Disability Claims Solutions

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<p class="just")In 2020, my own statistics indicate that more mental health practitioners such as psychologists, psychiatrists and therapists were reluctant to support disabilities due to depression, anxiety and other lesser DSM-5 identified illnesses. But wait, there's more.

I found that many mental health providers have absolutely no idea how to support private disability claims, and deliberately pull away from their responsibilities to provide R&Ls as to why their patients cannot work. There is a growing trend for therapists to say, “My patient can’t do his/her own job, but he/she can work doing something else.”

Across the board, far more mental health professionals are reluctant to support mental health disability. Many are afraid of receiving subpoenas and getting embroiled in lawsuits, but most importantly, psychologists no longer see depression and anxiety as a cause for permanent disability and won’t document anything close to it. Incidences of psychiatrists reluctant to say anything but, “I only manage medications, defer to therapist” are alarmingly increasing preventing insureds from benefits.

While it is quite common for those disabled from behavioral issues to receive therapy from psychologists not licensed to write medications, and have a psychiatrist do that, from a disability “proof of claim” perspective, it is important for the “therapist” actually providing therapy to do a better than average job documenting disability. However, more and more psychologists and therapists are balking at completing forms for mental health disability.

In addition, as to patient therapy notes, there appears to be three groups of mental health providers: 1) those providers who are “spooked” when they receive signed Authorizations to provide notes, and fax or send them immediately, 2) those who object to sending anything outside their offices, or those who have stopped keeping notes at all, and 3) those who view disability reporting as a waste of their valuable time.

Therapists who give patients problems with filling out forms will generally not be good supporters of mental health disability. One therapist shared that unless someone is an in-patient or out-patient therapy group member, they could probably suck it up and work. While I am reluctant to “break up” therapy relationships, it will not be productive to the support of private disability claims if mental health practitioners have this attitude.

My concern is that it is not helpful to mental health patients to have to argue with therapists to provide claim updates. It is even more frustrating for patients when therapists REFUSE to document short-term or long-term disability, and speak to insurance doctors on the phone even when patients say they don’t give permission for that. The entire group of mental health providers are more and more reluctant to support mental health disability and look for ways to “pass the buck” to therapists who have no idea how to document disability for success.

It is very important for mental health patients to choose qualified therapists who are willing, and hopefully know something about disability reporting. I found myself in 2020 actually conflicting with mental health providers who either did not know how to fill out disability forms, or, who were opposed to doing it in the first place.

When looking for a therapist, request a “meet and greet” consultation to discuss disability claims and how providers prefer to deal with that. Ask them how many disability claims patients they have had in the past. Also ask if they have ever supported SSDI claims for mental health purposes. This will give you an idea as to whether they accept that mental health can be long-term.

In the end, and I suspect in 2021 and beyond, the issue of mental health will be much more difficult to support due to a growing reluctance of mental health providers to document patients can’t work, particularly on a long-term basis.