An anxiety disorder can paralyze your day-to-day function. This condition can completely interfere with your ability to perform your job duties, let alone your personal life and relationships. If you believe that you suffer from an anxiety disorder, it’s important to seek treatment. If already diagnosed with an anxiety disorder that’s limiting your ability to work, you may qualify for long-term disability benefits.
Can You Get a Permanent Disability for Anxiety?
Is anxiety a permanent disability? To get permanent disability benefits for anxiety, you must prove that the medical condition is indeed disabling. This involves getting a diagnosis, gathering the medical evidence to support your disability, and making sure you seek appropriate treatment and care.
There are different types of anxiety disorders, and some of them can be disabling. Understanding the type of anxiety disorder that you have can help you determine if you can get a permanent disability for anxiety. We’ll look at the 5 most common types of anxiety disorders below:
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
This type of anxiety disorder is characterized by extreme and exaggerated feelings of worry, anxiety, and nervousness. In GAD, the feelings are not a result of a phobia, trauma, or any specific trigger. The feelings of anxiety appear with little or nothing to provoke them.
Social Anxiety Disorder
Also known as social phobia, this type of anxiety disorder is characterized by excessive self-consciousness, particularly in social situations. This could manifest in different ways, such as fear of speaking in formal situations or drinking or eating in front of others. Sufferers experience this overwhelming anxiety particularly when they are around other people.
Panic disorders are another common type of anxiety that’s signified by extreme fear accompanied by symptoms like heart palpitations, shortness of breath, dizziness, and chest pain. The episodes are usually intense and occur in unexpected and repeated ways.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
PTSD is another anxiety disorder that often develops due to trauma or a terrifying ordeal that involved grave physical harm or a threat. Common traumas that trigger PTSD include violent personal assaults like rape, military combat, and accidents.
OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder)
This anxiety disorder is a combination of both recurrent & unwanted thoughts (obsessions) as well as repetitive behaviours (compulsions). The compulsions or so-called rituals that sufferers perform to prevent the obsessive thoughts or make them go away only provide temporary relief. People suffering from OCD become even more anxious when they don’t perform those repetitive behaviours or compulsions.
Why Disability Claims for Anxiety Disorder are Often Denied and How to Increase Your Chances of Approval
Your claim for anxiety disorder may still be denied even if you have received a valid diagnosis from your family doctor. A common reason for refusal is when the applicant has not sought appropriate medical intervention to address the particular issue that’s affecting their day-to-day function, especially at work. In most cases, you will be required to see a therapist or psychiatrist at least once a month. If you do not attend those sessions, this could hinder your disability claim. If there are reasons for your insurer to believe that you are not seeking treatment as recommended to get better, your claim may be denied.
Additionally, you need to have a confirmed diagnosis for your disability claim to be successful. Seeking regular medical attention for your anxiety will not only help you to get back to being healthy again but will also prove the symptoms and severity of your condition. Your doctor can help provide the required documentation to show that the condition has significantly and consistently impaired your ability to continue working. Document your treatment plan, as this will also help to support your diagnosis.
Can You go on Long-term Disability for Anxiety?
To understand how anxiety disorder can be classified as a disability, we need to look at some of the common disabling symptoms of this condition. Those suffering from anxiety experience both cognitive/emotional and physical symptoms that can significantly limit their ability to work. Even though anxiety disorder is a mental illness, it can come with physical symptoms that impact your daily life and ability to work.
The emotional symptoms of anxiety, when present severely and frequently enough, can result in a disability. They include:
- Intense worry and nervousness
- Racing thoughts that make it difficult to focus
- Feelings of doom and fear
- Excessive apprehension
On the other hand, anxiety disorders can also result in disabling physical symptoms such as:
- Disrupted sleep patterns
- Shortness of breath
- High heart rate
- Stomach upset
- Loss of appetite
- Panic attacks
- Loss of appetite
- Gastrointestinal issues
The physical symptoms can contribute to disability if severe and frequent.
If you’re suffering from any of the symptoms above and have already been denied benefits, our long-term disability lawyer can help you prepare your application and get your claim approved.
How Much Disability Can You Get for Depression and Anxiety in Canada?
It’s important to review your long-term disability policy to determine if there are any special considerations or limitations for mental illness. There are insurers who have included a mental illness limitation on their client’s policy which will typically limit the benefits you receive to a maximum of two years if you are diagnosed with disabling anxiety symptoms. Since each insurance policy is different, the maximum period stipulated by your insurer may vary. Some provide a shorter period depending on the other terms of the policy.
To get an accurate picture of whether your insurer considers anxiety disorder for permanent disability, you’ll need to review the specific terms of your policy. Unfortunately, the severity of your anxiety disorder will become key after this maximum allowable period expires.
Anxiety disorder is a serious condition that can result in disability. It’s important to get legal help to access all the documents required to substantiate your claim, as this will significantly impact your chances of approval. Seek appropriate treatment to support your long-term disability claim. You must also provide sufficient evidence and proof of appropriate treatment. Don’t assume that the insurance company will understand your symptoms and how they are preventing you from performing your duties. You have to explain it in your application.
What if Your Long-term Disability Claim for Anxiety is Denied?
Unfortunately, only 44% of first-time long-term disability claims end up approved. This means that there’s a high chance of your claim for disability ending up denied in the face of intense anxiety that is preventing you from earning a living. If your insurance company has denied you permanent disability for anxiety disorder, don’t give up. You can get the help of an experienced team of disability lawyers in Canada.
How Our Law Firm Can Help
At our law firm, we have dealt with insurance adjusters for many years, and we understand their internal processes. We have been fighting for clients suffering from all types of anxiety by making sure they access the benefits they are entitled to. We will walk with you throughout the claims process, from interpreting your policy to compiling evidence and gathering witness statements. Our goal is to ensure you get the benefits that you deserve.