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Generalized anxiety disorder: Grounds for long-term disability?

On Behalf of | Jun 8, 2020 | Long Term Disability Claim Denial

Most people experience anxiety at some point during their lives. Stressors like divorce, financial strain or even an important work presentation can all trigger temporary anxiety.

When it becomes a chronic condition, however, it can have a big impact on your day-to-day life and overall health. Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is a serious mental health disorder characterized by all-consuming worry, fear and stress. It’s surprisingly common. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, GAD afflicts nearly 7 million adults in America, with women twice as likely to have it than men.

While excessive worry is the chief symptom, it also can cause physical symptoms ranging from insomnia and tension headaches to nausea, gastrointestinal troubles, fatigue, heart palpitations and panic attacks.

When GAD interferes with your work, can you claim long-term disability (LTD) benefits through your employer-provided insurance? The short answer is maybe.

Overcoming hurdles

As with other mental health conditions, GAD poses challenges when it comes to getting LTD benefits. These claims are more likely to get denied. Unlike physical injuries – which may be outwardly visible and, in many cases, easily seen on X-rays or other diagnostic imaging – mental health conditions aren’t so obvious.

They also impact people differently. While some GAD sufferers may find treatments that make their condition manageable, others might not respond to treatment so well, or they may have a more severe form.

Documentation is key

It’s incredibly important to present a detailed picture of how GAD affects you – and, specifically, how it interferes with your ability to work.

As an example, that might mean including documentation from your physician or psychiatrist explaining:

  • How your condition impacts you physically
  • What limitations and restrictions are recommended
  • How long your symptoms are expected to last
  • Any treatments you have tried and whether they were successful
  • Any additional health conditions that may worsen your GAD or prevent you from taking medications

Don’t let potential difficulties deter you from seeking benefits. Many people suffering from GAD are able to secure the benefits they need to get through tough times. Even if your initial claim was denied, consider working with an attorney to help turn your case around.