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Are Mental Health Illnesses Covered Under Workers’ Compensation?

February 27, 2022

The workers’ compensation program assists with injuries that occur on the job. Most commonly, physical injuries are easily identified and addressed.

Mental health challenges are just as debilitating as many physical injuries, and the workplace is often a cause for stress and anxiety. There may be some entitlement to workers’ compensation benefits if an individual receives a mental illness diagnosis.

Common provisions under workers’ compensation

The most influential factor for benefits eligibility is the illness or injury occurring during or as a result of employment. Workplace accidents tend to be easily recognized, but workplace illnesses are also eligible for compensation. Long-term exposure to unsafe pollutants often leads to illnesses diagnosed during the course of employment.

Eligibility for mental health claims

Stress, anxiety and depression are mental illnesses that can occur during the course of employment, as can post-traumatic stress disorder. Many individuals experience workplace stress on a daily basis, and minor mental health concerns are not a part of workers’ compensation eligibility. Conditions must be debilitating to the point where completing required tasks and functions is difficult. When psychiatric interventions are necessary to function, this adds further support to the severity of the condition.

The challenge for those dealing with mental illness is the burden of proof required for coverage eligibility. The individual must adequately demonstrate the issue at work, most often referring to a specific event. There are occasions where a high-stress profession might provide grounds for a compensation claim made against the workplace environment.

Legal counsel and sufficient medical documentation are necessary when pursuing a workers’ compensation claim for mental illness.

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