Depression is an extremely serious medical condition that can have a significant impact on someone’s life. Symptoms of major depression include feelings of hopelessness and helplessness, decreased energy and motivation, changes in sleeping patterns, feelings of worthlessness or guilt, difficulty concentrating, and thoughts of suicide.
If you live with major depression, you know how it’s often difficult to perform simple daily tasks or to enjoy activities you once found pleasurable. More importantly, you know that it can interfere with your ability to work. There’s no doubt that symptoms such as sadness, difficulty concentrating, fatigue, and lack of interest in activities can all make it extremely challenging for you to focus on your job and do your tasks. Not only that, depression can make social situations and interactions with your co-workers really hard to deal with, which can lead to further problems in your workplace. It is not surprising, then, that some people who live with major depression need to stop working entirely and collect long-term disability benefits.
Unfortunately, because depression is an invisible illness, many disability claims adjusters have trouble understanding the depth and seriousness of someone’s depression. This means that many disability claims for cases of depression are unfortunately denied. And people who are suffering are left in a state of financial crisis, unable to pay their bills or support themselves.
You Don’t Have to go through the Disability Appeals Process. You have the right to hire your own Disability Lawyer for free to fight for you. Don’t do this alone.
Remember, if you have been denied your long-term disability benefits you have the right to your own long-term disability lawyer. Lalande Disability Lawyers have been representing disability claimants for decades and have the experience you need to help overturn your disability benefit denial. Call us today at 1-844-434-7224 for your FREE CONSULTATION or alternatively, send us a message through our website and we will be happy to get right back to you and schedule your FREE CONSULTATION and explain your legal rights to you, and what remedy you may be entitled to. Remember – if we work together, we will NEVER ask for money upfront, under any circumstances. Our depression disability lawyers only get paid – if you get paid.
Your disability insurance company may try to convince you to appeal your denied disability claim through their internal systems, but many claimants will discover that this process is ineffective and a waste of valuable time that simply delays your benefit payment. This is just appealing your depression disability claim with the same insurance company that denied you in the first place. Instead of appealing your depression disability denial, call our long-term disability lawyers to get the FREE information you need to make a better and more informed decision about how to handle your long-term disability benefits denial for depression.
Many risk factors can contribute to depression, including genetics, trauma related to life experiences, and certain medical conditions. Additionally, depression can be triggered by a combination of several factors such as depression in the family, physical illnesses, and social problems:
Genetic predisposition: You are more likely to suffer from depression if you have a family member who has depression, especially if they are a close relative, such as a parent or sibling. It’s suspected that there is a 40-50% chance of inheriting depression even if just one of your parents has depression.
Chronic illnesses: If you suffer from a chronic illness like coronary heart disease, Parkinson’s disease, cancer or have had a heart attack or stroke, you have a 25-33% higher chance of developing depression than the general public. Living like this, with both a serious chronic illness and a challenging mental illness, can be extremely difficult.
Environmental factors: Your environment, including your home, work, and social life, can contribute to depression. It is not just your current environment, but also your experiences growing up that can have a huge impact on your mental health. This can include being raised in an abusive environment as a child, lacking emotional support as a child, or being bullied. For adults, depression can be caused by stresses at the workplace, including if you cannot see any achievements in your work or if you feel powerless.
Alcohol or drug use: Substance use and depression are conditions that are often seen together. Almost 30% of individuals who have substance abuse issues also have depression. Substance use and depression are considered co-morbid conditions, meaning that depression can cause you to use substances and vice versa. Unfortunately, because substances like alcohol and drugs are addictive depression is more challenging to treat as both conditions need to be addressed at the same time; treating just one cannot stop the cycle. This is why many people who use substances continue to struggle with depression.
Gender: Studies by Statistics Canada and the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) revealed that depression is twice as prevalent in women than in men. It’s unclear why that is the case, although it’s suspected that the hormonal changes that women go through (puberty, menopause) may be a factor but it’s certainly not the only factor relevant to explaining why rates of depression among women are so much higher than among men. It’s speculated that different life experiences – pregnancy and childbirth, inequality in the workplace, insecurities about physical attractiveness – are much more likely to result in developing depression for women than for men. Additionally, it’s been shown that women are more likely to consult a doctor and discuss their feelings, and that doctors may be more inclined to diagnose depression in a woman.
Trauma or abuse: A 2022 study by the Journal of Molecular Psychiatry discovered strong connections between trauma and the onset of depression. If you experienced trauma when you were young, for example, a car accident or a form of abuse such as physical, sexual, or emotional, this could trigger depression later. Triggers don’t have to be negative. Significant life events like getting married, moving to a new home, or getting a promotion can even be the trigger for some people.
Older individuals: As people age, people who lack a healthy support circle or are going through a stressful life event can be at risk for depression. Being alone, a common experience for many older people due to their social circle naturally passing away or becoming less active can also be a factor in developing depression.
Certain medications: Beta-blockers, corticosteroids, interferon-alpha (an antiviral drug) and antipsychotic drugs are all known to be possible depression triggers. Medication prescribed to treat mood disorders like depression and anxiety targets the parts of the brain which are responsible for depression; while they can be effective at helping with mental health conditions, the effects that they have on the brain can also inadvertently also result in people developing depression.
Depression can result from any number of causes and it is a deeply personal issue. While it’s still unclear exactly what mechanism results in someone developing depression, understanding some of the most common risk factors can be helpful.
There are different types of depression, each with its own symptoms and treatment options. The most common identifying feature of depression is an inability to experience pleasure. This can result in people with depression exhibiting a lack of interest in activities they previously enjoyed and appear as “down” or without energy.
Major depressive disorder – Major Depressive Disorder is a serious mental illness that affects over 8% of Canadians. It is diagnosed by having at least five symptoms present over a two week period, including depressed mood, changes in appetite or sleep patterns, feelings of worthlessness or guilt, difficulty concentrating, and thoughts of death or suicide. Major depression is not simply being sad. If you live with this illness you know that the symptoms include having a low mood on an ongoing basis, not being interested in doing the things that you usually enjoy, losing or gaining a significant amount of weight, sleeping excessively, having a difficult time making decisions, not being able to concentrate, and memory difficulties.
Psychotic Depression – The term ‘psychosis’ refers to a condition in which an individual is unable to tell the difference between what’s real and what isn’t. This is a terribly difficult illness. When experiencing psychosis, you might see or hear things that do not exist in reality or you might become paranoid. This can be extremely challenging to manage without medical intervention such as medication.
Situational Depression – Going through stressful, traumatic, or even positive life events can bring on situational depression as a way of mentally adjusting to the shock of the event. Situational depression usually occurs within three months of the date of a big life event but can also result from past trauma. Examples include,
Seasonal depression, or seasonal affective disorder (SAD) – Winter months bring shorter days and longer nights which can result in depression symptoms. Symptoms usually start when daylight hours begin to decrease and last until the days become longer again in the Spring. In Canada, SAD is a very common depression type and is estimated to affect up to 10% of the population. Symptoms can include depression, sleep disturbances, lethargy, poor concentration, and social withdrawal. It can cause people to want to eat more, be more apathetic, and experience increased sadness.
Atypical depression – Characteristics that differentiate atypical depression from other forms of depression include increased appetite with weight gain, strong reactions to rejection, and oversensitivity to interpersonal (or people) situations. It also often includes feelings of heaviness in the arms or legs, sleep difficulties, fatigue, and lack of concentration. Treatment involves psychotherapy as well as medication such as antidepressants.
Bipolar depression is the depressive state of someone with bipolar disorder, a different mood disorder characterized by two different states, manic and depressive. This might be triggered by past trauma, similar to cases in other forms of depression, but can also be triggered by experiences during the person’s manic state. When in a manic state, individuals with bipolar disorder may be aggressive or violent to people around them, may even engage in substance abuse. For individuals who might not normally engage in these sorts of behaviour, remembering instances of drug use and other activities that they might consider embarrassing can also serve as additional triggers for each depressive state.
Dysthymia, or double depression – Dysthymia is minor depression for a long period of time. You may experience fatigue, lack of confidence, difficulty focusing at work and poor decision-making. Normally, any of these signs might not seem very significant, but if someone has been experiencing these symptoms for more than two years, it could be a sign of dysthymia. Although dysthymia is considered a milder type of depression, it can still be quite disabling and make it difficult for people to find the motivation or energy to seek help.
Perinatal depression – can affect people before (prenatal) and after (postpartum) they give birth. Symptoms can include irritability, fatigue, losing interest in past hobbies or preferences, experiencing physical discomfort such as inexplicable cramps, and inability to form emotional attachments with the new baby. Some may even begin to consider self-harm or harming the newborn baby. Perinatal depression can be confused with what is colloquially referred to as “baby blues,” a time around the baby’s birth which can be very emotional for the mother but unlike “baby blues,” it may not resolve on its own if the appropriate supports are not in place, which may include professional therapy or the intervention of mental health professionals.
Pain-related depression – After situations related to physical injuries, such as a vehicle accident or incident at work resulting in bodily injury, depression can become an issue. It’s natural to feel upset or unhappy in the aftermath of a physical injury, and if not managed, that emotional energy can result in pain-related depression. Even if you completely recovery from the injury, this condition can remain an issue and continue to affect your ability to return to your job or to do activities that were a normal part of your life before the incident. Individuals dealing with chronic pain might also start to develop pain-related depression due to persistent and uncontrollable sadness about their prognosis and its impact on their life.
Depression is a common and potentially disabling mental illness that can interfere with your ability to work properly. In fact, depression may be so severe that it causes you to stop working entirely, leading to further depression-related complications and financial instability. Symptoms of depression, such as difficulty concentrating, changes in sleep patterns, and difficulty in making decisions, can all affect performance at work. These symptoms can become significant enough or have a long-term effect on your job.
Unlike physical injuries like losing an arm or leg, depression can’t be seen. The effects of depression can only really be fully understood by you, the individual. This makes it hard to justify giving disability benefits in cases of depression.
However, if you live with depression, you know how challenging the disability can be to live and work with. Symptoms of depression can make it nearly impossible to even make it into the office, much less actually be productive. If you have other symptoms, like poor concentration, your manager might say you have a poor work ethic and can’t do your job, rather than acknowledging that you are a person living with a mental illness.
Having low energy and motivation because of your depression means that you might not be able to do your job the best you can. This can cause stress and guilt which only feeds into the depression and makes it worse. You may not be able to socialize with your coworkers, who might think that you’re just being anti-social. They may start to avoid or distance themselves from the you, which increases the feelings of being alone and misunderstood.
Recovering from an injury is difficult enough, both physically and emotionally. Depression can make it even harder for you to get back on your feet and return to work. The chronic pain associated with some injuries can lead to the development of pain-related depression, which makes the problem worse. The impact of depression on your ability to recover from an injury and get back to work can be serious enough that it becomes a long-term disability. Your body might be healed after recovering from an injury or disease, but the effects of depression can linger, making it difficult to ever go back to work.
Presenteeism is when you go to work and do your work, but it takes much more energy or effort than it normally would. Things that normally take an hour to complete, take three or four. You feel nervous whenever you check your email inbox and even slight criticism from your colleagues or superiors puts you on edge. You might completely miss this and chalk it up to simply “having an off day,” but an extended period of lowered productivity should be considered a reason for concern.
While presenteeism is less noticeable, absenteeism is much harder to miss, particularly for individuals who work at a place of employment with a regular shift that requires an individual to be present at the workplace. For people working a regular shift, however, it usually means that their absence is quickly noticed by coworkers or management members, meaning they’re able to identify the issue more quickly and can deliver the necessary support. Organizations that can adjust working conditions for employees – such as allowing them to change shifts or work from home – are in a better position to support employees and lessen the impact caused by absenteeism in the long term.
When depression takes hold, it can feel like an overwhelming force which makes it incredibly difficult for individuals to seek out the help they need. This is often because depression leads to feelings of shame and guilt, exacerbated by a mental health stigma which still exists in many communities. Most people find it hard enough to reach out and talk about depression with those closest to them, let alone engaging with professionals who may recommend medication or other forms of treatment such as therapy. As difficult as they may find it, it’s important that those struggling with depression understand that there is no shame in asking for assistance and that embracing help could lead to a more meaningful life – no matter what form assistance comes in. Others might worry that seeking help will cause them to be seen as incompetent or unable to cope with stress, which could have negative consequences at work. Finally, some people might simply not be aware that what they’re experiencing is depression, so they don’t seek help for something they don’t think is a problem.
Depression is a serious medical illness that can have a detrimental effect on an individual’s ability to work. In cases where depression becomes so severe that it impairs a person’s ability to carry out regular work duties, long-term disability benefits may be available through employer group benefits. These monthly financial benefits, which are normally a portion of a worker’s salary, can help individuals who are suffering from depression address their mental and emotional health needs, allowing them to focus on recovery instead of feeling pressure to maintain a job that demands too much energy.
In order to qualify for lon-term disability benefits for depression one must satisfy the definiton of “total disabilty”. In most cases, total disability means that for the first two years of long-term disability, you must be unable to complete the regular or substantial duties of your own job – which is often called the “own occupation” test.
After two years, you must be unable to satisfy the duties of any occupation for which you may be qualified by way of your education, training or experience – which is often called the “any occupation” test. If you suffer from depression and you can satisfy the definition of total disability, then you will be entitled to access monthly long-term disability benefits to replace a portion of your salary – which can help you manage financially if you are suffering from an illness or injury and you are unable to work.
Unfortunately, long-term disability benefits are often wrongfully denied by insurance companies when depression is the reason for an individual’s condition. This denial can be based on a number of factors that demonstrate that depression does not meet the definition of total disability as outlined in the policy – the most common being “lack of treatment” or that the claimant is not following a proper treatment protocol for depression in order to mitigate their situation.
Often times, however, people with debilitating depression often follow up with their family doctor and follow a course of SSRI or other depression related mediation which regrettably is not enough for some insurance adjusters to approve benefits. Similarly, insurance company adjusters do not understand the seriousness of a person’s depression or how brutally debilitating it’s symptoms can be. They are often unaware of the life-altering impairments depression may cause include difficulties sleeping, concentrating, eating and carrying out daily routines. Furthermore, many insurance company adjusters fail to realize that depression can be incredibly isolating, leading to loneliness and increased feelings of inadequacy, along with suicidal thoughts or behaviors – but instead choose to override the medical advice of family doctors and unilaterally decide that you are “fine” to go back to work and do something.
These wrongful disability benefit denials severely affect individuals with depression, leaving them without necessary economic assistance and the financial ability to support themselves – all while suffering.
There are a number of reasons why an insurance provider might deny someone’s disability insurance benefits:
Benefits claims are denied because of insufficient medical evidence: in order to successfully file a claim for disability benefits, a disabled person will be required by insurance companies to produce medical evidence that their disorder is severe enough to meet the requirements for disability benefits. Disability companies may ask for medical documentation from a doctor stating that the symptoms of depression have made it impossible to continue job duties, documents showing that significant effort has been made to address the disability and help the individual return to work, records of past medical appointments over a period of time and treatment programs that the individual participated in.
Your Insurance Company believes you can work: Insurance companies will often reject disability benefit claims based on the belief that a claimant can maintain their employment even while suffering from depression. Insurance companies base decisions to pay long-term disability claims to disabled individuals on medical evidence and personal testimonies from members of the workplace, like coworkers and management. In other cases, insurance companies will get insurance company rehab advisors involved to administer “TFA’s” or transferable skills analysis testing – which almost never come out in the claimant’s favor. Often times the TFA’s are biased, algorithmically biased, administered incompletely and in most cases – offer employment ideas that fall outside a person’s education, employment or experience.
Social Media: often times photos and videos from social media are being used as evidence against claimants. A photo of the claimant smiling on social media could be interpreted as evidence that they are not dealing with depression. People experiencing depression often still have to maintain relationships with their family, and engage in certain activities that make up their daily lives, but depression does not always show up in photographs or social media posts. It is important to remember that depression can be hidden; while major depression sufferers may exhibit subtle changes in facial expression or body language, depression often escapes being captured in photographs or digital contexts.
Even with all the research demonstrating the impact of depression on work and one’s ability to perform their job duties, insurance companies often continue to deny disability claims. If your long-term disability claim has been denied due to depression, you have rights, for example:
Since 1984, the long-term disability lawyers from Camporese Lalande have recovered tens of millions in wrongfully denied long-term disability benefits for disabled claimants who are going to the worst times of their lives. Stop struggling with a faceless insurance company – and call our Long-Term Disability Lawyers to schedule your free consultation today.
We represent claimants suffering from depression all over Ontario and we can help you get your long-term disability benefits back on track. Our consultations are 100% free – and if you decide to work with our long-term disability lawyers, the fee is free. We do not charge our clients anything unless we win their case. We are happy to provide you the legal advice you need in order for you to make an informed decision about your own particular situation.
There are several ways to book your free consultation with our Long-Term Disability Lawyers:
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In most cases, yes, so long as you satisfy the definition of total disability as it is set out in your long-term disability policy.
In most cases, you can qualify for LTD benefits if you suffer from depression, so long-as you meet the definition of “total disability” within your disability insurance policy.
In Ontario, you can qualify for disability benefits if you are following a proper treatment plan, getting the appropriate therapy or counseling required, and you satisfy the requirements of the definition of a “total disability” within the meaning of your disability insurance policy.
It is not type of depression that you suffer from, but rather if your depression prevents you from engaging or completing the substantial duties of your employment.
Yes, talking to a disability lawyer about your case should always be free. At our firm, we never charge anyone to talk to us about their case. We understand that another bill is the last thing you need while suffering and being cut-off disability.