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Can I claim disability for mental health?

A mental health condition can be just as disabling as any other health condition. As such, you can claim disability for mental health if your condition causes a level of impairment consistent with the parameters for a disability claim.

If your mental health causes impairment and was incurred as a result of your working conditions or an incident at the workplace, you may have grounds to file through workers’ compensation, as a personal injury claim.

You may also be able to file through disability insurance such as is often included as a part of your superannuation fund. If your impairment is significant and will prevent you from working for the foreseeable future, you may have grounds for a total and permanent disability (TPD) claim.

If your disability doesn’t fall under any of these scenarios, you may still be able to file for a disability support pension (DSP), assuming you meet all of the requirements and your level of impairment qualifies you. A qualified disability lawyer can help you navigate the challenging disability claims process.

Can a mental health disorder qualify you for disability?

Your mental health is an important factor for your overall health. When you suffer from a mental health condition or disorder, it can affect your ability to work as you once did. If you developed a mental health condition as a result of work stress, you may qualify for disability through workers’ compensation and receive a disability payment.

If you experienced a traumatic event in the workplace, you may qualify for disability due to a mental health condition such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). If stress at work exacerbated an existing mental illness, leading to a gradual decline and inability to continue working, you may also qualify to file a disability claim for mental health.

Proving a mental disability can mean a series of visits with qualified doctors to determine your state of mental health, how much you are suffering from impairment due to your mental health, and whether your mental health is likely to be restored. In most cases, it’s best to file a claim once treatment is complete and no further improvement is expected.

While your doctor alone cannot put you on disability, medical records from your doctor establishing your level of disability can be critical to the disability claims process. It’s important to gather as much documentation as you can and to be as forthcoming as possible when filing a disability claim for reasons of mental health.

Mental health disorders and filing a claim

If your mental health spurs you to make a disability claim, you need to know the proper steps. If you are filing a workers’ compensation claim, be aware that your employer has the right to have you evaluated by their own doctor. This does not mean you don’t have the right to see the doctor of your own choosing.

Once a preliminary diagnosis is made, you should attempt to see a doctor with specific experience in your mental health condition and who understands the parameters involved in filing a disability claim. Make sure you get copies of all of your medical files, and that your doctor explains your mental disorder to you clearly.

You will need all of the medical evidence of your diagnosis and level of impairment to get approved for disability. This is true of all health-related disability claims but is particularly important for mental health-related claims.

Qualifying mental health disorders that you might receive disability for include but aren’t limited to:

  • Anxiety disorder
  • Depression
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Schizophrenia
  • PTSD

There are other mental health conditions that may also qualify you for disability payments. Your doctor and your lawyer can give you more information on the health condition, including mental illnesses, that could qualify you for disability.

As a rule of thumb, if your mental health is making it impossible for you to work, it’s time to talk to a lawyer about the possibility of filing a mental health disability claim.

What does the disability claims process look like?

The disability claims process will depend on what type of claim you are filing. The first step should be getting a disability attorney. Having legal advice can help you navigate the claims process and, if necessary, the appeals process.

The next step is compiling medical evidence. You’ll need all of the medical files supporting your mental health diagnosis, your current level of impairment, and your prognosis for recovery or likelihood of permanent inability to work.

If your mental health disability prevents you from working completely, you can file a TPD claim against your insurance. In most cases, TPD is provided through your super, and you may be able to file more than one claim. You’ll need to talk with your insurer to determine what kind of TPD coverage you have.

The disability lawyers at Gerard Malouf & Partners can help you determine whether you have a case for making a TPD claim and help you get the maximum settlement to which you are entitled for your mental health disability.

If your mental health condition is because of work, you may be able to file a workers’ compensation claim. This will involve going through the standard workers’ compensation process, including submitting to exams by your employer’s doctors as well as your own.

You can file both a TPD claim and a workers’ compensation claim. Gerard Malouf & Partners can walk you through both processes. One is a claim due to total and permanent disability, regardless of the cause, and the other is a claim for personal injury, including mental health conditions, suffered at or because of work.

Finally, you may be able to file a claim for a disability support pension (DSP). This involves filing online, gathering your medical records, and submitting them for a decision. If your claim is accepted, you may receive fortnightly payments to help support you while you cannot work.

If your DSP claim is denied, you can appeal. Gerard Malouf & Partners can help you file your claim and appeal if necessary. We work on a no-win, no-fee basis, so you only owe legal fees when we successfully win your case.

Your disability benefit can come from one, two, or all three of these sources. Each is a separate process, and receiving one type of benefit doesn’t exclude you from filing another type of claim. It can be challenging to get a disability for a mental health condition, but there shouldn’t be any shame or stigma attached to the process. Mental illness is just like any other type of illness, and you deserve support.

Can a lawyer help with my mental health disability claim?

If you are ready to file a mental health disability claim, having a disability attorney on your side can help. Our disability lawyers are well versed in filing and succeeding with TPD claims, DSP claims, and workers compensation claims on the basis of a mental health condition.

We will help you through every stage of the process, from discovery (examining all of your documents and history to ascertain if you have a valid claim) to medical evidence gathering (to ensure every avenue is covered in the pursuit of a successful claim) to representing you in appeals if necessary to gain you the payments you deserve.

Winning a case for mental disability can be a difficult task if faced alone. In many cases, a mental health condition can make it that much harder to effectively represent yourself and complete the steps required to file and defend your disability claim.

The higher your impairment, the greater the likelihood of an approved claim, but the harder it may be for you to meet the challenges of proving your case. That’s when having a legal team fighting for you can make a real difference. Whether you’re attempting to win a workers’ compensation case, a TPD claim, or a disability support pension, we’ll be by your side.

Having a mental health condition shouldn’t be seen as any different than having a physical condition. If you are rendered unable to work, you should pursue all paths available to you for the support of yourself and your family. If this means filing a claim for disability, start by taking the first step today.


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About Us
Gerard Malouf & Partners have provided friendly, experienced legal advice to communities across Australia for over 35 years. Our Personal Injury Lawyers have taken on ten’s of thousands of cases and we are proud to have won billions of dollars for our clients.
Meet the diverse and dynamic team of compensation lawyers and supporting staff that have made this all happen below. Our multi-lingual team can discuss your claims in Arabic, Assyrian, Turkish, Greek, Italian, French, Serbian, Croatian, Armenian, Mandarin, Hindi, Punjabi or Malayalam.
Meet the diverse and dynamic team of compensation lawyers and supporting staff that have made this all happen below. Our multi-lingual team can discuss your claims in Arabic, Assyrian, Turkish, Greek, Italian, French, Serbian, Croatian, Armenian, Mandarin, Hindi, Punjabi or Malayalam.

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