Selecting A Houston Long Term Disability Attorney After Receiving A Claim Denial

Dealing with the rules of the long-term disability process can be confusing, at best, and downright frustrating, at worst. At a time when you likely need to rest and take care of yourself, you may find yourself facing a denial of coverage and knee-deep in paperwork, some of which you may not understand completely.

Disappointed man in wheelchair with arm on wheel after a claim denial.

But a denial isn’t the end of everything. Your letter should detail the reason your claim was denied, and how to go about filing an appeal. Pay close attention to the part about appeals—you have a very limited time in which to file that appeal. Once that deadline is passed, you’ll lose your right to appeal, and you may not be able to file again.

This is when you need help. An appeal is the time to select a long term disability attorney.

The Appeals Process

From the day you receive your denial letter, you will have a specific period of time to file an appeal. This period is usually 180 days, but it may not be—read your letter carefully. Once that deadline passes, your claim will be over.

During the appeal period, you will have the opportunity to gather additional evidence to support your claim. This can include medical records, test results, letters from a treating physician, functional capacity evaluation and vocational expert reports, and other relevant information. Your attorney can help you through the appeals process, and advise you on what information to obtain in order to go forward.

What’s In Your Insurance File?

The only way to find out is to request copies of your insurance file and find out for yourself. The insurer won’t hand it over unless you ask them to.

Once you see what’s there, you’ll be able to offer additional evidence and documentation to not only support your claim, but correct any factual mistakes that may negatively impact your claim. Your attorney can advise you on what kind of information you’ll need to add to the file in order to support your claim.

Getting An Attorney Who Knows And Understands Disability Law

When you’re dealing with a disability and with an insurance company, you’re already under a large amount of stress. Many companies are known to deny benefits to people who need them without explanation. Without help, you run a higher risk of making a mistake that could see your appeal denied as well. Don’t take that chance.

You need an attorney, but not just any one will do. Just like finding a physician who can help you with a specific medical issue, you’ll need to find an attorney who understands how the disability application and appeals process works.

Remember: the insurance company already has a team of lawyers to defend itself against paying claims, and especially against any lawsuits. Hiring your own will level the playing field and increase your chances of winning on appeal. Besides—claims appeals are probably not your forte. But an attorney who works with disability law understands all the ins and outs of applications and appeals, and does it every day. Shouldn’t you have that kind of help on your side?

Long Term Disability Appeal? Call Herren Law For Help!

If you’ve been denied long term disability benefits, don’t try to handle your appeal on your own—get help today. The Herren Law Firm can help you with your application, appeals and help you through the process, and give you one less thing to worry about. Contact us today at 713-682-8194 (or use our online contact form) to schedule your free consultation. There’s no obligation, and no up-front fees.  We only collect if we win your case.

Overview of Long Term Disability Policy Age Limits

The average length of a disability that keeps people from working is about three years, and depends on the type of disability they have and their age. As recoveries go, a person in their mid-twenties usually recovers from a disabling illness or injury faster than a person in their mid-fifties or sixties. But depending on the type of policy you have, long-term disability (LTD) may last six months, a year, or longer. Will it last long enough?

houston disability lawyer

What Type Of Policy Do You Have?

There are two types of policy coverages.

  • Your policy may cover you for “any occupation,” meaning that you’re covered as long as you can’t work any job doing anything, whether or not it’s related to your current job and/or vocation, for the same or less money.
  • Your policy covers you for “own occupation,” meaning that you’re covered as long as you can’t perform your current occupation. Whether you can perform another occupation for which you’re qualified isn’t a determining factor.

Some policies combine the two, with “own occupation” for the first two years, and “any occupation” after that. Other policies offer a cost of living increase as an optional benefit that may cost more.

How Long Do LTD Benefits Last?

Most group LTD policies last until age 65, or until your actual retirement age. The presumption is that once you’re retired, you no longer need the income from your employment.

Most people assume they will retire at 65, but SSA has changed retirement ages for different individuals. Currently, individuals born in 1955 or later can retire at age 66 and 2 months. If you were born after 1960, your retirement age is 67.

Look for LTD benefits to end, with some exceptions, at your time and age of retirement.

Benefits Beyond 65

Purchasing a long-term disability policy with a benefit period longer than five years is more expensive, but comes with an additional benefit. You can choose a “lifetime” benefit period that will pay you as long as your disabled, even after retirement age, as long as you were disabled before the age of 60. This will be especially helpful if your disability is expected to last for many years, or is considered permanent.

These kinds of policies tend to be much more expensive, and could be harder to find. If you’re unable to get one, at least purchase a policy that will pay you until your legal retirement age. With an employer’s policy, your status will automatically change to “retired” once you reach that retirement age bracket.

Most LTD policies pay 60% to 70% of your regular salary and none will pay 100%. Different policies have different exclusions and restrictions.

Some policies have “level premiums,” which stay the same for the life of the policy. This is useful

Additional information, and a checklist for buying a policy, is available at the Consumer Federation of America’s website.

Houston Disability Lawyer Can Help With Your LTD Claims

Our Houston disability lawyer William Herren is experienced in handling all types of disability applications and claims including LTD claims, and our law office has helped more than 4,000 Houstonians, too. Call The Herren Law Firm today at 713-682-8194 (or use our online contact form) to schedule your free consultation with one of our disability attorneys. There’s no obligation. There are no up-front charges, because we’ll take your case on a contingency fee basis. You only owe us a fee when we win your case.

 

Long Term Disability Exclusions To Watch For In Houston, TX Insurance Policies

Applying for long term disability to protect you when you’re not working is a long, difficult process. After the doctor visits, test results and treatment plans, you’ll wait for a decision, sometimes for a while. You may also receive a denial letter, based on your condition.

Long Term Disability Exclusions Houston Texas

Exclusions,” as they are called, are one of the many intricacies of long term disability policies—the things the policy and/or carrier doesn’t cover. The first step is to review your policy and find the Long Term Disability exclusions so you’ll have a better understanding. Here we’ll discuss the different types of exclusions.

What A Policy Won’t Cover

The most common LTD exclusions include:

  • Car accidents when you are driving under the influence
  • Self-inflicted injuries, whether sane or insane
  • Normal pregnancy
  • Suicide attempts

Some policies may also exclude:

  • Injuries caused by aircraft (exception: passengers on regularly scheduled flights)
  • Injuries on the job (these are covered by worker’s compensation)
  • Criminal actions you commit (or attempt to)
  • Civil disobedience actions, including riots, rebellions and insurrection
  • Other intentional acts that cause disability.

Some insurance policies also have a 2-year limitation on disabilities partly caused by substance abuse.

Pre-Existing Conditions

These are conditions that are currently diagnosed and you are currently being treated for when acquiring your policy. A pre-existing condition will require you to wait a designated period of time before you can be covered for it.

If you have a pre-existing condition, there are two periods: a “lookback period,” which can be anywhere from 90 days to as long as a year, and a “waiting period” before you can be covered.

Your insurance company will look back through your medical records for that period to see if you’ve been tested, treated, or otherwise knew that you had the condition.

Once that’s established, you’ll have a period where you must be covered before that condition can be covered. With some conditions, it could be as long as one to two years.

Getting LTD With A Pre-Existing Condition

You can, of course, get long-term disability with the pre-existing condition—you just won’t be covered for it. Anything in your medical  records is findable and fair game. Even if you don’t tell them, there’s a good chance they will find out eventually, and will use that as a Long Term Disability exclusion to deny you payments.

Different companies handle them in their own way, and some simply won’t cover you. Coverage will also depend on the severity of the condition, and you will likely pay higher premiums. But insurers also distinguish between recoverable conditions and non-recoverable conditions like cancer.

Mental/Nervous Disorders

One sticking point for a number of policyholders is the limit or exclusion of mental and nervous disorders, such as anxiety, depression, stress, and dementia. While some policies don’t exclude them, many do. Other policies have limits on these disorders, typically for 24 months or less.

However, if your disorder that is the result of a different physical condition or injury, (such as a back injury) there may be no limit or exclusion.

Alcohol/Substance Abuse

While this is classified in the current Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), coverage may only extend for 24 months. Many policies don’t cover alcohol or substance abuse at all, so review your policy for this potential Long Term Disability exclusion.

Houston’s LTD Claims Attorney

Over 4,000 Houstonians have come to us for help with Long Term Disability exclusions, applications, claims, and appeals. With this experience The Herren Law Firm can help you with your LTD legal issues as well. Contact us today at 713-682-8194 (or use our online contact form) to schedule your free consultation with our Houston Long Term Disability attorney. There’s no obligation, no up-front fees, and we only collect if we win your case.

 

How To Increase Your Odds Of Being Awarded Social Security Disability Benefits On Your First Try

Many people are denied when they first apply for Houston Social Security disability benefits. In fact, over 65% are denied on their first application, meaning less than 40% of applicants are approved. So what’s the difference?

Houston Social Security Disability Benefits

The Application Process

Contrary to popular belief, it isn’t SSA’s policy to delay and deny claims the first time around. One of the biggest reasons for an initial denial is an incomplete application form.

You’ll start with the application, and go from there. The Social Security Administration has a printable checklist on its website, along with instructions to complete it. You can download, print, and use this checklist to complete your initial application. If you meet certain conditions, you may be able to complete your application online, without visiting your Social Security office.

Your eligibility assessment is also assessed on your previous work history.

It’s important to have all of the requested information as well as medical information. If you haven’t been under the care of a physician, you may have a more difficult time proving a medical disability. You would need a very good reason, such as not having medical insurance or not being able to afford any, but you still have a very high chance of denial.

Ways To Increase Your Odds Of Approval

  1. File Your Claim Immediately. Getting approved for benefits can be a very long process, and if you wait, your disability insurance may expire. You will have to have worked five of the last ten years to be eligible, and waiting to apply may be too late.
  2. Get Help With Your Application If You Need It. Mistakes and missing information are the main reasons applications are denied. Contact a disability attorney, a family member, or someone from a Social Security field office for help.
  3. Find A Disability Attorney If You Have To Appeal. An attorney who specializes in disability work will know what to do and how to do it, and make sure you’ve done everything correctly by the deadline. More applicants win on appeal with an attorney than without.
  4. Keep Up With Doctor Visits And Medical Treatment. If your disability requires medical treatment, keep up with every appointment, test, prescription and doctor visit. Failing to seek medical treatment for your condition will lead SSA to believe that your condition is not serious enough to warrant disability. SSA believes you should be seen by a “provider” every two months. If you’ve lost your health insurance, using local “free clinics” or other available care may satisfy the requirement. You should also keep up with prescribed medications.
  5. Request An RFC Form From Your Physician. The Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) form is used by examiners to determine your functional ability with your medical condition. These forms are needed to close out a case, and are usually completed by a DDS physician or psychologist. If your treating physician completes it, the claims examiner may use it to create an internal RFC for your case.
  6. Use A Businesslike Demeanor With Everyone You Deal With. In other words, be nice, or it could make your journey a lot more difficult. Caseworkers deal with hundreds of individuals every day in the same situation, and losing your temper or being rude can lead to even more delays in your case. No matter what the situation, be polite and cordial no matter what the situation to maintain good relations and communications.
  7. Contact Your Local SSA Office or Office of Disability Determination Services to check on your case’s status. Don’t make the mistake of calling SSA’s toll-free number, where they don’t have the most current information. Contact the office where you made your application, or the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review if a hearing has been requested.

Why Are More Applicants Approved On Appeal?

It’s a little odd, but true. Administrative hearings may take a year or more to be scheduled. A individual’s disability progresses in that time, increasing his or her inability to work. When appearing in front of an administrative judge, he or she will see you face-to-face and determine disability on sight, rather than on paper. If it’s obvious from seeing you that you’re unable to work, as it is in a hearing, your chances of approval increase as well.

Of the applicants that file an appeal, 60% who hire a disability attorney are approved, compared to the 34% who don’t have legal counsel. A disability attorney who is experienced with Social Security disability claims is familiar with the application and appeals process, and can guide you through it.

Houston Social Security Disability Benefits Attorney

Getting disability is a long process, but we can make it easier. We’ve helped over 4,000 Houstonians win their claims and get the benefits they need. We have the experience to help you with your Social Security application and/or appeals process.  The Herren Law Firm can help you with your application and any necessary appeals. Contact us today at 713-682-8194 to schedule your free consultation. There’s no obligation, and no up-front fees.  We only collect if we win your case.

Hiring a Houston Attorney for Aetna Disability Claims

Hiring an attorney is more than getting legal counsel—it’s about finding an advocate for yourself in a difficult situation. Whether it’s an accident, a divorce, or a disability claim, an attorney works with you to get through the process, protect your interests and your rights.

Aetna Disability Claims attorney Houston

You may have purchased an Aetna policy through your employer; many policyholders do. But most people don’t have the resources to fight a large, multinational company with a team of attorneys on its side without some help of their own. The company may deny your Aetna disability claims outright, hoping you’ll give up and go away. If you’re having trouble with a short-term or long-term disability claim through Aetna, an attorney will make sure that your application and claim are done correctly.

Bad Faith Practices

Despite the advertisements, insurance companies are in business to make money. Paying claims is not conducive to being profitable, so claims adjusters are eager to deny claims. This is known as “bad faith insurance practices.” They can include:

  • Denying valid claims and refusing to explain why
  • Underpaying or delaying a claim
  • Misrepresenting facts or provisions of a policy
  • Refusing settlement for a valid claim

The “Paper Review”

If you’ve received a determination that you are able to go back to work, and your benefits have been terminated, it may be due to a “medical review” by one of Aetna’s doctors. The review is simply an “examination” based on paperwork, and no physical examination by a company doctor. The company uses a “paper review” of a client’s files, and makes a decision about their Aetna disability claim from there.

Because Aetna’s physicians conduct this “paper review,” there is a conflict of interest. This is especially obvious in Mendez v. FedEx Express and Aetna, a case where Aetna blatantly denied a client benefits even after he received SSDI benefits and Aetna began offsetting his Long Term Disability benefits as the policy dictates. At no time did any of the physicians actually meet with the plaintiff in person, and disregarded complaints of severe pain and disablement noted by his own treating physicians. Two physicians decided based on his file that he could work 25 hours a week or more, without consulting with the plaintiff’s own treating physicians. The court found in favor of Mr. Mendez.

This is just one of many cases where Aetna (and companies like them) work to deny your benefits.

How An Aetna Disability Claims Attorney Can Help

If you’ve been scrambling through Aetna’s hoops trying to make sure you meet their deadlines and answer all their questions, only to be denied, you’re already at a disadvantage. You have 180 days to appeal the denial, so the time to contact an attorney is now. If you miss the 180-day deadline, you’ll lose your rights under the claim and may have to re-file. Contact an attorney who works with Aetna disability claims immediately.

How much might this cost? An Aetna disability claims attorney generally receives about 25% of any back pay you receive, up to $6,000. You won’t owe any money until we win your case.

If you didn’t have legal help with your original disability application, don’t leave things to chance. The process can take many months, and in some cases, years. Get started now.

Herren Law Fights Aetna For Your Benefits

Let us help you with your Aetna disability claims appeal and help you get the benefits you deserve. Request a copy of your claim file from Aetna, and bring it with your denial letter to Herren Law to begin your appeal right away.

We’ve worked with Aetna customers before, and are ready to help you with your claim. Call The Herren Law Firm today at 713-682-8194 (or use our online contact form) to schedule your free consultation. There’s no obligation, and we’ll take your case on a contingency fee basis, with no up-front charges.

If I’m Partially Disabled In Houston, TX, Do I Have To Accept Any Job I’m Able To Do To Collect Benefits?

You may have a sense of relief when you finally get your long-term disability benefits. But now that the initial trial is over, there is still the matter of complying with the policy’s rules. One of those rules may be working to keep your benefits.

Disability insurance is intended to protect you from financial risk if you become disabled or sick to the point where you are unable to work. The policy itself contains the definition of “disability”, and whether you qualify depends on what your policy terms as “disabled.” You will have to be “disabled enough” according to the policy’s definition in order to receive benefits. But everything comes down to the type of LTD policy you have.

If I'm Partially Disabled In Houston, TX, Do I Have To Accept Any Job I’m Able To Do To Collect Benefits?

Own Occupation Vs. Any Occupation

There are two basic types of LTD policies:

  • Own Occupation, in which you receive benefits when you are no longer able to work in your current vocation (more expensive)
  • Any Occupation, where you are able to work in a different occupation, but can no longer work in your current vocation (less expensive)

For instance, if you are a firefighter, and are injured on the job, you can no longer work in that occupation. Under an “own occupation” policy, you would receive benefits because you were totally disabled and could no longer perform “material and substantial duties” for that job. It would not matter that you could have a second career that was related to your work as a firefighter.

However, under the “any occupation” policy, the same firefighter who was injured on the job may be able to perform “material and substantial duties” for another occupation, i.e., a “desk job,” and will not be considered “disabled.” Only if the firefighter was unable to work in any occupation would the individual be considered “disabled” enough for the policy. “Any occupation” work may also mean workplace accommodations, which can also be used to deny benefits.

Most courts hold to the standard that if an individual is capable of any kind of work, even part-time, the individual is not truly disabled, and can be gainfully employed in any occupation, not just their own. This means that you would not meet the standard of disability.

Unfortunately, there are no standards for income disparity. This means that if you were working in a profession that paid $100,000 per year before your disability, you might still be able to work at a job that paid $15,000 or less, and therefore not be considered disabled. Under an “any occupation” policy, you would be required to work any job you could get, regardless of the salary.

Many LTD group policies provide benefits under the “own occupation” clause for the first two years of disability. After that, the benefits are under an “any occupation” clause.

Contact Houston’s Premier Disability Law Firm

Not many attorneys understand disability filings and appeals, but we specialize in it. With over 4,000 successful cases, we focus on helping disabled people receive the benefits they need. We’ve handled multiple situations that are similar to yours, and have the experience to help you through the process for a successful outcome.  The Herren Law Firm can help you with your application, appeals and legal action to help you get the disability benefits you need. Contact us today at 713-682-8194 to schedule your free consultation. There’s no obligation and no up-front fees.  We only collect if we win your case.

What Are My Options If My Disability Insurance Policy Denies My Claim In Houston, TX?

After paying your premiums for many years, now you need to use your disability insurance. You’ve done what you needed to do. Saw your doctor, got testing and treatments, filled out all the forms, and did everything they asked. But your claim was still denied. Now what?

What Are My Options If My Disability Insurance Policy Denies My Claim In Houston, TX?

Denial Is Not Final

The denial letter you receive is not the end of your claim, only an obstacle. You have options and can appeal the denial. Review your policy’s documents to understand what your next steps are.

A claim denial can happen for a number of reasons:

  • Inadequate or incomplete medical records
  • Written opinions from your treating physicians (this can be added during an appeal)
  • Incomplete medical testing and/or treatments

Your application should contain as much favorable information as possible for a positive decision. Adding as much as you can in the claim application ensures that if during an appeal, no additional evidence can be added, you have more than enough evidence to begin with.

If your insurer has wrongfully denied you benefits based on an individual disability policy, you (or your family) may be able to recover lost benefits, wages, pain and suffering and other, similar damages.

Bad Faith

Insurance companies are in the business of making money, not paying it out. Disability insurers use a number of notorious tactics they use to prevent the payment of a claim, including:

  • Policy termination without notice
  • Long delays in their review process
  • Mis-classifying injuries in order to deny a claim
  • Hiding benefits from policyholders
  • Excessive requests for documentation
  • Complicated forms with badly defined terms
  • Delaying your claim
  • Changing due dates

The idea is that you will, after the first denial, simply give up your claim and leave them alone, or at least settle for less than you thought you would receive.

Options

If you’ve received a denial letter after applying for the first time, you are entitled to an appeal. This should be described in your denial letter. Pay attention to any dates or time period mentioned in the letter, because if you miss them, your appeal will be dismissed.

You have the right to ask for any and all documentation and expert advice that was used to decide your claim, without charge. You’ll be able to determine what information might have been missed, and hiring an experienced disability law attorney can give you the best chance of winning on appeal. Working with an attorney who understands the application and appeals processes will make sure that your application and any appeals will be completed, giving you the best chance of a successful outcome.

It’s never too early to contact a disability attorney for help. Whether you’ve just become disabled and are wondering about your options, have been denied benefits, are appealing, or just don’t have the stamina to deal with an insurer while you take care of yourself, contact a disability law attorney to help you stand a better chance of winning.

Let Herren Law Increase Your Chances Of A Win

If you’ve become disabled and unable to work, the last thing you need is to worry about how to pay your bills and keep your household going. Call The Herren Law Firm today at 713-682-8194 (or use our online contact form) to schedule your free consultation. There’s no obligation, and we’ll take your case on a contingency fee basis, with no up-front charges. You don’t owe a fee until we win your case.

Is It Worth Hiring A Houston Attorney For Long-Term Disability?

Filing for long-term disability is a long and challenging process. It’s more than filling out a few forms and checking items on a list. Medical evidence, information from your employer and other documents are part of what will win or deny your case. Insurance companies have strict deadlines, and one small mistake can see your entire claim denied.

Is It Worth Hiring A Houston Attorney For Long Term Disability?

They Don’t Want To Pay You

Insurance companies would rather you didn’t realize that even though you’ve paid into their policy, they’re not interested in helping you. Paying claims is not a good business model, so insurers make sure that there are multiple ways to deny your claim. Short deadlines, excessive or duplicate paperwork, delaying claims or payments or giving lower payments than indicated in the policy are all ways insurers stall. Legitimate claims for disability are increasingly denied for the slightest reason. Knowing that most people don’t have the means to fight back, these “bad faith” practices continue with little pushback.

ERISA

The Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 was enacted to protect employees, but ends up protecting insurance companies. Instead of protecting you, ERISA gives insurance companies greater freedom to deny your claim. Although the Department of Labor says that it “protects retirement savings from mismanagement and abuse,” insurers are free from many state-level restrictions on bad-faith insurance practices. Insurers are then are free to decide who is approved for LTD benefits, and who isn’t.

The deck is actually stacked against you as an applicant, and it’s up to you to be able to make sure your claim is completely correct. This is where an attorney can help make sure your application is not only correct, but more than sufficient to prove your claim and make it harder to deny.

If you decide to handle your ERISA appeal without an attorney, you’ll more than likely be denied, and you could lose any additional opportunities to appeal or file a suit. You may only have one chance at an appeal.

Hiring An LTD Attorney

Of course, you want to find an attorney in Houston who has experience with both LTD claims and with ERISA appeals. He or she will understand the process and know exactly how to follow the rules.

If you hire an attorney at the beginning of your application process, he or she knows that ample evidence in your administrative claim will help meet and exceed the insurer’s requirements. If you just fill out the paperwork on your own, and depend on the insurer to find all the evidence it needs, there’s a strong chance your claim will be denied because of insufficient information, or even a mistake.

Once a decision has been made, no new evidence is allowed. An experienced LTD attorney will know exactly what to add to the claim to increase your chances of approval. Should your claim be denied, having an attorney will increase your chance of winning an appeal, and you’ll have a good stack of evidence available to better prove your claim.

Your Houston LTD Disability Attorney

ERISA claims are a complex area of the law, and there aren’t many attorneys in Houston—or Texas—that handle it. The Herren Law Firm can help you with your application as well as any appeals to help you get the long-term disability benefits you need to take care of yourself. Contact us today at 713-682-8194 to schedule your free consultation. There’s no obligation and no up-front fees.  We only collect if we win your case.

Can You Get Long Term Disability for PTSD in Houston, TX?

Long-term disability can be a difficult journey, from an illness that keeps you from working to the extensive medical appointments and paperwork involved before you start receiving benefit payments. But if that disability is PTSD, it can be even more difficult.

Can You Get Long Term Disability for PTSD in Houston, TX?

What is PTSD?

PTSD, or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, is a condition seen in individuals who have witnessed or lived through a traumatic event. It’s a type of anxiety disorder that’s triggered by a traumatic event.

While PTSD is commonly associated with combat veterans who have spent time in war zones, PTSD can also occur in civilians. Natural disasters (like last year’s Hurricane Harvey), becoming a crime victim, receiving a diagnosis for a serious medical condition, car crashes, domestic violence, and other unexpected traumas can give someone this disorder.

Post-traumatic stress is commonly grouped into three types:

  • Intrusive memories—i.e., “flashbacks,” re-living the event or having recurrent nightmares
  • Avoidance/numbing—or avoiding thinking about it, as well as hopelessness, memory and concentration problems, difficulty with close relationships and no longer enjoying previous activities
  • Hyperarousal (or increased anxiety or emotional arousal), increased irritability or anger, shame or guilt, insomnia, self-destructive behavior (alcoholism, drug use, etc.) and being easily startled.

PTSD can cause problems in your job, your relationships, your marriage, as well as everyday activities. It also put you at risk for additional mental conditions, such as depression, eating disorders, suicidal thoughts, and other anxieties. The side effects of PTSD have also been shown to be linked to physical illnesses such as cardiovascular disease, autoimmune diseases, and chronic pain.

Treatments for PTSD can include various forms of psychotherapy, and psychiatric medications, short-term or long-term.

Policy Limits On Mental Illness

Because it isn’t something that can be detected with an X-ray or a blood test, insurance companies have additional restrictions on claims for mental conditions. The first step is to review your LTD policy, find out what they do cover, and see if there is a specific exclusion for PTSD or other mental illnesses.

Many LTD policies put a two-year limit on claims for mental illnesses, so it’s important to know what you need and what you can get before you start your application.

Review your policy to find out exactly what requirements you need to meet to file your claim. If your PTSD is the result of another medical condition, such as injuries after an accident or a disease diagnosis, you may be able to qualify.  In order to do that, you’ll need to collect enough evidence to prove that your physical condition that caused PTSD could render you disabled on its own. This is where an attorney can guide you through the process and increase your chances of proving your claim and having it accepted.

Your Houston LTD Disability Attorney

PTSD is a particularly difficult illness, but applying for LTD can make things even worse. We can help you through the long process of getting long-term disability benefits.

Over 4,000 Houstonians have received the LTD benefits they need, and we can help you too. The Herren Law Firm can help you with your application, appeals and help you through the process so you can begin healing. Contact us today at 713-682-8194 to schedule your free consultation. There’s no obligation and no up-front fees.  We only collect if we win your case.

 

Is Depression A Long Term Disability?

Depression as a disability can be a difficult thing to pin down.

It can be “case of the blues” for two weeks, or something that prevents you from walking outside of your front door for a while. If you’re suffering from a depression that is more than just “a case of the blues,” you may be unable to do your job, or even live a regular life.

Is Depression A Long Term Disability?

Different Types Of Depression

Nearly everyone has felt depressed once or twice in their life or at least knows someone who has. Many cases are short-term and resolve without any intervention.

So-called “situational depression” happens after a sudden, unexpected life change that impacts the individual. These changes can include:

  • Loss of a loved one (partner, spouse, etc.)
  • Loss of employment (layoff, firing, loss of clientele, business closing)
  • Serious illness or injury
  • Any kind of accident

When the situation has been righted, (i.e., the unemployed individual finds a new job) or enough time passes, this depression eventually resolves in most people.

But serious, debilitating clinical depression is an entirely different matter. Some of these symptoms as possible indicators are:

  • Trouble concentrating, remembering details, and making decisions
  • Fatigue
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, and helplessness
  • Pessimism and hopelessness
  • Insomnia, early-morning wakefulness, or sleeping too much
  • Irritability
  • Restlessness
  • Loss of interest in things once pleasurable, including sex
  • Overeating, or appetite loss
  • Aches, pains, headaches, or cramps that won’t go away
  • Digestive problems that don’t get better, even with treatment
  • Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” feelings
  • Suicidal thoughts or attempts

When mental symptoms turn into physical symptoms, it’s time to seek out medical help. There isn’t a blood or lab test to detect depression; the diagnosis usually comes from the patient’s discussion with his or her physician. A doctor may conduct some testing to determine if it is caused by a medical condition or a medication.

Once diagnosed, suggested treatments may include psychotherapy and medications to manage the condition. In some circumstances, these treatments may be nominally effective, or even ineffective. Depression then may turn into a disability.

Is It A Long-Term Disability?

Depression that doesn’t resolve on its own, or with treatment, may be considered a “disability,” but there are a number of caveats that go with it. Getting approved for long-term disability may take some time, and be more difficult than SSDI (Social Security Disability Insurance) if depression is stopping you from working.

Many long-term disability policies don’t allow mental illness as a disability, or put a two-year limitation on them (if your claim is only for depression.)  Because they’re more difficult, you’ll need to prove your condition according to your policy’s disability definition. In other words, you’ll need proof that your disability is so serious and acute that it prevents you from working and inhibits your life in general. Review your policy to find out exactly what it says on the subject so you can gather up the proper paperwork and evidence.

You’ll also need to seek proper care for your depression, and have it documented (i.e., medical records.) If your depression is a result of another underlying medical issue (i.e., injury, chronic pain) you may be able to receive benefits without the two-year limitation. Additional medical evidence that your physical disability alone prevents you from working may be sufficient to secure long-term disability.

Denied? Appeal Your Decision

Anytime you apply for long-term disability, it can be a long process, and your claim may be denied outright. If your depression is holding you back, and making work difficult or impossible, you need time to heal. An attorney skilled in disability cases can work with you to file your long-term disability as well as handle any appeals. It may take time, but you can get help for depression.

Helping You Get Help

If your depression is keeping you from working and living your life, you need help on the way to getting better. The Herren Law Firm can help you with your application, appeals and help you get the long-term disability benefits you need so you can treat your depression and get on with your life. Contact us today at 713-682-8194 to schedule your free consultation. There’s no obligation, and no up-front fees.  We only collect if we win your case.