The Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) is one of the most important protections for workers dependent on employer benefits. Many employers provide retirement and pension benefits governed by ERISA. Others offer disability insurance benefits.
Quite a few people who claim ERISA disability benefits have an easily verifiable physical condition. They may require assistive technology or be completely unable to work. However, mental health conditions can be as disabling as physical illnesses and injuries. How do you get disability benefits when your condition is invisible?
You will need a diagnosis and supporting documentation
Just like with a physical disability, securing disability benefits for mental health conditions will require strong evidence. You will need a credible, affirmative diagnosis with a specific condition. You will also need documentation from your psychiatrist or an inpatient stay at a mental health facility. Such records should help support your claim that the condition is so severe it impacts your ability to do your job successfully.
Even the Social Security Administration recognizes that various mental health conditions can disable otherwise healthy adults. Conditions ranging from post-traumatic stress disorder to adult-onset schizophrenia can make it impossible or simply unsafe for you to continue working or living as you previously had. ERISA disability benefits can help you pay your bills when you can’t continue working anymore.
Although it can be difficult to prove a mental health disability, it is possible. Getting help when you apply for ERISA disability benefits or when appealing a denial will increase your chances of success and reduced how much stress you have to take on, which could exacerbate your condition.