Mental health illness is a growing concern for Canadians. According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, 1 in 5 Canadians experience a mental illness, and by the age of 40, one in two people have—or have had—a mental illness. Mental illness symptoms can range from mild to very severe. Those conditions not only impact one’s emotional state – often, severe cases of mental health illness make it difficult, if not impossible, to carry out daily tasks.
Yet, there is still a stigma surrounding mental health. Mental health conditions are often not treated as seriously as conditions with more obvious or physical symptoms. Today, we join the conversation surrounding mental health by providing an overview of mental health disability insurance claims and what to watch out for when dealing with the insurance company.
“Invisible” illness – visible impact
Mental illness can include disorders such as anxiety, depression and PTSD. These conditions affect all genders, ages and income groups. It is common for mental health conditions not to exhibit externally visible signs or symptoms. Because of this, mental health illnesses are sometimes referred to as ‘invisible” – someone may be suffering from it with no obvious signs to an outside observer.
The reality is that depression, anxiety and PTSD can have just as much impact on someone’s ability to perform regular daily tasks as ailments with a physical manifestation. Impaired functional capacity is commonly experienced by those suffering from mental health disorders. Symptoms of these disorders can cause significant cognitive and physical restrictions and limitations that make it difficult or impossible to work. The inability to work and earn income can further exacerbate one’s mental health.
Are you eligible for mental illness disability payments?
Income and financial stability are important factors that contribute to a quality of life and one’s ability to receive appropriate medical care. Hopefully, if you are ever faced with a situation where you are unable to work due to a mental health condition, you have access to a disability insurance program through the government, an individual policy or a group policy through work.
If you are unable to work due to a mental health disorder consult with your doctor on a treatment plan and review any disability policy under which you may be entitled to apply for benefits. These policies are sometimes called “peace of mind “ policies as they are meant to protect your financial health in times of need.
Why are mental health disability claims denied?
Sadly, insurance companies often deny mental health disability claims. One of the most common reasons for denial is “lack of medical evidence” to support absence from work. Due to the nature of mental illnesses, it can be hard to provide ‘objective evidence’– there is no blood test or an imaging scan that can prove the existence of such conditions.
Even if the insurance company accepts the diagnosis of a mental illness, they may still deny the claim on the basis that the condition is not severe enough to prevent you from working. The challenge with mental illness claims is that the inability to work is often based on the subjective reporting of the disabled person.
How to get your mental health disability claim approved:
If you are suffering from a mental health disorder and are planning to apply for a disability claim, you should take the following steps to increase the likelihood of your claim being accepted.
1. Make sure you receive appropriate medical care.
Make sure that you are being treated by a doctor experienced in treating mental health disorders. It can be your GP, but it is even better if the treatment comes from a psychiatrist or psychologist.
2. Follow the recommended course of treatment.
It is essential that you regularly attend doctor’s appointments and monitor the course of the illness. Your insurance company will rely on medical evidence to decide whether or not to pay your claim – providing accurate and detailed medical records will significantly assist you in obtaining your benefits under the policy.
3. If your mental health disability claim is denied, seek legal advice immediately.
Having your claim denied can be devastating news leaving you utterly lost and confused. Our team of lawyers can help you navigate the denial letter, the insurance policy, and the medical evidence to help you get the benefits you deserve.
While mental health issues can have a debilitating impact on many areas of someone’s life, there is still a stigma around admitting to having such “invisible illnesses.” Not being able to openly talk about mental health issues can leave a person feeling even more isolated and helpless. It is important to support those struggling with mental health conditions and be proactive in encouraging a broader conversation about mental health illness.
We are proud to apply our professional skills to help people with mental health disorders navigate the complexities of disability insurance and guide them through the process if their insurance claim is denied. If you, or your loved one are suffering from a mental health condition and have recently been denied disability payments, contact us for a free consultation.