How long can you get disability benefits for depression or anxiety or other mental illnesses? Sometimes I’ll have people come to me with a physical disability, and other times I’ll have people come to me with more of a mental illness type disability that is significantly affecting their ability to live life and to do work. So, what I’ll always tell people is, every insurance policy is different. The question is, how long can you expect to get long-term disability benefits for a disabling mental illness? The answer to that is going to be different for every insurance policy, but I’ll tell you what I see in a lot of insurance policies.
Two-year limitation is common
A lot of times, what I see is there is a two year limitation to mental illness diagnoses and disabilities. I’m not quite sure why they do that, but they do it in a way that I think limits your ability to get better. I think that they hope that with a mental illness, you can treat that and ultimately get back to a functional state. But as we all know, in some mental illness cases, you can’t ever get back to a fully functional state in a work scenario. So, that is a significant hindrance for a lot of people. I’ve even had some cases, I’m in the middle of an appeal now, where we have appealed the mental illness classification because our client was injured in a car accident and had a traumatic brain injury, which is a physical injury that has mental illness symptoms.
When a mental illness could be exempted
Even though there are some symptoms of a mental illness present, the question is, is that exempted from the definition of what a mental illness is? So, just because you’ve been classified as a mental illness, doesn’t necessarily mean that you have a mental illness and you still need to appeal that adverse benefit determination. Because if they say that you are limited to two years of total disability, but you’re only 55 years old, you’re essentially giving up eight years worth of long-term disability benefits. Because if you’re limited to two years and you’ve got 10 more years on your LTD policy, then you’re only going to get benefits for two, and you’re going to give it up for eight. You don’t want to do that.
So, how do you not do that? Well, you have to read the policy. The insurance policy will have all of these standards built into them. You need to make sure that you understand, one, what a mental illness is, and two, whether there is a limitation for your mental illness.
If you need help getting to the bottom of this, I’ll be happy to talk to you about this. You can click on the comment section below and write your questions. I’ll be happy answer them there. Or if you want to talk to me directly, give me a call or send me an email, I’d be happy to chat with you.