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Does Short-Term Disability Cover Mental Health?

Does short-term disability cover mental health? If you have disability insurance, do you know if it will help you pay your bills if you need to take time away from work due to severe symptoms of anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, or another mental illness? 

What Is Short-Term Disability Insurance?

Short-term disability insurance is coverage that is designed to replace a predetermined percentage of policyholders’ lost wages if they are temporarily precluded from working due to certain circumstances.

Reasons for missing work that may qualify a person to receive benefits from a short-term disability insurance plan include:

  • Illness
  • Pregnancy and/or maternity leave
  • Injuries from non-work-related causes

This type of insurance often offers coverage for three to six months, though some plans may cover a longer period of missed work. To activate their benefits, policyholders typically must miss at least one week of work.

It is important to remember that short-term disability insurance does not cover treatment. Its sole purpose is to temporarily provide income so that the policyholder can pay their rent, purchase food, and meet other financial obligations while they aren’t working.

Also, please note that the information included in this post is for general informational purposes only. As with virtually all insurance-related matters, the specifics of short-term disability insurance can vary from one policy to the next. 

If you are seeking specific answers about a short-term disability policy for yourself, please contact an insurance agent or broker near you.

Does Short-Term Disability Cover Mental Health?

In the previous section, we noted that short-term disability insurance may cover income gaps due to illnesses, injuries, and pregnancies. Though these reasons may seem to be self-evident and easily understood, the category of illnesses can be more complex than it first appears. 

For example, what types of illnesses qualify a person to access their benefits? Can they receive temporary income if they are forced to miss work due to anxiety, depression, or another psychological concern? In other words, does short-term disability cover mental health?

The answer to this question is that it depends on the insurance provider and the specifics of the policy. Some short-term disability insurance plans cover mental health concerns, while other policies don’t. Also, even if a plan includes mental health coverage, that does not mean that it includes every type of mental illness. 

This uncertainty can, understandably, be a source of considerable distress for someone who needs to take time away from their job due to a mental health crisis. Here are three options for getting clarity regarding the question, does short-term disability cover mental health:

  • Read through your policy carefully.
  • Contact your insurance provider.
  • Call Arbor Wellness.

If you intend to seek mental health treatment at Arbor Wellness, our team may be able to help you resolve your insurance-related concerns. With your permission, we can work directly with your insurance provider to confirm your coverage and verify your benefits. This may include helping you determine if your short-term disability policy will provide you with a temporary income during the time that you will be away from work for treatment. 

What If My Short-Term Disability Insurance Doesn’t Cover Mental Health?

If you have asked the question, “Does my short-term disability plan cover mental health?” and been told that it does not, you may have begun to wonder if you should abandon your efforts to get help.

At Arbor Wellness, we completely understand how difficult it can be to forgo your income, even on a short-term basis, in order to get mental health treatment. We are also well aware of the devastating impact that untreated mental illnesses can have on virtually every part of a person’s life. Failing to seek necessary mental health services due to concerns about a temporary loss of income can expose you to significantly greater personal and financial harm in the future.

Also, even if your short-term disability policy won’t cover your time away from work – or if you don’t have disability insurance to begin with – you still may have certain job-related legal protections under the law. For example:

  • The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) allows qualified employees to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for a variety of health-related reasons, including to receive mental health treatment. Though your employer does not have to pay you during the time that you are away from work, they may be required to hold your job for you or offer you an equivalent position when you return after completing treatment.
  • The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) mandates that employees cannot be fired, denied promotion, or refused employment due to mental illness if they are capable of fulfilling all duties of the position with reasonable accommodations.
  • The Social Security Administration manages two programs – Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) – that offer financial support to individuals who have certain disabling conditions, which can include severe mental illnesses.

Some states also offer disability payments for qualified workers. To learn more about this level of financial support, visit your state government’s website.

Find Mental Health Treatment in Nashville

Arbor Wellness offers personalized mental health programming at the residential, partial hospitalization, and intensive outpatient levels. In each program and at every level of care, you can expect to receive customized care from a team of dedicated and compassionate professionals. We can assess your needs, develop an individualized plan just for you, and provide the focused services that will put you on the path toward improved health.

To learn more or to schedule a free assessment, please visit our Admissions page or call our center today.