerged as a relatively new condition and is often associated with severe mental health illnesses like depression and chronic stress.
Individuals suffering from severe symptoms associated with burnout may find it challenging to continue working and performing their daily functions. Short-term or long-term disability insurance may be one of the ways to replace income in circumstances where the illness prevents you from working. Despite the severity of prolonged burnout, many insurance companies deny disability claims associated with these conditions. Continue reading to learn what you should do if your claim has been denied.
How burnout & chronic stress may cause disability
According to The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, burnout is a state of emotional, physical and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress. The feeling of burnout associated with chronic stress can lead to intense fatigue, loss of control and inability to produce concrete results at work. Burnout can be draining, and it can manifest itself in a variety of physical symptoms such as aches and headaches, loss of appetite, insomnia, etc.
Statistics Canada also reports over one in four workers report being highly stressed. When someone is suffering from symptoms such as intense fatigue, loss of control, inability to concentrate etc. they may have difficulty performing tasks at work, see a sharp decrease in productivity, take frequent sick days, etc.
Getting the support you need
Understanding that burnout is a real and serious condition and allowing yourself to ask for help is a critical first step in your recovery. Seeking support within your community, practicing yoga and meditation, making sure you get regular physical activity, and engaging in mindfulness techniques may help to control symptoms and allow you to cope.
Where the condition has progressed to the point of rendering you disabled from working it is necessary for you to explore sources of financial support in your time of need. For example, people suffering from depression, severe anxiety and other mental health disorders caused by burnout may be eligible to receive government-administered income assistance for persons with disabilities. Additionally, people who are unable to work due to a mental health condition may also be eligible to receive income assistance through a disability insurance plan.
Short-term and Long-term Disability Insurance for Burnout Claims
If a physical or a mental health condition becomes so severe that it prevents you from working, you may be able to apply for disability benefits. Read through the insurance policy provided by your employer to learn the details of your coverage. You may have one or both types of disability coverage:
- Short-term disability: coverage begins after an initial waiting period of one to two weeks and typically lasts from 17 to 52 weeks. Policies differ so you need to review your own employment benefit coverages.
- Long-term disability: coverage for periods beyond the short-term disability period, typically until an individual returns to work, reaches age 65 and/or no longer meets the definition of disability as per the benefit plan.
To apply for disability benefits, you will need to submit a claim to your insurers and provide medical evidence that you cannot work. The insurer will require you to demonstrate that a mental or physical condition is severe enough to prevent you from performing most of the core tasks of your job. When you are applying for coverage, collect all medical documentation supporting your claim and demonstrating your condition. The more detailed your records are, the more likely it is that your claim will be approved.
What to do if my burnout disability claim is denied?
Unfortunately, many mental health claims are denied by insurance companies.
Some of the common reasons for disability claim denials are:
- Insufficient medical evidence
- Unclear diagnosis
- Failure to follow the recommended course of treatment
When it comes to mental health illness, proving a condition like depression or anxiety can be extremely challenging. There are no definitive ways to diagnose mental illness, and insurance companies may not provide you with enough guidance as to what that sufficient evidence should be. If your disability claim is denied, you will not be eligible to receive the insurance payments and will be expected to return to work. Learn more about why disability claims our denied in our blog.
It is crucial to remember that it is possible to appeal an insurance claim denial. If your claim has been denied, be mindful of the deadline to appeal the insurer’s decision, carefully monitor your activity online as it can be used as evidence against you, and contact a lawyer who has extensive experience with insurance claim denials. An experienced insurance denial lawyer will have the necessary expertise to make sure that you have sufficient evidence to prove your disability and that you can get your disability benefits.
Burnout can lead to significant health consequences and ultimately leave an individual unable to perform their job duties. Burnout can affect anyone, no matter the income and age group. If you are recovering from a physical or mental health symptom of burnout, finding a way to protect your financial stability is likely one of the first steps you should take. Short-term and long-term disability insurance are meant to be paid in circumstances where you cannot work, however proving your claim may be very challenging. If you are unable to return to work due to a mental health disorder and your disability insurance has been denied, seek legal help from insurance denial lawyers at McQuarrie.