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Depression: often a target for insurers’ blowback

by | May 6, 2020 | Long Term Disability Claim Denial

Depression is often a long-term and debilitating condition of life-altering proportions.

As such, it is far from a trivial challenge for the legions of individuals across the country suffering from depression. We note on our website at the disability law office of ERISA Law Center, depression “is more than just feeling sad once in a while.” The Mayo Clinic stresses that people dealing with depression are inflicted with “more than just a bout of the blues.”

Some essential points to note concerning depression

It is common for an employer or insurance company to underplay the magnitude of depression and fight back against a claim for long term disability benefits.  They often do so using arguments that the claimant’s issues are based on mental health problems that preclude long-term disability coverage. Insurance company’s often claim that a lack of physical manifestations correlates to a lack of disability.

Reviewing physicians routinely assert that claimants diagnosed with depression and receiving LTD benefits are somehow gaming the system. They similarly claim that people suffering from depression are not disabled by depression and opine that the claimant’s receipt of long term disability benefits are not supported by the records in the file and therefore there should be no limitations on them working.

Depressive disorder and clinical depression symptoms

Conditions surrounding depression are many and varied and, as the Mayo Clinic notes, “may require long-term treatment.” They include these symptoms:

  • Emotional disassociation (e.g., loss of interest, sadness, anger or hopelessness)
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Pronounced fatigue
  • Diminished mental acuity
  • Linked physical ailments
  • Negative thoughts (including a focus on death and/or suicide)

It is obviously hard enough for any individual suffering with depression to manage any of those or additional symptoms. That challenge is compounded when an insurer seeks to terminate disability benefits, alleging recovery and an ability to return to work.

The rights of disabled employees in the private sector are governed under the federal Employee Retirement Income Security Act. A proven ERISA legal team can help to safeguard those rights and fully promote the interests of an individual being challenged in a disability matter.