The challenges of COVID-19 are not limited to contracting the virus and becoming ill. Many people are experiencing extreme stress and even trauma as a result of the pandemic – including first responders, medical personnel, those at greater risk due to advanced age or underlying medical conditions, survivors, and family members of those who have become ill or passed away from COVID-19. For some, this may lead to developing posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
InStyle reports that both people facing COVID-19 directly in their lives and those quarantining at home are “all susceptible to long-term mental health issues like PTSD” because of the “unavoidable weights to bear” from the virus.
PTSD can prevent the ability to work
PTSD is a psychiatric disorder that can become disabling and interfere with a person’s daily functioning and ability to work. If a person with disabling PTSD has a group or private short- or long-term disability insurance policy, they may qualify for benefits depending on their policy terms. Each policy is different, so it is recommended that you seek legal advice to understand your rights and obligations under your policy and the law.
The American Psychiatric Association explains that PTSD is a response to a traumatic or violent event – either directly or indirectly. The illness can cause a variety of symptoms, including potentially:
- Disturbing, intrusive thoughts, including flashbacks
- Trouble with concentration and memory
- Sleep disturbance, including nightmares
- Detachment from others
- Loss of interest in activities
- Extreme reactions to ordinary stimuli like noise or touch
- Negative emotions like grief, anger, fear, guilt or shame
- Distorted, extreme perceptions of self or others
- Avoiding people, places or other things that are reminders of trauma
- Risky behavior
- And others
Filing for Disability Insurance Benefits Due to COVID-19 Related PTSD
Insurance companies often target mental health conditions and apply heightened scrutiny to such claims. Very often, insurance companies will deny PTSD claims, asserting that the claimant’s complaints are subjective and thus, there is not sufficient objective evidence of the claimant’s disability. However, many policies do not require objective proof. This is especially true for conditions such as PTSD, which cannot be objectively measured.
Providing sufficient information to prove your claim is essential. Our team at Disability Insurance Law Group work closely with our clients’ treatment providers to make sure that they clearly document their direct observations of our clients’ symptoms and limitations. In certain cases, we have our clients undergo neuropsychological testing, which can be helpful in establishing the severity of their symptoms. Personal statements can also help prove how PTSD impacts a claimant’s ability to function. We work with our clients and their friends and family members to obtain sworn statements to be submitted in support of our clients’ claims.
If you have any questions regarding your disability insurance policy or claim, contact Disability Insurance Law Group for a free consultation.