If you’re dealing with a disability and trying to file an ERISA or individual disability claim, one part of this process is simply defining your disability. Many people imagine that disabilities tend to be physical (ie, picture persons in a wheelchair), but this is not always the case.
Mental and/or psychiatric disabilities can often times be more debilitating than physical disabilities. Sometimes referred to as “hidden disabilities”, because an outsider may not immediately recognize what you’re dealing with in the same way that they would with a physical disability. But that doesn’t make it any less real and it doesn’t mean it impacts your life any less than a physical disability would. Many psychiatric conditions can be devastating and totally disabling. The fact that you cannot see them on an X-ray or a blood test, does not mean they do not exist and do not preclude you from working. With the state of the world as it is today, stress, anxiety, depression, and PTSD are becoming common maladies and are disabling more and more people. Further, depending on the terms of your particular disability policy, your right to benefits can be the same for a psychiatric claim than it is for a physical disability claim. So do not assume that psychiatric disabilities are not worth pursuing.
Proving the disability
With psychiatric/mental disabilities, because there is no “objective evidence” like an X-ray or a blood test to clearly prove its existence, the need for good subjective medical documentation is critical. These can be very complicated and a proper diagnosis is needed. Most people who have not dealt with this themselves will not have a very good understanding of exactly what it looks like. You will need to be under the active care of a medical/psychiatric doctor, who can explain the diagnosis and the symptoms which make it impossible for you to do your work. The more cognitively demanding your work is, the more difficult it is to handle your work responsibilities if you are suffering from some form of mental illness or condition. There are a lot of nuances here and it’s very important to understand and consider all of the factors that are in play.
Making your claim
What you do know is that the disability has changed your life, and not for the better. If it is effecting your ability to do your work, it may be time to make your ERISA or individual disability insurance claim. In that case it’s critical to know exactly what evidence will be necessary and what legal steps must be taken to protect your rights under the policy. . Get the answers and know the requirements before you file the claim, as “learning as you go” can lead to a denial of important benefits to which you would otherwise be entitled.