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Don't sabotage your disability claim. Avoid these 3 mistakes.

Unlike a physical injury or disability, you can't just look at someone and know they have a mental health condition. More to the point, you can't look at someone with a mental health condition and know how it is affecting their life and ability to work. Unfortunately for so many, the severity of a mental illness is what leads them to file a disability claim with their insurance company each year.

Even though many mental illnesses, including anxiety and depression are covered by many disability insurance policies, there are three seemingly innocuous things that patients do that can severely jeopardize their claim:

1.) Failing to receive regular care from a family doctor

In the United States and around the world, there is a severe stigma attached to many mental illnesses, including depression. It's often seen as a weakness – something to be embarrassed about – which can result in many people failing to seek consistent treatment from a doctor or medical professional.

Receiving treatments on a regular basis from a medical professional suggests to an insurer that you are trying to get better. Missing doctor's visits, however, could send the wrong message to an insurer and thus result in a denied claim.

2.) Refusing to take medication for a mental illness

As many medical professionals will agree, a combination of psychological treatment and medication is the best way to effectively treat mental illness. Unfortunately, far too many people skip doses or refuse to take medication altogether. As a 2014 article for the Treatment Advocacy Center explains, a person's reasons for not taking a medication may include:

  • Mistrust between patient and doctor
  • Negative experience taking a medication
  • Feeling ashamed or embarrassed to take medications
  • Belief that the problem doesn't need treatment or will simply go away on its own

Whatever the reason, if you skip doses or refuse to take medication, you may be sending the message to an insurer that you are no longer suffering from your condition and therefore no longer need to receive disability benefits. Oftentimes, this leads to a denied claim or the cancelation of benefits.

3.) Not having a complete record of your condition

The responsibility for this last mistake is shared by both you and your doctor.

For starters, it's up to doctors to document everything so that insurance companies have the information they need to approve benefits. Unfortunately, doctors can get busy, meaning they may not have the time they need to fill everything out or provide a detailed record of a visit. This can be harmful though because if it's not written down, insurers assume it didn't happen. This means doctors may inadvertently sabotage a disability claim without realizing it.

As a patient, it's your job to make sure your doctor has the information they need to file a detailed report. Tell them everything – no matter how minor the detail may seem. Provide detailed journals of your symptoms to help save time. Additionally, follow-up with your provider to ensure they have documented everything and that your insurer has access to this information.

Looking at the big picture

According to the World Health Organization, millions of people worldwide live with a mental illness. Of those conditions, depression is the leading cause of disability and inability to maintain employment. While avoiding the three mistakes above doesn't guarantee the approval of a disability claim, it can ensure you are not inadvertently sabotaging your own claim.

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The Law Office of Jessica Taylor, PLLC

The Law Office of Jessica Taylor, PLLC
14100 San Pedro Avenue
Suite 602
San Antonio, TX 78232

Phone: 210-265-6759
Phone: (210) 402-4022
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