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Insights into Long Term Disability for Anxiety and Depression by Tim Louis
A claim for long term disability benefits may be made if you are disabled from work as a result of Anxiety or Depression. Both of these conditions can result in an inability to work. Many of my long term disability clients ask me what is the difference between Anxiety and Depression.
Both Anxiety and Depression are types of mood disorders. Neither is necessarily disabling in the sense that if not severe, the individual may find that they are able to continue to work with either or both of these conditions.
However, both of these types of mood disorders can render an individual unable to work.
Anxiety can create feelings of worry, nervousness, or dread. Depression causes feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and reduced energy.
Although these two conditions are different, an individual can have both at the same time. In fact, depression and anxiety often occur together. Roughly 60% of people with anxiety also have symptoms of depression, and vice versa. The conditions themselves can also amplify the symptoms of the other, causing the symptoms to worsen or last longer.
Common questions clients of mine suffering from anxiety and/or depression ask me are:
Is long term depression and/or anxiety a disability?
The answer is yes. The federal government has long recognized these conditions as disabilities. Long term disability insurance companies also recognize these conditions as potentially disabling. However, a mere diagnosis does not in and of itself qualify you for long term disability benefits. Your condition must be so severe that it prevents you from working.
Can depression cause permanent disability?
Unfortunately, the answer is yes. Sometimes, although luckily rarely, depression can be so long term and extreme that it is permanently disabling. In this case, an individual will never be able to go back to work. Your medical team will be just able to let you know whether or not your depression is likely to be treatable or is permanent.
If you are suffering from depression and/or anxiety to the extent that it is preventing you from working, then in order to make a successful claim for long term disability for depression and anxiety, you should make every effort to bring your family doctor up to speed. They would need to know how your mood disorder is affecting your ability to work.
An example of how depression could affect your life could be an inability to get out of bed due to your depressed mood and fatigue forcing you to call in sick. Your symptoms might cause other problems such as inability to focus, concentrate, or pay attention during meetings or phone calls. Lack of interest in things you once enjoyed due to low energy and feelings of hopelessness can make even the most mundane tasks seem like mountains to climb.
On the other hand, with anxiety, it can affect your life in a completely different manner. You might feel so anxious that you feel physically ill, making you unable to go in to work. You might have panic attacks due to immense feelings of worry and fear. You could have social anxiety, meaning that social interactions themselves can cause you great stress and fear. There are many types of anxiety disorders, and each of them can impact your life in different ways.
Both of these mood disorders can put your life, career, and relationships in disarray.
It is also very important that you are aware of the fact that you are not eligible for long term disability benefits if your mood disorder is caused by the unique workplace environment of your current job. If a change of employers would likely leave you now no longer disabled, but rather able to work, then you do not have a valid claim for long term disability for anxiety and depression. It is for this reason that your application for long term disability benefits should not suggest that the root cause of your mood disorder is your work environment.
Making a claim for long term disability benefits is relatively easy. Your employer will provide you with the form that needs to be filled out. One of these forms, the Attending Physician Statement, will need to be completed by your family doctor. If you are seeing a specialist such as a psychiatrist for treatment, you may consider having the specialist complete the Attending Physician Statement.
ABOUT VANCOUVER, BC BASED LAW FIRM SPECIALIZING IN LONG-TERM DISABILITY, PERSONAL INJURY, EMPLOYMENT LAW AND ESTATE LITIGATION.
At the law firm of Tim Louis and Company, we are committed to helping people through difficult times. Starting with a free consultation, we help people who need it most to get the compensation they deserve. Our practice includes Long-Term Disability, Personal Injury, Employment Law and Estate Litigation. With over four decades of experience, Tim Louis has helped people across British Columbia get legal help when they need it most.