Who Can Use Fmla
FMLA is not available to all employees. There are a few qualifying factors that make someone eligible for the protection. Employees must:
- Work at their place of employment for 12+ months
- Accrue 1,250 hours of work in the past year
- Work for a company that has more than 50 employees
As you can see, FMLA doesn’t cover everyone. There may be a condition under FMLA that disqualifies you from being eligible. New employees, part-time or temporary staff, and small business workers are excluded. In many cases, there are other options available for those who need time away. These other opportunities may not include the protections that come with FMLA and should be used with caution.
What Other Options Are There Other Than Fmla For Stress
If you do not qualify for FMLA for stress either because you do not meet the requirements for protection or do not work with a company that offers the benefit, there are other options you can explore.
- ADA Accommodations for Stress
ADA, or the;Americans with Disabilities Act, is a law that protects every worker no matter how long they have been in their position or their full-time status. It allows workers to request accommodations that make doing their job easier if they have a disability. ADA covers stress and mental illness if something about the work environment and amount of stress prevents the employee from doing their job well. There are no strict medical requirements like FMLA, but you may need a note from your doctor to get approval for any accommodations you need.
Typically, an ADA claim will not allow you to take time away from work due to stress related conditions such as the rights under FMLA. The purpose of it is to give you what you need to do your job well onsite. However, you may be able to request extended lunches or breaks or a change in your work environment or schedule to better cope with your symptoms. For many, this can be as helpful as taking time away from work. If your request requires you to be away from your job, for example, to attend visits with a therapist, you will likely have to use options like your vacation time to cover your absence.
- Unprotected Leave
- Benefits for Stress and Mental Health
- Employee Assistance Programs Help with Stress
How Often Will You Receive Payments
This is another area that can vary. Fortunately, your payment questions should be answered clearly within your plan documents.
Be aware that if your employer works with an insurer to offer short-term disability benefits, then payments will usually be administered through the insurance company. That means they might arrive on a schedule different from the payroll timing youre used to .
Meaghan Tiernan, a senior copywriter for a marketing agency in San Francisco, used her short-term disability for maternity leave. She was given a debit card that her short-term disability payments were added to.
I think it was one lump sum every two weeks on an regular basis, she explains. They even include weekends, so it was typically every 14 days that I was paid. Then youd have to transfer the funds from that debit card to your bank account if that was your preference.
Recommended Reading: How To Change My Va Direct Deposit
Does Clinical Depression Qualify For Short
Short-term disability is meant to provide you with at least a partial income during a time when you are unable to work. It does not cover injuries — that is covered by workers’ compensation. However, mental illnesses are becoming a growing issue in the workplace, particularly depression. Clinical depression is diagnosed depression.
What Other Options Are There
People diagnosed with a mental illness can look to the following resources for income assistance. No option is guaranteed to provide income, but each of the following resources assists qualifying individuals with mental health-related disabilities under certain circumstances. Generally, the Social Security Administration is most helpful.
Also Check: Guard Retirement Points Calculator
Top 5 Reasons Why Mental Illness Disability Claims Are Denied
Has your mental illness disability claim been denied? Are you worried your long-term disability;payments are about to be cut-off?
In this article I review the top five reasons why mental illness disability claims are denied and what you can do to avoid a denial, or at least minimize your chances of denial.
As a disability claim lawyer, a large percentage of the cases I handle involve mental illness claims for disability benefits. In fact, mental illness is one of the leading causes of disability in Canada, especially for doctors, lawyers, nurses, business owners and other professionals.
I constantly see the same reasons for why depression, anxiety and other mental illness disability claims are denied or payments are cut-off by insurance companies. My goal with this article is to educate you;about the most common reasons for a disability benefits denial, so you can avoid making these mistakes, and give yourself the best chance of having your claim approved.
What Counts As A Disability
There isnt one standard definition for a disability that applies across the board here.
Its all plan- or policy-specific, says Chicago-based attorney Michael Bartolic, whose firm focuses on employee benefits and deferred compensation. As a general observation, its any sort of injury or illness that renders one unable to do their job.
That could include things like childbirth, a major surgery with a long recovery period, an illness that requires frequent treatment, or an injury sustained in some sort of accident. Bartolic explains that the best thing to do is to check your plan documents, as the definition of disability should be clearly spelled out there.
Read Also: Fibromyalgia Permanent Disability
Mental Illness And Substance Abuse Limitation Rider
Whether your mental illness is a pre-existing condition or was diagnosed after you purchased coverage, your disability insurance may be governed by a limitation rider. Insurers may call it different things, such as:
Mental/nervous & substance abuse limitation rider
Mental disorder/substance abuse limitation rider
Mental and/or substance-related disorders limitation rider
Whatever itâs called, this rider limits the benefit period â the span of time during which you can receive disability insurance benefit payments â to just two years for disabilities caused by a mental illness.
That means if youâre still disabled after the shortened benefit period ends, youâll no longer be eligible for benefit payments. The benefit period for other disabilities remains unchanged.
Depending on the state you live in, your insurer may require you to have this rider. In other cases, the rider may be optional and free to add, and you could potentially receive a discount of as much as 10% off your premiums for adding it.
If youâre willing to pay higher premiums, you can get a disability insurance policy without this rider, giving you unlimited coverage for mental illness if youâre otherwise eligible.
The mental illness and substance abuse limitation rider may be required for some people in certain professions. But higher-paid professionals, such as attorneys or certain types of doctors, may qualify for a disability insurance policy without a limitation rider.
What If Youre Still Not Ready To Go Back To Work
If youre on short-term disability, your benefits will end when your predetermined time period is over or when you return to workwhichever comes first. But what if youve already maxed out your short-term disability benefits and you still cant head back into the office?
Lets return to our example of missing out on work for major back surgery. Your doctor determined that youd need six months to fully recover, and your short-term disability plan approved you for that amount of time.
However, you had some pretty significant complications with your surgery and your recovery. As the end of those six months draw near, its evident that you arent physically capable of sitting at a desk for eight hours each daythis is a problem that will plague you for a lot longer, perhaps even permanently. Now what? Are you just out of luck?
If you have long-term disability benefits, it should be straightforward enough to transition into those benefits if you meet the new definition of disability for your long-term plan. The definition for disability under a long-term plan is typically subtly different than the definition for short-term disability.
Some insurers require new paperwork from the claimant and new medical records before they will begin paying a long-term disability benefit, says McDonald.
Recommended Reading: Ssdi Calculator Backpay
Is Your Job Protected While You Take Short
Unlike a leave of absence you might take under the Family and Medical Leave Act , short-term disability doesnt offer any direct job protection. Many people are surprised to hear that you can legally be fired from your job while on leave, and you also arent entitled to the exact same position when you return.
However, the Americans With Disabilities Act protects people who meet the ADAs definition of disability, and makes it far more challenging for companies who are covered by ADA to fire an employee due to their disability.
Before terminating an employee, the company must first determine whether or not there are any accommodations they could make that would allow the employee to adequately do their job.
The company must work with the employee to try several variations of accommodations in an effort to find something that works. If theres no reasonable way to enable that person to fulfill the essential responsibilities of their position, only then can the employer explore termination of the employee.
Keeping Your Benefits Can Be A Lot Of Work
Often, being approved for disability leave is just half the battle. Making sure patients keep their benefits for as long as they need also requires a considerable amount of effort and paperwork, according to Song.
For patients who are expected to make a recovery and return to work, insurance carriers often require physicians to submit updates every month, Song said.
But, he said, if Im not seeing them that regularly, it becomes difficult.
Patient volumes dont always allow for monthly check-ins, he said. And monthly visits just arent necessary because a patient isnt going to progress that fast, he added.
You May Like: Va Rating For Degenerative Disc Disease
Disability Benefits From The Federal Government
The Social Security Administration pays disability benefits to those who have a physical or mental condition that prevents them from working and is expected to last at least a year or result in death. The SSA uses a different definition to evaluate disabled children, who may also be eligible for disability cash benefits;if their household has low income.The 2 most common programs that offer benefits to those who qualify are:
Unable To Attend A Medical Appointment For Disability Claim
The Social Security Administration uses;Disability Determination Services at Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission;to determine initial and continued eligibility for Social Security disability;benefits programs. As part of their evaluation, they may require you to attend a medical appointment.
You may contact them at 882-2040.
Don’t Miss: Gaf Score Worksheet
How To Apply For Short
For employees, the first step in applying for short-term disability is to contact youtheir human resources department. They can also review your benefits documentation, or contact your short-term disability vendor.;
Some employers require workers to use any available sick days before their short-term disability period begins. Others ask for a note from the employees physician before approving requests for short-term disability.;
Once an employee has completed their claim form for short-term disability and provided the necessary documents, they should submit it to you or your insurance provider. Be clear with your employees about what documentation they need, and when they need to submit it to get full access to their benefits.;
The Prevalence And Cost Of Depression In Canada
Approximately 5 percent of Canadians experience major depression, reports the CMHA. Mental illness lacks discretion; it can affect anyone, regardless of age, gender, income level or culture.
The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health explains that mental illness is the second-leading cause of disability and premature death. Its so rampant that mental health claims actually comprise 30 percent of the total disability claims in Canada and 70 percent of the payouts.
Mental health claims are the fastest-growing category of disability costs in Canada, according to the CMHA. Depression cost our society nearly $9 billion in 2000 as the result of short-term and long-term disability claims, reported a 2006 CAMH study. The World Health Organization proclaims that by 2020, depression will be the single-biggest medical burden on health.
Also Check: Can You Get Disability For Bulging Disc
Reason : Your Treatment Providers Are Not Creating The Proper Documentation
From the disability benefits providers perspective, if something isnt written in the medical charts and files, then it doesnt exist.
Your treatment can be of the highest;quality and best practices, but if your treatment providers havent documented it adequately in;the medical records , then in the eyes of the insurance company, you;have not received that high quality care.
The reality of what is going on with your treatment doesnt matter. What matters is what is documented in your medical files and records. At the end of the day, the insurance company makes decisions based on the paperwork that is included in their claim file. You can be getting the best care in the world, but if that care has not been recorded and documented properly, then it will not exist in the insurance companys file. Without accurate medical records, there is a strong possibility that your claim will be declined for technical reasons.;
What you can do about it: Point this problem out to your doctors. Have them write a narrative report that explains the treatment provided, ;your response to treatment, how they have changed the treatment based on your response, and the plan going forward.
Is It A Medical Problem Or A Workplace Issue
While mental health claims, in general, tend to be more complex, an especially challenging issue arises when someone develops a mental illness because of, say, an abusive boss or bullying at the office.
In these cases, an insurance carrier may take the view that the underlying problem is a workplace issue that should be handled by HR rather than a medical condition, Holden said.
But the line between a workplace and a medical problem is a fine one, said David Share, president of Toronto-based Share Lawyers. If the disorder becomes severe enough, it may follow someone into a new job and different work environment, he said.
Kotak added that, in his experience, a toxic work environment is often simply a trigger of a pre-existing condition.
Even when patients are able to make a successful claim, some doctors worry about sending them back into a toxic work environment.
Most of the cases I treat are directly related to a workplace issue, said Camillo Zacchia, a Montreal-based clinical psychologist. But what can I do as a psychologist about this?
Insurers are increasingly working with employers to facilitate a healthy return to work for employees in these situations, Holden said. But, she added, theres still work to be done.
WATCH: The health effects of cannabis
Know Your Critical Dates
Some of your application paperwork must be submitted within a certain amount of time from the start of your leave from work often within the first 30 days. Late submissions may impact your eligibility for benefits. It may take time for your insurer to review, adjudicate and process your claim: it is common for the adjudication process to take at least 10 business days.
Success And Support Through The Whole Process
Our approach works:
- 64% of employees who participated in the program successfully returned to work.5
- The program helped avoid more than $15 million in direct claim costs and 125,000 lost workdays.5,6
But whatever their outcome, your employees will receive the same integrated support and continuous case management whether they return to work, extend their Short Term Disability or transition to Long Term Disability.
You May Like: What Does Pending Processing Mean
Comparing Ltd And Social Security Disability Claims Based On Mental Illness
Receiving LTD benefits for bipolar or depression is just as difficult, if not more so, than receiving Social Security disability benefits. The major difference is that Social Security does not put any time limitation on the receipt of benefits for mental illnesses; if you are approved, your SSDI benefits won’t be cut off after two years, although you may be subject to Continuing Disability Reviews. In general, your chances of receiving LTD or SSDI based solely on a mental illness are roughly similar, but your LTD insurer is much more likely to terminate your disability benefits after you’ve been approved. Find out more about LTD benefits and SSDI benefits.
Determine Whether You Are Eligible For Fmla
The Family Medical Leave Act applies to companies with 50 or more employees within a 75-mile radius of the workplace. For FMLA eligibility, you must have been employed by your company for at least a year and have worked at least 1250 hours in the past 12 months. If you meet these qualifications, its possible that you are eligible for legal protection for your stress leave.
Go to your Human Resources department and let them know you would like to take an FMLA-approved absence for stress leave. They will provide you with the necessary paperwork that you must take to your doctor. Just saying you are too stressed out to work is not sufficientyour doctor will need to recommend that you take a stress leave.
When you speak with your doctor, its important that you speak honestly and not downplay your symptoms. She or he cant make a fair evaluation if you keep saying, Its fine. Everything is fine. Im just a little stressed. Remember, stress can affect you physically as well as mentally.
Web MD says Stress seems to worsen or increase the risk of conditions like obesity, heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, depression, gastrointestinal problems, and asthma. Stress is not;something you should ignore.
You have 15 days to return the FMLA paperwork, so make sure you get it back into HR. Its also okay to send the paperwork in with a spouse or a friend if your condition prohibits you from going into the office.
Also Check: How To Change Direct Deposit For Va Benefits