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How to Get Short-Term Disability Approved
for Anxiety and Depression?

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C.L. Mike Schmidt Published by C.L. Mike Schmidt

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A short-term disability insurance plan can provide assistance with bills if you are struggling with a mental health condition like anxiety or depression.

As a disability lawyer, I have gathered information that may answer some of your questions regarding these mental health conditions and disability insurance benefits in this article.

Quick Summary

  • The things written in an insurance policy and the laws in your state will decide if a short-term disability plan will cover things like being anxious, sick, or other types of mental or eating disorders.
  • If your mental health conditions are caused by factors connected to your job, you may not be eligible for short-term disability payments.
  • When filing a claim for short-term disability benefits linked to your anxiety or depression, please double-check that the condition is covered under their conditions.

What Is a Short-Term Disability Plan?

A lawyer pointing to paperwork with a client on the sideA short-term disability plan is a type of insurance that provides coverage to employees who are unable to perform their duties due to illness or injury that are not job-related.

If a qualifying event occurs, the employee can file a claim with the disability insurance company to receive the benefits specified in their policy.

The terms and coverage in an insurance policy and the regulations in your state will determine whether a short-term disability plan covers anxiety disorders and other particular types of illnesses. 

What Is Depression?

Depression (comprehensive depression) is a severe medical condition that affects your mood, thinking, and behavior [1].

Depression is a treatable illness, but some of the signs associated with it might cause a person to avoid or put off seeking professional help.

Also Read: Stress Leave California

What Is Anxiety Disorder?

Anxiety disorder is when you experience unpleasant and uncomfortable feelings that may be minor or severe [2]

Feeling nervous or fearful can be a normal reaction to stressful situations. Still, someone with an anxiety disorder may experience excessive fear and nervousness that is inappropriate to thoughts or situations.

Who Is Eligible to Claim Short-Term Disability Benefits for Anxiety and Depression?

A person stamping a clipboardThose eligible to claim short-term disability benefits for anxiety and depression are currently employed and have short-term disability coverage through their employer or that they purchased privately. They also need to become disabled due to mental health issues that are not job-related.

If you suffer from a major depressive disorder, such as clinical depression, that prevents you from performing your job duties, it is time to look into short-term disability options.

Your employer's insurance policy will likely differ from others, so review your plan documents.

How to Get Short-Term Disability Approved for Anxiety and Depression?

To get short-term disability approved for anxiety and depression, you need a medical or mental health professional to give their evaluation, such as a psychiatrist or psychologist. 

This will aid you in overcoming the doubt that some insurance companies express about claims based on mental health problems such as depression and anxiety.

You may not be approved for disability benefits if your anxiety or depression is caused by conditions related to your employment. However, work-related injuries and illnesses, including mental health disorders, are entitled to benefits through the workers' compensation that exists in your state.

"It is exceedingly important to see a mental health professional who agrees with your need to take a medical leave from work to have a successful claim for these benefits."
- Jessa Victor, Associate Attorney

How to File a Claim for a Short-Term Disability?

A lawyer looking through paperwork

To file a claim for short-term disability, you should obtain the necessary forms from your plan administrator, which is most likely located in your HR department. If you cannot get these forms from the HR department, contact the "claims administrator" directly. 

There are three standard forms that must be filled out, and they are:

  • An Employee Statement that you fill out
  • An Employer Statement for your company
  • An Attending Physician statement your doctor completes

After you've completed your forms, your employer usually sends them to your claims administrator. However, make sure to check the forms for any specific instructions. If you have numerous therapists or a therapist and a psychiatrist, they should all fill out a form.

How long it takes to receive your benefits depends on your condition and the claims administrator. If your situation is short-term, you could start receiving benefits as quickly as one to fourteen days after submitting your claim. 

However, if your disability is long-term, you may become eligible for long-term disability insurance.

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What if Your Short-Term Disability Claim Is Denied?

If your short-term disability claim is denied, you can file an appeal but will need the assistance of an attorney who specializes in these circumstances. Employer-sponsored benefits are subject to Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) and are governed by numerous rules.

How Long Can Short-Term Disability Benefits Last?

Short-term disability benefits can last from three months to a year after a short waiting period.

How Do I File a Disability Claim Appeal?

To file a disability claim appeal, you have 180 days from the date you receive a notice of disability claim denial. This is known as an "administrative appeal." The denial letter will come with instructions on how to go about submitting your appeal.

Do You Want to File a Claim for Short-Term Disability?

Filing disability claims due to mental health disorders is a long process. If you're dealing with a severe mental health condition, we recommend talking to one of our experienced disability lawyers to assist you throughout this process.

To learn about your rights and available options for social security disability insurance relating to depression and anxiety, schedule a free consultation and claim evaluation with a disability lawyer from Schmidt & Clark, LLP.