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Getting Short or Long Term Disability for Depression

short or long term disability for depression

Dealing with depression can be a serious and debilitating challenge.  The overwhelming sadness and persistent feelings of hopelessness can disrupt not only your daily life but also your ability to sustain employment.  If you’re facing this situation, you may be wondering how you can access disability insurance benefits.

In this article, we’ll explain the eligibility criteria and essential considerations for individuals seeking short or long term disability benefits for depression, as well as how The Maddox Firm can help.


Can you get short or long term disability for depression?

Yes, it is possible to get short and/or long term disability benefits for depression.  However, the process can be complex and depends on various factors, including the severity of your condition and the specific terms of your disability insurance policy.

To qualify for short or long term disability benefits, you typically need to demonstrate that your depression is severe enough to prevent you from performing the essential duties of your job.  Your insurance company will not take your word for it alone.  You’ll need to provide comprehensive evidence of how depression has affected your daily life and work performance.  This may include medical records, treatment history, statements from your treating mental healthcare providers, and any other relevant documentation.

The terms and conditions of your disability insurance policy will also greatly influence your eligibility and the benefits you can receive.  Policies may vary in their definitions of disability, pre-existing condition provisions, and the waiting periods before benefits kick in.

Keep in mind that each case is unique, and the outcome will depend on the specific details of your situation and your insurance policy.  It’s essential to consult with a qualified long term disability attorney, especially if your claim is denied or if you are navigating the complexities of ERISA.  They can guide you through the process, help you understand your policy’s terms, and increase your chances of securing the disability benefits you need.


How does depression result in disability?

depression can lead to long term disability

Depression can result in disability when it significantly impairs your ability to carry out your daily activities, including the functions required by your occupation.  This impairment can manifest in various ways, affecting your mental, emotional, and physical well-being.

Here are some of the ways in which depression can lead to disability:

  • Cognitive Impairment: Depression can lead to cognitive difficulties, such as poor concentration, memory problems, and reduced decision-making abilities.  These cognitive impairments can hinder your ability to perform tasks that require attention, problem-solving, and decision-making.

  • Loss of Interest and Motivation: Depression often leads to a loss of interest in activities and a lack of motivation.  This can result in decreased productivity and attendance issues at work, making it challenging to meet job requirements.

  • Physical Symptoms: Physical symptoms of depression, such as fatigue, sleep disturbances, and changes in appetite, can impact your ability to function effectively.  Fatigue, for example, can make it difficult to maintain regular work hours and energy levels.

  • Absenteeism and Presenteeism: Individuals with depression may miss work due to their condition (absenteeism) or be physically present at work but unable to perform at their full capacity (presenteeism).  Both situations can result in decreased work performance and potential job loss.

  • Suicidal Ideation: In severe cases, depression can lead to thoughts of self-harm or suicide, which require immediate intervention and treatment.

  • Impact on Daily Functioning: Depression can extend beyond the workplace and affect your ability to manage everyday tasks, maintain personal relationships, and take care of yourself.


Is it difficult to get short or long term disability for depression?

short or long term disability claims for depression

Short or long term disability claims for depression can present unique difficulties.  The challenges largely depend on several factors, including the severity of your depression, the terms of your disability insurance policy, and the quality of your medical documentation.

Here are some key points to consider:

  • Severity of Depression: To qualify for disability benefits, you typically need to demonstrate that your depression is severe enough to prevent you from performing the essential duties of your job.  Cases of depression with more severe symptoms may have a higher chance of being approved.

  • Disability Insurance Policy: The terms and conditions of your disability insurance policy significantly affect your eligibility and the benefits you can receive.  Policies may vary in their definitions of disability, waiting periods, and benefit duration.  Understanding your policy is essential.

  • Medical Documentation: Comprehensive medical documentation from qualified healthcare professionals, such as psychiatrists or psychologists, is crucial.  Without the support of your treating providers, your claim may be denied.

  • Stigma and Misunderstanding: There can still be stigma and misunderstanding surrounding mental health conditions, including depression.  This may affect how your insurance company evaluates your claim, making it important to have a strong case supported by medical professionals.

  • Subjective Symptoms: Depression is characterized by a range of subjective symptoms, such as sadness, hopelessness, lack of interest, and emotional distress.  These symptoms are experienced differently by each individual and can be challenging to quantify objectively.  Insurance companies often rely on objective evidence, such as lab results or diagnostic imaging, to evaluate claims.  Subjective symptoms may be met with skepticism, as they can be harder to assess.

  • Lack of Visible Symptoms: Unlike many physical conditions, depression doesn’t manifest with visible physical symptoms, making it more challenging to prove the existence and severity of your condition.  Your insurance company may be more inclined to approve claims for conditions with quantifiable and observable symptoms.

  • Inconsistent Clinical Presentation: Depression can present differently in individuals.  While some may experience severe disruptions in daily functioning, others may be able to mask their symptoms or appear functional to some extent.  This inconsistency in clinical presentation can lead to skepticism and the belief that some claimants may not be as disabled as they claim.

  • Limited Objective Testing: While there are psychological assessments and questionnaires to measure the severity of depression, these tools have limitations.  They provide a snapshot of your mental state at the time of assessment, and they may not capture the full extent of your condition’s impact over an extended period.

To address these challenges and improve the chances of a successful depression claim, it’s crucial to:

  • Seek consistent medical treatment and maintain thorough medical records.

  • Obtain written assessments and statements from qualified mental health professionals detailing the impact of depression on your daily life and ability to work.

  • Maintain open communication with your healthcare providers to ensure they understand the importance of documenting your condition for disability claims.

  • Consult with an experienced ERISA attorney who specializes in disability claims, particularly those involving mental health conditions, to navigate the complex process and provide expert guidance.

While it is challenging to obtain disability benefits for depression, it’s not impossible.  Many individuals have successfully secured these benefits when their condition has significantly impacted their ability to work and function in daily life.  Consulting with a long term disability attorney who specializes in mental health-related claims can greatly increase your chances of a successful outcome and ensure you receive the support you need during a difficult time.

How long can I receive disability insurance benefits for depression?

long term disability mental illness limitation documents

The exact length of disability benefit coverage will depend on the terms of your insurance policy.

Short term disability (“STD”) benefits are designed to provide coverage for temporary disabilities, which are often of shorter duration.  As a result, the typical duration of STD benefits can range from a few weeks to several months.  STD policies may offer benefit periods of, for example, 9 weeks, 13 weeks, 26 weeks, or other specified time frames.  Your policy will contain language explaining the exact maximum duration of your benefits.

Long term disability (“LTD”) benefits provide disability income for more lasting periods of disability.  For some conditions, this may be through Social Security retirement age or even lifetime benefits.  However, many LTD policies contain what is called a mental illness limitation.

A mental illness limitation in an LTD insurance policy is a provision that places restrictions on the duration for which benefits will be paid for disabilities caused by mental health conditions.  This limitation can significantly impact how long you can receive LTD benefits for a mental illness, including depression.

If you are subject to a mental illness limitation, once you become disabled due to depression, your policy may only pay benefits for an initial period.  After the initial period (which is most commonly 24 months), the mental illness limitation comes into play.  This means that benefits for mental health conditions will only be paid for a limited duration, such as a total of 24 months or until you reach a specified age.

Beyond the mental illness limitation period, you may still be eligible for benefits if you meet the general disability criteria outlined in the policy.  For example, if you develop a disabling physical condition while receiving LTD benefits for depression, you may continue to qualify for benefits after the limitation period.  However, you must still meet the criteria outlined in your policy.  This may include the inability to perform any occupation, as opposed to your own specific occupation.

It’s important to understand that the duration of the mental illness limitation and your policy’s specific terms can vary from one insurance provider to another.  While some policies may have a relatively short limitation period (e.g., 24 months), others may have longer or shorter limitations.  Consulting with an attorney experienced in disability claims can help you navigate these limitations and maximize your benefits if you are dealing with a long term disability claim for depression.


What evidence can prove my depression disability to my insurance company?

To qualify for short or long term disability benefits, you must provide medical documentation and other evidence that demonstrates how their depression significantly impairs your ability to work or perform daily activities.  Here are some types of evidence that can be crucial in demonstrating your depression disability:

  • Medical Records: Comprehensive medical records from qualified healthcare professionals are essential for your claim.  This includes records from psychiatrists, psychologists, or other mental health specialists who have diagnosed and treated your depression. The records should detail  your diagnosis and any co-occurring mental health conditions; your treatment history, including therapy, counseling, medications, and other interventions; and your provider’s opinion on the impact of depression on your daily life and ability to work.

  • Treatment History: Many times mental health providers are unwilling to release detailed session notes for the purposes of supporting a disability claim, as these may be harmful to the you as the patient.  However, you should obtain a treatment summary from your provider, which can include the dates of your treatments and their duration.

  • Hospitalization Records: Make sure to provide your insurance company records of any hospitalizations or inpatient treatment related to your depression.

  • Statements from Mental Health Providers: Supportive statements from your treating mental health providers can be persuasive.  These statements should clearly explain the impact of your depression on your ability to work and daily life.  They can attest to your diagnosis, treatment plan, and prognosis.

  • Medication Side Effects: If you have experienced side effects from prescribed medications that hinder your ability to work or perform daily activities, document these side effects and discuss them with your healthcare provider. The side effects of medications can themselves be disabling.

  • Psychological Testing: Psychological assessments, such as standardized tests and questionnaires administered by a mental health professional, can provide objective evidence of the severity of your depression. 

  • Neuropsychological Evaluation: By assessing cognitive and emotional functioning, a neuropsychological evaluation can reveal specific cognitive impairments and emotional distress related to depression, helping establish the severity of the condition and its impact on your ability to work.  This evaluation can strengthen the credibility of your claim by offering an objective assessment of your mental health status, helping your insurance company better understand the extent of the disability.

  • Work History: Document your work history and how your depression has affected your ability to perform your job.  If there is a noticeable decline in your job performance or if you have been unable to work, this can be valuable evidence.

  • Statements from Employers and Colleagues: If your employer or colleagues have observed the impact of your depression on your work performance and daily life, their statements can be valuable.  These statements should be specific and detailed.

Consult with a disability attorney to ensure you are meeting your insurance company’s expectations and increase your chances of a successful disability claim.  Having an attorney who specializes in disability claims can also be beneficial in navigating the process and addressing any potential challenges that may arise.


How can an attorney prove my depression disability claim?

The Maddox Firm Long Term Disability Attorney Office

The experienced team at The Maddox Firm has helped hundreds of clients secure their short and/or long term disability benefits, including for mental health conditions like depression.  We understand how to maximize your chances of a successful outcome.  Here are a few of the ways The Maddox Firm can help prove your depression disability claim:

  • The Maddox Firm examines your disability insurance policy, specifically for any mental illness limitation: The Maddox Firm is well-versed in the language and terms of disability insurance policies.  We can carefully review your policy to understand how any mental illness limitations may affect your claim.  This includes examining your policy for any waiting periods, pre-existing condition clauses, or maximum benefit durations related to mental health conditions.

  • The Maddox Firm will request and obtain medical records on your behalf: The Maddox Firm will efficiently request and obtain your medical records from your treating providers, ensuring that your documentation is complete and comprehensive.  We can also assist in obtaining expert opinions from mental health professionals who can support your claim.

  • The Maddox Firm will identify any red flags in your documentation: The Maddox Firm is skilled at identifying potential red flags in your documentation that may raise concerns with your insurance company.  By addressing and mitigating these issues, we can strengthen your claim’s credibility.

  • The Maddox Firm will refer you for a neuropsychological evaluation: If necessary, The Maddox Firm may recommend you undergo a neuropsychological evaluation to assess the cognitive and emotional impact of your depression.  We can help arrange the evaluation and review the resulting report for accuracy and completeness, ensuring it supports your disability claim effectively.

  • The Maddox Firm will represent you in an appeal or litigation: If your disability claim is denied, The Maddox Firm can help you navigate the appeals process, obtaining additional supportive evidence, preparing a robust appeal letter supporting your claim, and ensuring you meet your insurance company’s deadlines.  We can also represent you in a lawsuit against your insurance company to fight for the benefits you deserve.

Having an experienced disability attorney by your side can significantly improve your chances of a successful depression disability claim.  The Maddox Firm understands the complexities of depression short and long term disability claims and how to maximize your chances of benefit approval.  Whether you are filing a claim, appealing a denial, or suing your insurance company, we can help you win the benefits you deserve.

The experienced team at The Maddox Firm will examine your insurance policy, correspondence from your insurance company, medical records, and any other relevant documentation in order to give you personalized guidance on how we can help you win your short or long term depression disability claim.  The Maddox Firm can provide you with comprehensive legal advice, answer your questions, and address any concerns you may have.


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