We do not handle Social Security Disability (SSDI) claims.

Will my long-term disability insurance cover mental health?

Shawn E. McDermott

The importance of good mental health has become a hot topic in recent years. Many employers and schools are now approaching mental health in the same way they do physical health. But are insurance companies doing the same, especially when it comes to claiming disability?

What is covered?

Many disability insurance policies that are provided by an employer or group plan do not cover mental and nervous disorders. Therefore, professionals who want to protect their income in the case that they have mental health issues might opt to shop around for their own policy.

Policies that do include long-term disability coverage for mental illness may be more expensive, and a limitation rider may govern it. This rider may limit the benefit period for mental, nervous and substance abuse disorders to 24 months. However, a few insurance companies may offer an unlimited benefit period based on your health history.

With unlimited coverage, you are covered for mental and substance abuse disorders in the long run – the same way you’re covered for physical illnesses and injuries. It’s important to note that most long-term policies specify a maximum amount of money or period of time to receive benefits. These limitations still apply.

How common is mental health disability leave?

Mental health disorders are the fourth-leading cause of both long-term and short-term disability. The most frequent mental disorders that cause people to claim short-term disability (STD), which usually lasts up to six months, include:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Substance addiction

Mental health disorders that commonly result in long-term disability (LTD), which lasts six months to several years, include:

  • Schizophrenia
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Dementia
  • Obsessive compulsive disorder

Nearly 9% of all LTD claims are from one of these four conditions.

Nobody wants to take extended time off from work due to mental health issues. Still, it’s best to be prepared if that is the case. While not all policies include LTD coverage for mental illness, it’s worth shopping around and exploring the ones that do.

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