Many people in the United States live with some form of mental illness, and with more and more people staying indoors due to COVID-19, higher numbers of anxiety-related issues have risen. According to a survey from the Kaiser Family Foundation, more than half of America’s workers reported that COVID-19 had a negative impact on their mental health.
Due to the prevalence of mental illness, employees and employers alike must understand workers’ rights living and working with mental health issues. Read more about where employees and employers stand on the role of mental health in the world of workers’ compensation.
An Overview of Workers’ Compensation
In general, to be given workers’ compensation benefits, the injury or illness must arise from the course of employment. Typically, the injury must be severe enough, requiring more than just first aid, for it to receive coverage. Each state has its own workers’ compensation program with particular definitions. This means that there are unique requirements to meet each state’s workers’ compensation system.
Employers sometimes require their employees to undergo a physical examination to confirm the extent of the workplace illness. So, where does this coverage stand for mental illness issues, such as bipolar, anxiety, depression, and extra stress?
Workers’ Compensation and Mental Illnesses
All employees in the United States dealing with mental health issues are protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Rights for employees include not being fired for their mental wellbeing, not being discriminated against or harassed, and being provided reasonable accommodations.
Employees can choose to keep their mental illness to themselves. Still, when an issue is known or when it ends up affecting work, an employer may have the right to require a medical exam to determine whether an employee can return to work. In some situations, workers may file a claim for work-related mental health issues, such as more stress from working from home.
For instance, if an incident at work causes someone to have anxiety or post-traumatic stress, this could result in a valid workers’ compensation claim. Depression and anxiety caused by their job could also lead to lawsuits, which employers are seeing more of today in the wake of COVID-19.
Many people wonder whether they qualify for workers’ compensation following a traumatic incident at work, but this depends on the nature of the incident. PTSD, for instance, occurs when a person is exposed to actual or threatened death, serious injury, or sexual violence. From teachers witnessing a school shooting to first responders seeing the carnage of a call they respond to, there are many ways someone may adopt PTSD in their job line. For these professionals, continuing to work in the environment in which the trauma happened may be triggering.
To receive workers’ compensation for injuries in individual states, such as California, the employee must have been employed for a minimum length of time. Such claims may find support primarily by the treating doctor’s written or verbal testimony. Medical records must contain information regarding the employee’s background, development history, personal problems, performance reviews, and more.
About InsureMyWorkComp & Their Workers Comp Solutions
InsureMyWorkComp is a digital brokerage that helps clients find the right workers’ compensation solution for their business needs, such as occupational accident insurance. Unlike other online platforms, we will help you to work with an agent who can provide you the right solution for your risk profile. Our staff has over 50 years of workers’ compensation underwriting and sales experience, and we are confident that we will provide you the support that you need. For more information or to get a quote, contact us today at (855) 340-9138.