Invisible disabilities are conditions that cannot be diagnosed with objective testing such as medical imaging, blood test, or a physical examination. Examples of invisible disabilities include, but are not limited to chronic pain, depression, anxiety, fibromyalgia, Crohn's disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and some back injuries. Invisible disabilities are often used by insurance companies to deny disability claims, as these conditions are difficult to quantify and hard to pin down. Anxiety is defined as a condition that is characterized by persistent feelings of apprehension, tension, or uneasiness. For individuals who experience these symptoms to the point of disability, these feelings are not simple nervousness, but are overwhelming feelings of alarm and terror that can be provoked by daily events and situations.
There are five major types of anxiety disorders that are diagnosed:
Generalized Anxiety Disorder: a constant state of tension and worry not related to any particular event or situation (this condition must last at least six months)
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD): repetitive or ritualistic behaviour performed to reduce or control symptoms such as recurrent thoughts or impulses
Panic Disorder: repeated attacks of anxiety or terror that last up to ten minutes and have no identifiable cause
Phobias: overwhelming, irrational, and involuntary fears of common situations, things, places, or events
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): severe stress symptoms lasting more than a month caused by being a part of or witnessing a traumatic event
Is Anxiety a Long Term Disability?
Because anxiety is an invisible disability, it can be difficult to claim benefits on the basis of an anxiety disorder diagnosis. This is because the medical evidence supporting the diagnosis can be seen as subjective and based on hard-to-document criteria that is reported to the doctor by the patient, rather than objective medical proof.
But this stigma is changing. According to the Mental Health Commission of Canada, mental illness is a problem that affects one in five Canadians and costs the Canadian economy $50 billion in lost productivity each year. Many believe that this is a symptom of how the work we do has fundamentally changed. The type of work, pace of work, and the nature of the work we do today has shifted from physical to mental, and with this shift comes a shift in the typical types of illnesses that we see come out of the workplace. Many people with these invisible disabilities struggle with the choice to apply for long term disability insurance or make a claim. While the choice is ultimately yours, making a claim against your disability insurance company will give you time to regroup, recharge, and get the help you need.
Many people who apply for long term disability benefits when struggling with symptoms of anxiety are denied right away. It is important to have the support of long term disability lawyers who can fight back on your behalf. Despite what the insurance company says, your symptoms are likely bad enough to keep you from working to the best of your ability. That is the reason that long term disability benefits exist, and our disability claim lawyers can put pressure on the insurance company to approve the claim that you deserve.
Stress & Anxiety about Filing a Claim or Applying for Disability Benefits
The stress or anxiety caused by worrying about whether or not to apply for long term disability benefits will only exacerbate the problem, and will only serve to increase your symptoms. After all, being on long term disability leave is about making a plan to get better, relieving or eliminating symptoms, and trying to fulfil that plan to the best of your ability.
Another large stressor to your anxiety could be the fear of accessing your benefits, making your condition known, or applying for long term disability for fear of being judged. Some people still think that there is a difference between breaking a leg and dealing with a mental illness. However, they are two examples of an overall issue that prevents us from working and living as we normally would.
If you have had your claim for long term disability denied, contact the long term disability insurance lawyers at Share Lawyers. Our 35+ years of experience in long term disability (LTD) law can help you win your case against Canada Life, Desjardins, Manulife, RBC Insurance, Sun Life, and other insurance companies. We offer free consultations and there are no fees unless you win your case. Join us on Facebook and become a Top Fan for a chance to win each month.