While exact statistics are hard to compile, an undeniably alarming number of adults suffer from clinical depression during their lives. When it makes you unable to complete daily tasks, clinical depression can be used as a short term–disability qualifying condition. Depression's causes can be very complex, ranging from chemical imbalances in the brain and body to adverse life experiences. Its treatments are just as varied, including medication, various types of therapy and dietary or lifestyle changes. Taking a break from the stress of life and work can become necessary in cases of severe depression.
If you're experiencing thoughts of harming yourself or others, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.
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Short-Term Disability Qualifying Conditions: Depression
To receive short-term disability for anxiety and depression, the first thing you will want to do is seek medical attention for the symptoms you're experiencing. You can see either your primary care physician or a psychiatrist. Take notes about your symptoms ahead of time and let them know you want to apply for disability if you receive a depression diagnosis.
You need to make sure they're on board with you taking a leave from work and applying for disability because their statement on the paperwork will be critical. Experts highly recommend also seeing a therapist for depression, but they can't give you an official diagnosis. You usually have to see a medical doctor for that. You will also need to confirm that your employer has short-term disability insurance and that you enrolled in it by speaking with an HR representative to find out. If you're not employed, you'll have to go through the Social Security Administration.
Filling out Paperwork and Waiting for Decisions
The paperwork for applying for short-term disability is usually not extensive. According to Hawks Quindel, there are typically sections for you, your employer and your doctor, with the most crucial element being a signature from a physician. You can bring your paperwork to your consultation with your doctor or bring it back afterward. Can a psychologist fill out short-term disability paperwork? Sometimes they can, depending on their credentials; however, your claim will be stronger if you have a personalized statement from a medical doctor.
In many states, it can take up to three months or slightly more to get a decision about your application for short-term disability, though it's sometimes much quicker than that. They will consider all sections of your application and decide based on that. While you wait for that decision, do whatever you can to prevent your condition from worsening. Work with your human resources department to make appropriate accommodations. You may want to use any vacation or sick time available or otherwise modify your schedule and work environment to prevent your depression from worsening.
Short-Term Disability for Burnout
Burnout by itself is not a clinical diagnosis, and therefore being burned out does not qualify you for short-term disability. That being said, some people mistake their real depression symptoms as signs of burnout instead of what it is: a severe mental illness. If you're experiencing difficulty performing daily tasks that used to be easy, have lost interest in things you used to enjoy or have thoughts of harming yourself, seek medical attention immediately. You might be suffering from depression and may be eligible for a paid leave.
If you're experiencing postpartum depression, you might wonder, "Does postpartum depression qualify for short-term disability?" According to A Better Balance, it can and often does. The application process is similar to short-term disability for stress and anxiety or clinical depression. If you're suffering from postpartum depression, seek medical attention immediately, first and foremost for support and then apply for short-term disability. Don't wait until your maternity leave runs out.