The COVID-19 pandemic has devastated public health and economic stability all over the world. The rapid changes in our society have also affected mental health.

A US Census Bureau poll found that over 42% of people reported feeling anxiety or depression in December 2020. This was up from 11% in 2019.

Your health should always be a top priority. If your mental health is suffering, this can impact your ability to work. Short-term disability benefits can help you bridge the financial gap as you focus on recovering your health.

In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about claiming short-term disability benefits for mental health and what to do if your claim is denied.

When to seek short-term disability benefits

First, it’s important that you confirm with your HR department that your employer actually offers short-term disability coverage. Unfortunately, private insurance coverage through work isn’t a guarantee for everyone.

Let’s review what typical short-term disability benefits include. Unlike long-term disability, short-term benefits typically last for three to six months. You start receiving benefits within about two weeks of being unable to work.

If your mental health has compromised your ability to work, it might be time to consider your short-term disability options. Every insurance policy is different, so you will need to check your plan documents from your employer.

Some qualifying conditions that could be eligible for this benefit include:

  • Depression and anxiety
  • Stress conditions like PTSD
  • Ongoing addiction problems
  • Conditions like bipolar or panic disorders

If you’re experiencing serious side effects from a condition like these, it could make it harder to carry out day-to-day tasks. A stress leave might be helpful to get you back on track.

When you’re going through mental health issues, you might struggle to find enough motivation or to achieve sharp focus. Or you might have issues organizing your thoughts or managing your stress levels.

If you continue to work while you are experiencing symptoms like these, it could make your condition worse. It could also lead to termination if you can’t perform essential job duties.

Don’t be ashamed to seek help

If you’re struggling with a serious mental health issue, there is no shame in seeking help! We all struggle with life’s hurdles from time to time.

The past year has placed enormous amounts of stress on all of us. It is absolutely understandable if you, like so many others, are having a hard time coping.

The past year has placed enormous amounts of stress on all of us. It is absolutely understandable if you, like so many others, are having a hard time coping.

That’s why the Family and Medical Leave Act was expanded last year. It now allows you to take leave if you are sick with COVID-19 or caring for ill family members. Some states, such as Washington, even offer paid leave to residents in these cases.

But if you’re struggling to perform everyday tasks, it might be time to file a short-term disability claim. Again, you should check your plan documents for your insurance policy to see whether this is an option for you.

Let’s look at how to file a claim in more detail now.

How to file a short-term disability claim

The first step in filing a claim is to find the right paperwork. Your company’s HR department should be able to point you in the right direction. You can also get in touch with the “claims administrator” for your disability insurance company.

You will typically have to fill out three different forms. These include:

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

After you finish your forms, you will typically submit them to your claims administrator. But make sure to check any instructions on the forms themselves to be sure.

If you see multiple doctors for your condition, you will need each one to fill out an Attending Physician statement. If you have multiple therapists, or a therapist and a psychiatrist, they should all complete a form.

So, how long does it take to get your benefits? This depends on your condition and the claims administrator.

In some cases, you can start to receive benefits from one to fourteen days after submitting your claim. If the condition you’re experiencing persists, you might become eligible for long-term disability benefits.

What if your claim is denied?

Most insurance policies come with some limitations. For example, some disability policies will not cover pre-existing conditions.

If your mental health condition is ongoing, your provider might not cover this condition under disability insurance. However, this is not universally true.

In some cases, your company might just exclude pre-existing conditions from disability coverage. Or they might limit the coverage they offer for those conditions.

If your short-term disability claim is rejected, you will receive a “denial letter” in the mail. This letter will spell out why the claim was denied. It will include specific details about your policy to explain this decision.

This letter will also include instructions to appeal your case.

You have the right to appeal

In cases where short-term disability is denied, you have the right to file an appeal. After you receive the denial letter, you must file an appeal within 180 days.

When you submit your appeal, you should include plenty of information justifying your case. If you originally submitted incomplete medical records, make sure you resend complete and updated medical evidence.

You could also include a personal statement that details how your mental health issue is impacting your ability to work. You might ask friends or family members to send in letters of support, too.

Streamline the claims process

This process can be complicated. If you’re dealing with a serious mental health condition, it can be especially difficult. That’s why we recommend hiring an experienced lawyer to assist you throughout this process.

Roy Law Group specializes in going up against disability insurance companies. Our highly trained and compassionate lawyers can help you through every step of the short-term disability claim process.

Having a disability lawyer on your side exponentially increases the chance your claim will be accepted. Roy Law Group will take the hassle out of this process so you can focus on what really matters: your health.

Get legal support today

If you’re planning to file a short-term disability claim, Roy Law Group is ready to help!

Claims for mental health conditions don’t have to be daunting tasks. Our experienced legal team can walk you through every step of this process.

Contact us today to learn more about why Roy Law Group is right for you!