Disability Benefits and Mental Illness

by | Jun 3, 2016 | Disability Claims

Disability Benefits and Mental Illness

Six Things to Consider when Applying for Disability Benefits for Mental Illness
According to the latest studies, one in five Canadians will experience a mental illness or addiction at some point in their adult lives. In fact, Health Canada states that mental illness is the second leading cause of disability in Canada. The Institute of Health Economics reports that on any given week at least 500,000 employed Canadians are unable to work due to mental illness.

But across the nation, prevailing negative attitudes and ignorance concerning people with mental illnesses or psychosocial disabilities mean, many will never open up about their disability to others. Sadly, their concerns about being treated unfairly labelled negatively or worse losing their jobs or relations, will keep them away from seeking support or treatment for their mental health issues.

It is good to know that people suffering from mental health disabilities in Ontario are protected against discrimination and harassment by the Ontario Human Rights Code under the grounds of “disability”. This protection extends to all forms of employment and includes joining or belonging to a union, professional association or vocational association. Every person with a mental health disability or addiction, whether visible or not, has the same right to equal opportunities under the Code.

Do you feel you could be suffering from depression, anxiety or other mental illness and unable to work? Are you considering applying for disability insurance benefits, or in the process of doing so? If yes, you need to understand the unique challenges facing people mental illnesses.

The Insurance Industry Barrier.
The volume of disability benefits claims involving mental illness is high. In fact, the insurance industry has made ‘managing mental health claims’ a top priority. Many insurers take an aggressive approach to denying mental health disability claims.

The ‘Invisible’ Illness Label.
For the most part, mental illness is not visible or apparent in any form and this can be a challenge. When others cannot ‘see’ the source of your disability, they can begin to doubt you. This includes your family and friends, as well as the insurance representatives.

Denials after a Short Period of Time.
Insurance companies may approve mental illness disability claims but only for a short duration. It is important that you understand this so you can better prepare yourself and not be caught off-guard by the termination.

The Private Eye.
Insurance companies routinely hire private investigators to get undercover video surveillance of people receiving disability benefits. This is especially true in claims involving mental illness.

Social Media Surveillance.
Social media is the latest hot spot for insurance company surveillance. There are now private investigators that specialize in online surveillance (including Facebook, Twitter), and insurance companies often hire these people to get information to deny your benefits.

The ‘Other’ Doctor.
Insurance companies may get a second opinion from a behind the scenes doctor. Armed with the second opinion, they can now deny or terminate your benefits. You will often not know that they have such a report from a doctor, because they will not reveal it.

Inadequate Medical Treatment.
Failure to get medical treatment for mental illness can lead to an automatic denial of disability benefits. These include an inability to get treatment by the right doctor, ineffective medical treatment or even improper documentation of medical reports.

Any or all of the above can give the insurance company grounds to attempt to justified denying your legitimate mental illness disability claim. That is why it makes sense to choose a legal team with lawyers who are educated, informed and experienced in dealing with mental illness disability claims.


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