Disability Retirement for Mental Health Issues
Disability Retirement & Industrial Disability Retirement allow a covered employee to collect retirement benefits prior to full retirement age IF the employee proves that he or she is unable to work due to a disability.
The key element in a disability retirement application is proving that the employee no longer has the ability to perform the essential functions of their current position due to their illness or injury. In cases of a physical injury or ailment, this can usually be fairly straightforward to document.
But when a mental health conditions forms the basis for a disability retirement application, there are more hurdles to overcome. This is because there is not a definitive test – like a blood test or x-ray – that can provide documented proof of a mental health issue.
Each case is evaluated on an individual case-by-case basis, so no disability retirement lawyer can tell you if any one condition will qualify to get an employee accepted for disability retirement. Instead, it will hinge on the ability to show that the mental illness prevents the employee from performing their work duties.
Mental Health Conditions & Disability Retirement
That being said, there are many examples for cases in which our specialized disability retirement attorneys have successfully obtained benefits for CalPERS, CalSTRS, OCERS, LaCERA and other public employees.
Here are just a few examples of mental health conditions that have successfully been approved for disability retirement benefits.
Bipolar Disorder & Disability Retirement
In a situation where extreme outbursts of rage and anger coupled with an inability to get along with co-workers or supervisors was shown, a Judge found that the appellant’s Bipolar disorder prevented her from accomplishing the essential functions of her job, thereby qualifying her for disability retirement.
Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) / Depression & Disability Retirement
Collecting disability retirement for a depressive disorder can be more difficult because, by their very nature, the symptoms may come and go. Your Disability Retirement attorney must show the whole impact of MDD, since claims may be denied if the Administrative Judges decides that there are other “treatment or medication options” still available, or that a Major Depressive “condition” has had periods or “remission and therefore not lasted a year.
Anxiety Disorders & Disability Retirement
A “generalized anxiety disorder” can qualify for disability requirement IF it can be shown that symptoms (such as an inability to concentrate, or the incapacity to deal with others in the workplace) are severe enough to prevent the worker from performing their job duties.
Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) & Disability Retirement
BPD is a particularly debilitating condition. It’s symptoms of instability in relationships, mood and identity; impulsivity; anger; frantic efforts to avoid abandonment; and alternation between idealization and denigration of others, can often successfully form the basis of a disability retirement application.
Like other mental conditions, the judge will need to be convinced that there are no other “treatment or medication options” still available.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) & Disability Retirement
Unfortunately, PTSD is a common and unavoidable mental health issue for many public employees – including law enforcement, firefighters and first responders – due to the very nature of their employment. But the good news is that PTSD is becoming more understood and recognized, as the general social prejudice against mental health conditions is being countered with public education about PTSD and other disorders.
As PTSD acceptance in mainstream society is increasingly recognized as a “real” medical condition, our experienced disability retirement attorneys have seen an increase in claims approved for PTSD.
When PTSD is job related (due to events that occurred in the course of employment) a worker is entitled to Industrial Retirement Disability. And remember, there is NO age requirement and NO “vesting” (years of service) required to be eligible for Industrial Disability Retirement under most public employee systems.
PTSD – whether job-related or not – is often characterized by symptoms that severely impaired an employee’s ability to do their job, including inability to concentrate or to engage in critical thinking and planning. Therefore, it can often form the basis for a successful disability retirement claim.
Mental Health Disability Retirement Attorneys
There are many more mental health conditions that can – and have – led to approval for disability retirement benefits. And an experienced disability retirement attorney – like the lawyers at Cantrell Green – can help you overcome prejudices involved with mental health conditions, as well as document and prove that your condition prevents you from performing your job duties.
It is always best to consult with a lawyer who is specialized in disability retirement for public employees in the for CalPERS, CalSTRS, OCERS, LaCERA and other public employee benefit systems.
If you have questions about disability retirement contact an attorney at Cantrell Green today for a free, confidential consultation.
Free Consultation with a Disability Retirement Attorney: 562-622-4800
The rules, laws or regulations governing how a public retirement system is administered varies from system to system. If you have question about your specific public employee retirement system, find your system, below – or call our attorneys at: 562-622-4800
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Our highly specialized disability retirement attorneys are committed to ensuring that every injured or disabled public employee obtains the disability retirement benefits he or she has earned.
We have successfully filed hundreds of disability retirement applications and appeals – obtaining millions of dollars in disability retirement benefits in our four decades of legal service.
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