How Does a Long-Term Disability Claim for Depression or Anxiety Work?

Many people will experience periods of depression or anxiety at times throughout their life. For some, the depression or anxiety will be longer-lasting, and may become chronic. Depression and anxiety can make it difficult or impossible to function at work, adding increased financial stress. If you are unable to work due to depression or anxiety, here is what you need to know about making a long-term disability claim.

 

Compensation and benefits for anxiety disability claims and depression disability claims

If anxiety or depression is making you unable to perform the duties of your work, there are several options to secure income replacement, compensation, or benefits. What you are eligible for depends on factors such as how long the depression or anxiety is lasting, how it came about, and your insurance coverage. For example:

  • You may be eligible for short-term disability (STD) benefits under a group insurance plan or private insurance policy if you are unable to perform the duties of your own occupation because of the depression or anxiety. You may also be eligible for government-sponsored benefits such as Employment Insurance (EI) sickness benefits if you are unable to work due to mental illness.
  • If your depression or anxiety are severe and prolonged:
    • You may be eligible for Canada Pension Plan (CPP) disability benefits which are paid by the federal government to people who qualify; and
    • You may be eligible for a long-term disability claim if a certain amount of time has passed,  (this is called the “waiting period” or “elimination period”)  and you are unable to perform the duties of any occupation for which you may have training, education or experience because of depression or anxiety.  
  • If your anxiety or depression disability claim was brought about by a workplace injury, you may be eligible for an Alberta or Saskatchewan WCB claim.
  • You may be able to claim for pain and suffering, past wage loss, and/or loss of future earning capacity if your depression or anxiety were caused by a car accident.

Every anxiety disability claim and depression disability claim is unique. Talk to an experienced Calgary based disability lawyer to discuss your situation and determine your options for compensation and benefits.

Challenges in establishing eligibility for a long-term disability claim

The terms and eligibility requirements of long-term disability policies and group insurance plans can be highly complex. When it comes tolong-term disability claims, it is not enough to have an illness – you must prove the illness fits into the definition of disability as determined by the insurance policy or plan, and you must prove that the illness is limiting your capacity to work.

All of this is made infinitely more challenging in “invisible disability” claims for mental illnesses such as depression or anxiety.

Insurance companies often deny valid long-term disability claims due to insufficient medical evidence, or push back on legitimate claims on the basis that the condition is mild, not impairing work capacity, or caused by another disease that is not covered by the policy (e.g. depression or anxiety arising from a pre-existing cancer diagnosis).

To avoid delays in payment or denial of your disability claim, it is essential that you understand the parameters of your insurance policy, including your rights and obligations.

For help in making sense of the claim process, contact us today to schedule a free consultation with our disability claim lawyer.

Tips for getting an anxiety disability claim or depression disability claim approved

Here are some tips to help get your long-term disability benefits for anxiety or depression approved:

  • Seek appropriate medical help to establish your diagnosis and prognosis and attend for regular appointments (for example, with a psychiatrist or psychologist).
  • Follow through on recommended treatment or medication plans.
  • Keep notes on how depression or anxiety is impacting your day-to-day functioning, how often you have symptoms and their severity, and the efforts you have made to cope with or treat your condition.

Medical reports, doctor’s records, your personal notes, and other documents such as receipts for prescription drugs will help document your condition and provide support for your long-term disability claim application.

Note that once your claim has been submitted, the insurance company may require you to attend an independent medical examination (“IME”) for the purposes of obtaining a second medical opinion on your diagnosis, prognosis, and functional abilities.

It is also important to note that once your long-term disability claim has been approved, there will be ongoing requirements to document your disability, and at some point, it may be required to work with your employer and/or a rehabilitation consultant to discuss return-to-work plans or modification of work duties to allow you to return to work.

Anxiety disability claim? Depression disability claim? We are here to help

The long-term disability claim process is complex and can be very difficult to navigate on your own, especially when your life is already disrupted by the effects of anxiety or depression. If you are considering making an anxiety disability claim or a depression disability claim, have already started the claims process, or your long-term disability claim application has been denied, Ludwar Law Firm can help you. With over 20 years of experience handling long-term disability claims for depression and anxiety, Ludwar Law Firm stands out above the rest. Clients of our Calgary-based law firm from all over Alberta and Saskatchewan appreciate being able to talk to people who can explain the process, their options, and what will happen during their claim. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation.