There are differences between mental health conditions and those that are physical. One of the biggest is that a physical issue often manifests itself visibly. Maybe the person limps or needs a wheelchair. Mental issues on the other hand are typically invisible to the rest of the world.
It is a fact, however, that whether a condition is of a physical or psychological nature, it can be disabling. This is recognized by medical experts. It’s recognized by the Social Security Administration, which pays disability benefits for depression and anxiety to those who qualify.
Acceptance of the reality is also codified in federal law in the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA). Even many health plans regulated by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) acknowledge the effects of mental health, offering benefits under long-term disability provisions. The challenge can be in obtaining them.
Offering is not the same as delivering
It is one thing to feel sadness on occasion. Nearly everyone goes through blue periods. Cases of major depression or anxiety, though, feature more serious symptoms. Sadness may be compounded with apathy. If the feelings last for two weeks running or more and disrupt your normal routine, it can be considered disabling and may qualify for benefits under your employer-sponsored plans.
Ideally, securing benefits would be as easy as filing the necessary paperwork. However, those with experience in this area of law know that insurers regularly deny claims. Policies often require complicated appeals processes and insurers take advantage of contract provisions to delay paying claims or to so wear down applicants that they drop their claims. Also, because depression can be difficult to diagnose, and because appeals often restrict evidence to what’s in the medical record, assembling the necessary documents can be difficult unless you have the support of an experienced professional.
Major depression or anxiety are conditions that can have long term effects, including possibly death. Treatment is possible, but may take time and financial resources to yield fruit. If your employer has an ERISA-regulated plan in place, you owe it to yourself to enlist the help you need to be sure the legal obligations are met.