What if a mental health issue keeps me from working?

by Steve Fields | May 30th, 2017

Most mental health issues are not covered under workers’ compensation. However, you may have a workers’ comp claim if a mental illness, such as depression, is the result of the pain from your work injury. This is referred to as a consequential injury. Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can also be considered a work injury when it is the result of a work-related incident.

Our Minnesota-based law firm recently had the opportunity to represent a Stillwater man who had developed PTSD as a result of his job. We fought the insurance company and secured a large settlement which compensated him for his past and future wage loss, medical expenses, and his permanent partial disability (PPD) due to his mental and physical work injuries.

Minnesota Workers Compensation laws changed in October 1, 2013 when PTSD became a compensable standalone work injury. Prior to that date, individuals suffering from PTSD were not entitled to any wage loss or medical benefits under the Minnesota Workers’ Compensation system unless a physical work-related injury had also occurred.

In 2018, the law changed again for PTSD initially diagnosed on or after January 1, 2019 to presume PTSD is a result of certain types of occupations, such as police officers, firefighters, and various emergency personnel on active duty.

If you believe you have a work-related mental health issue, contact us. Our experienced Minnesota workers comp attorneys can review your case, answer your questions, and help you understand your legal options.

Mental Illnesses May Qualify for Disability Benefits

If you have been diagnosed with a mental illness which is not work-related, you may want to consider applying for short and long term disability benefits. Mental illnesses, such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and PTSD may qualify for long term disability benefits.

Typically, most long term disability plans offer coverage for a mental illness as long as that mental illness prevents you from returning to your job. Most policies offer coverage for individuals up to 24 months, while some other plans may offer more or less coverage.

To qualify for benefits, most long term disability plans require you to be under the care of a medical doctor, such as a treating psychiatrist, rather than a psychologist, nurse, counselor, or therapist. To further qualify for benefits, your mental health conditions must be well documented. This means that certain testing and mental health exams must be performed and the results must demonstrate that you have severe restrictions and limitations that prevent you from working.

When submitting a claim to your insurance company for a mental illness, you want to be sure that you provide them with information in a timely manner and that your medical providers are supportive of your claim. If the insurance company grants your claim, you will often have to periodically provide updated information in order to continue to receive benefits.

If the insurance company denies your claim, you have the right to appeal that denial and seek legal help from a Long Term Disability lawyer. Most long term disability denials for a mental illness are attributed to a lack of documented restrictions and limitation. If you have been denied long term disability benefits by your insurance company, contact us right away. We can answer any questions you may have and guide you through the process of getting your long term disability benefits.