Long term disability is an insurance program that replaces a portion or all of your income if you suffer from an injury or condition that prevents you from working for extended period. Though most individuals associated long term disabilities with physical injuries or diseases, it's possible to make a claim if you have a mental illness that interferes with your ability to do your job. Here are a few things you should know about making a long term disability claim for mental illness.
1. It's Important to Understand the Terms of Your Policy
Ideally, you should review the terms of your long term disability policy when you sign up for it. How mental illness is treated by your benefits depends on the specific terms of your policy.
Some insurance companies don't have any special stipulations for mental illness and treat it the same as physical illness. Others have a waiting period before they will pay claims associated with mental illness. For example, you might have to wait two to three years from the date you take out the policy to make a disability claim for your mental illness. You may have the option to purchase a rider for your policy that permits claims for mental illness at an earlier date.
Understanding the terms of your policy can help you determine if your mental illness is covered as a disability and when you should make your claim.
2. You Need Solid Documentation of Your Mental Illness
If your initial claim is turned down, don't fret. Instead, meet with a lawyer who has experience handling long term disability rejections. Your lawyer can give you tips for bolstering your specific case.
In general, the more documentation you have of your mental illness and its effects on your ability to work, the better. Make sure that your doctor makes notes about your illness at each appointment. It's vital that you do everything in your power to get your mental illness under control; this includes taking prescription medication, attending regular therapy sessions, and exploring alternative treatment options. Again, have medical documentation for the treatments you have tried and their effects on your condition.
3. It's Imperative to be Honest When You Take Out Your Policy
Your policy may ask if you have pre-existing conditions when you take out the policy, and it may include certain mental illnesses as conditions that you need to report. It's imperative that you be honest when answering your insurer's questions. Otherwise, the insurance company can reject your claim because you provided them with incorrect information. A pre-existing condition doesn't mean that the insurer will refuse to underwrite your policy, but it may influence your premiums.
For more information, you will want to contact a professional, such as Scott E. Shaffman Attorney At Law.
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