Mental and nervous conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder and depression may hinder you from working or going about your daily life. Sadly, some insurance companies may limit coverage or refuse to insure you on the account that it is not an actual disability – which isn’t true. However, depending on the severity of your condition, you may be eligible for full coverage.
Mental illness is a disability
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) lists mental illness as a type of disability because it meets the criteria for disability, that is, limiting people from completing daily tasks or working. As such, you are entitled to reasonable accommodations in the workplace and other public spaces, as well as coverage by insurance companies.
New Jersey laws regarding mental illness and disability insurance
The state of New Jersey has laws in place to protect those with mental illness. For instance, the 2008 Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act requires insurance companies to provide the same level of coverage for mental health illnesses as they do for physical disorders. This means that your insurance company can’t limit your coverage or charge you higher premiums because of your mental illness.
Common mental illnesses that may be covered under disability insurance include:
• Anxiety disorders
• Bipolar disorder
• Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Filing a claim in New Jersey
If you need to file a disability insurance claim due to mental illness, you will need to provide your insurance company with:
• A letter from your treating physician outlining your diagnosis, symptoms and how they affect your ability to work.
• Copies of medical records, including any hospitalization records.
• Documentation of any treatments you have received, such as medication prescriptions or therapy notes.
• A work diary documenting days when your mental illness symptoms prevented you from working.
Keep in mind that every insurance company is different, so it’s best to check with your specific provider to see what documentation they require. Also, it’s important to stick to your company’s application time limit.
If your claim, unfortunately, gets denied, you have the right to appeal, just as with all the other physical disability cases. You can do this by requesting a reconsideration (of course, with additional evidence) or even suing your insurer if you feel like they are treating you unfairly.