Disability insurance companies don’t always make it easy for policyholders who have somatoform disorder or other mental conditions to get the disability benefits they deserve.
What Is A Somatoform Disorder?
Somatoform disorder is a form of mental illness that causes bodily symptoms, including pain, that can’t be traced back to any physical cause. That does not mean the symptoms are not real or are being faked. The experience is real and can significantly affect daily and work functioning.
What Are The Types and Symptoms Of A Somatoform Disorder?
Here are the types of somatoform disorders:
- Somatization disorder, known as Briquet’s syndrome. Symptoms involve multiple organ and body systems, including neurological and gastrointestinal. complaints.
- Undifferentiated somatoform disorder, diagnosed when a person has one or more physical complaints of unexplained symptoms for at least six months.
- Hypochondriasis, a preoccupation with minor complaints, believed to be the sign of a serious, if not fatal, medical condition.
- Conversion disorder, when a person’s paralysis, blindness, hearing loss or a loss of sensation or numbness can’t be traced to a medical cause.
- Pain disorder, an experience of pain that started with a psychological stress or trauma.
How Disability Insurance Companies View Somatoform Disorder Claims
The severity and frequency of symptoms impacts whether a policyholder is disabled. However, you should know that many somatoform disorder disability claims are denied because the disability insurance company says:
(1) There is no objective basis of the diagnosis,
(2) There is no objective basis for the restrictions and limitations assigned by your physician, or
(3) There is no causal relationship between your symptoms and/or your restrictions and limitations and your inability to do your own or any occupation.
Why The Definition of Mental or Nervous Conditions In Your Policy Is Key
If there is no mental nervous limitation in your policy, you are lucky. You will be eligible for benefits for the life of the policy if you remain disabled.
How your policy defines “mental illness” or “nervous conditions” is key to how long you get disability benefits. Many policies limit benefits to 24 months.
There is NO uniform policy definition for these terms, and many were written poorly. Some disability insurance policies define mental illness as:
- “Any psychological, behavioral, or emotional disorder,”
- “Any disorder found in the current diagnostic standards manual of the American Psychiatric Association.”
Other policies list conditions they have decided are mental or nervous conditions and list other conditions they have decided are not.
It is not uncommon for Ms. Cavey to represent a policyholder who has somatoform disorder along with other disabling medical problems. Some disability policies also limit benefits to 24 months if any mental nervous condition contributes in any way to your overall disability.
Nancy Cavey has battled often with disability carriers about these ambiguities. Courts have reached many different decisions on what mental nervous policy terms mean. It is crucial you know what the courts will do before you apply for benefits, and that you fill out your application properly.
She works closely with you, your family and your physician to overcome a claims denial or termination of benefits after 24 months.
Nancy Cavey offers a free initial consultation and welcomes the opportunity to speak with you about your disability claim.
Don’t forget the carrier will do a file review months before the 24-month limitation runs. They will be looking in your medical records for continuing mental health problems so they can say, “Got you!”
If possible, Nancy Cavey will make sure that any physical disability is well developed in your medical records and that your doctors properly comment that you are NOT disabled as a result of any mental conditions, including somatoform disorder.
How Do I Get The Disability Insurance Benefits I Deserve?
It takes teamwork!
Somatoform disorder can make it difficult, if not impossible, to do things around your home and work. Worse, somatoform disorder can damage and even destroy professional relationships and result in poor work performance.
If you no longer can work or your doctor has told you to apply for disability benefits, you should take steps before you apply:
- Obtain a copy of your disability policy. See how it defines “disability,” “occupation” and “self-reported conditions.” You’ll need to understand what you have to prove to get your benefits because of somatoform disorder or any other mental or nervous condition.
Your policy can include a mental/nervous limitation that classifies somatoform disorder as a mental disorder, or the policy can be silent on the issue. You’ll want to know what your policy says before you apply for benefits. You’ll also want to know if the policy limitation applies if your mental nervous condition contributes to your disability in any way.
- Obtain a copy of your medical records. Review them to see if there is an objective basis for your diagnosis, what your records say about your report of symptoms and your restrictions and limitations. Psychological testing should be included in your records.
- Obtain a copy of your personnel file to see if your somatoform disorder has affected your work performance.
- Obtain a copy of your job description. Create your own description of your physical duties with an explanation of how your symptoms impact your ability to do your occupation.
- Provide your doctor with the occupational description. Ask your doctor to prepare a report that explains the objective basis for your diagnosis, the objective basis of your restrictions and limitations, and the objective reasons you can’t perform some or all of the material and substantial duties of your occupation.
- Prepare a diary that explains and gives examples of how your symptoms interfere with your ability to do things on a daily basis and the side effects of your medication.
If you can’t prepare and keep the diary ask a family member, friend or a co-worker to help you. This is important because what makes you disabled is the change in your behavior as your symptoms progress. You may have difficulty performing your work or activities at home, become socially withdrawn, become overactive, get into altercations or do things that are just unusual for you.
- Hire Nancy Cavey to help you file your initial application. The application process is confusing and designed so you and your physician make mistakes that can result in a delay or even a denial of your benefits. Ms. Cavey knows how to prepare and file a winning shock and awe disability application that leaves the carrier little reason to question your claim.
- Hire Nancy Cavey to help you appeal a wrongful denial or termination of your disability benefits. Disability carriers are in the business of collecting premiums and not paying disability benefits. Carriers routinely cut off benefits at 24 months and misapply the mental nervous condition limitations.
They’ll use any reason to deny your claim. The odds of getting your benefits on appeal are greater when you are represented by an experienced ERISA/private ID policy disability attorney.
Contact Disability Attorney Nancy L. Cavey, Who Can Help You Regardless of Where You Live
Somatoform disorder can make it difficult, if not impossible, to work. You owe it to yourself and your family to get help today! Nancy Cavey can review your policy and your medical records, and explain to you what your policy says and how to get your disability benefits. Call today for a free consultation at 727-894-3188.