Okay, so you want to know, can I get disability for depression, anxiety, or any other mental illness. Yes, you can, but there are some problems we’re going to have to talk about.
Disability policies limit the receipt of benefits for 24 months
First of all, and don’t ask how this is legal and some disability lawyers were going to keep investigating this but most disability policies limit the receipt of benefits for 24 months if the condition is based on a mental health diagnosis. So, yes that policy you’ve been paying for so many years that you thought was going to provide you protection for your life or at least up until retirement age, it’s going to limit your receipt of disability benefits for two years if you have a mental health diagnosis. Disability lawyers have spent years in their experience and studying their files looking at various disability policies and seeing how they define a mental health condition. They always say it depends and they do that because every policy defines things differently and with mental health cases you know and they’ve got several examples they’re all kind of the same but there’s a couple things to watch out for.
You’re going to have your more general and your more specific, now they would say that when they look at the policies as they get newer, the more revised policies it seems like the mental health limitations are getting a little more general and they think that’s a catch-all, they think these companies have faced litigation and they’ve revised their policies to be a catch-all so when they look at an older Cigna policy for example, it specifically named the conditions such as anxiety, depression, and eating disorder and if you had any of those conditions you were subject to a mental health, now when they look at in UNA policy for example this means any disorder essentially classified in the DSM. So, you know you have to look at your policy and see but the vast majority of them go to the DSM.
Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health disorders
The DSM is the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health disorders and it’s used by clinicians to diagnose and treat mental disorders so basically most policies say if you have a condition that pops up in the hundreds of pages of the DSM that is a mental health condition. One trend they have noticed is the exclusion of conditions and they’re going to read it to you from the UNUM because this one seems to be the most consistent, a mental disorder means any disorder except dementia resulting from a stroke, trauma, infections or degenerative disease such as Alzheimer. So basically what it’s doing is it’s excluding any condition that is caused by a structural, a structural process such as dementia that results from Alzheimer’s or a stroke which can cause cognitive issues.
So, what does that mean to you? Well first, it’s a wake-up call that your disability policy may cut off after 24 months, second that means we need to do an investigation together. The first thing they’re going to do when you contact a Disability Attorney is they’re going to check the policy to see which one of these limitations applies to you and the second thing they’re going to do and this is what they often do in cases, is they are going to find out is that why you’re disabled maybe it is, and we’ll work with that if that’s the case but maybe that’s a secondary condition.
That’s the most common thing they’ve been seeing, is that people often develop depression and anxiety secondary to another condition and obviously if you are working, had a great life, and then maybe you developed a physical injury, it’s very reasonable that you’ve developed depression and anxiety but the question is are you disabled but for the depression and anxiety and that’s what we argue all the time.
People can still be disabled due to other causes and the mental is just an additional thing and there is actually good law in our part of the country that will help us shape that case and extend benefits longer than 24 months. So, to answer the question, yes you can get disability benefits if you have depression or anxiety or other mental health conditions, but you and your Social Security disability attorney going to need to do some work together.