Filing for Long-Term Disability Based on a Mental Condition or Disorder


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Many long-term disability (LTD) insurance policies put a cap on the amount of time the insurance company will pay you long-term disability benefits on the basis of a mental impairment. In fact, some LTD lawyers allege that LTD insurance carriers sometimes attempt to classify an individual's condition as mental versus physical simply to avoid paying long-term disability benefits beyond a two-year time frame.

A typical LTD policy may say "A disability caused by or contributed to by a mental nervous disorder will not be payable beyond a maximum duration of 24 months." Patients suffering from fibromyalgia often have their benefits cut off after 24 months, though many doctors now feel there is a neurological component to fibromyalgia. This can happen when the insurance company labels your fibromyalgia as primarily a mental impairment. This will make for many future disputes in court over whether fibromyalgia is a mental or physical condition.

If you are applying for LTD for a physical condition, this is why it can be extraordinarily important to have an experienced long-term disability lawyer "on board" with you. An LTD lawyer can do several things to put your claim in a better position. The lawyer will review your policy before you file a claim to gain a deeper understanding of your plan's definition of disability, so the plan's requirements for approval have a stronger chance of being met, and so you can avoid running into a two-year limit on mental impairments if possible. For instance, some policies don't specify whether an illness with mental symptoms but caused by a physical condition is subject to the limitation, and a long-term disability lawyer can exploit this ambiguity in the policy to help reinstate your benefits.

Sometimes just the involvement of an attorney who specializes in long-term disability may give your insurer the necessary incentive to review the claim properly and not wrongfully terminate your LTD benefits early.

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