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Mental Health, Bipolar 1 & Long Term Disability Denials

Mental Health, Bipolar 1 & Long Term Disability Denials

In our experience, when Long Term Disability (LTD) insurance companies evaluate mental health cases, such as Bipolar 1, they typically attempt to redefine the illness and ignore their own definition of disability under the disability insurance policy.

Nearly all long-term disability (LTD) policies cover mental health conditions that prevent work. With Bipolar 1 claims, the insurance company  frequently concludes that the disabled employee must be suicidal, homicidal or in immediate need of hospitalization for them to receive thier disability benefit. Bipolar Type 1 is the most severe form of bipolar. It is also referred to as manic-depressive illness, with serious and damaging episodes of both mania and depression. Symptoms are severe enough to disrupt one’s ability to work and socialize and can result in behavior with substantial negative consequences. Insurance company assessments like these are harmful because they are attempting to redefine the illness and ignore the definition of disability under the policy.

People with bipolar disorder go through unusual mood changes. Sometimes they feel very happy and “up,” they are much more energetic, they may talk fast, have trouble sleeping, or engage in risky activities such as spend a lot of money or have reckless sex.  This is called a manic episode. Other times people with bipolar disorder may feel very sad and “down,” have low energy, may sleep too much or too little, have trouble concentrating, or even have thoughts of death or suicide. This is a depressive episode. Bipolar symptoms are so strong that they can damage relationships and make it hard to go to school or keep a job. See the National Institute of Mental  Health (NIMH) for more information

Now imagine you are a Retail Manager in a department store. Your occupation is skilled, involves interaction with the public as well as employees, and requires the constant and steady application of work rules and company policy.

It is obvious that the Retail Manager could not complete their occupational duties because of uncontrollable emotional/behavioral variance. However, many insurers would find that this Retail Manager is not disabled from work because they are not homicidal, suicidal or in need of immediate hospitalization. By promoting the idea that being homicidal is necessary for disability, the insurer engages in a bait and switch analysis that avoids the terms and conditions of the policy.

Note: Most LTD policies only insure mental health claims for 24 months.

If you have been denied LTD benefits because of a serious mental health problem, call Call (877)-428-9806 today for an evaluation of your claim. We’ll be happy to discuss your questions and concerns.

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