How To Get Short-Term Disability For Mental Health? The Legal Ways To Know

Mental health is as important as physical health. Being mentally disordered for the time being or long term, it’s impossible to be productive and add value to the job you are doing. In such situations, you have the right to get short-term disability.

But how to get short-term disability for mental health? There are mainly three steps to complete. Getting medical proof, filling out a claim form from your HR department, and submitting the files to the right authorities (to the HR department or to the insurance company).

Before claiming a short-term disability, several facts are related to knowing properly for a successful claim. In this article, we will talk about when you are eligible for a claim, how to claim the file, and what to do if the file is declined.

How To Get Short-Term Disability For Mental Health

What Does Short-Term Disability Mean?

Short-term disability is the situation when you are unable to work in your office, and authorities pay you for the period of the inability. But, the disabilities must be non-job related.

Let me explain well. For example, you are working as a data entry operator. If you get injured in your legs or any other parts that are curable but do not affect your hand permanently, you are eligible for short-term disability.

However, if you somehow lose your hands, you can no longer work even after recovering. In this case, short-term disability is not applicable to you.

Mental health issues are included for the approval of short-term disability. If short-term mental disabilities are not permanent, like anxiety, depression, or PTSD, etc., almost all employers who offer short-term disability include them on the list of eligibility.

If a short-term disability is approved, you will get compensation for living and medical costs for the time you are not able to work.

The period of short-term disability is mostly between 3 to 6 months. But, sometimes it could be up to 1 year and as low as 30 days.

By the way, according to a study by the National Institute of Mental Health, among every 5 people, 1 has a mental illness in the USA. So, this is literally a big issue here.

What Are The Eligible Reasons To Claim For Short-Term Disability For Mental Health?

Several mental issues cover short-term disability for employees. Here are some of the mental health issues as regards.

  • Anxiety And Panic Disorder

Anxiety and panic disorder are on the list for short-term disability. Anxiety affects your brain and pushes you to fear, overthink, and uneasiness. On the other hand, if you have a panic condition, you could experience a panic or fear attack at any time.

Though they could be normal problems for a huge workload or in any other crucial events, it is not normal when they exceed the limit.

  • Depression

When you are depressed, you will lose interest in work, and sadness will be your company. In this situation, you can’t work properly. You have the right to take a break before this turns into a clinical depression.

  • PTSD

If you have just experienced something horrifying and it constantly gives you nightmares, flashbacks, uncontrolled thoughts, and anxiety, it’s affecting your job. In such cases, you can apply for short-term disability.

  • OCD

When someone is suffering from obsessive-compulsive disorder(OCD), he/she may experience obsessiveness in daily life. For example, biting nails and pulling hair. He is not able to tolerate difficulties anymore.

From Whom Will You Be Funded For Short-Term Disability?

If you are in a company, there are two ways you can get paid for your short-term disability for mental health.

  1. From the Employer- The office administration or your employer can directly fund you.
  2. From Insurance Company- Aside from the employer themselves, they may work with insurance companies. In such a case, the insurance company will fund you for short-term disability.

In most cases, insurance-based short-term disability models are implemented. Even the combination of both models could be there too.

Process To Claim For Short-Term Disability For Mental Health

Claiming for short-term disability is not that complex. When you are little known on how to get short-term disability for mental health, the main tasks are to go through some paperwork and legal documents. They are as follows.

●    Health Report By Physician For Medical Evidence

The first and foremost step is to get a medical certificate for your current mental condition. A registered physician will check your health and will certify that you are mentally ill.

He will mention your current condition, the treatment you need, and the effect of the condition on your daily life. By the way, you have to be honest and make sure you are not cheating.

Getting a short-term disability for mental health is sometimes tough because many people try to fake medical documents. When you are ready with legal and medical evidence, you are ready for the next step.

●    Filling Up The Administrative Claim Form

After getting the medical certificates, you have to fill up a claim form from your office administration. After completing the forms with the required information, submit your claim form along with the medical certificate to your administrative department.

●    Review And The Next Step

After submitting your claim form, your HR department will submit the form to the insurance company (or review themselves if they cover the disability payment). If everything is okay, you should get approved for a short time disability for your mental health.

Legal Steps To Take If The Claim Is Denied

Sometimes the application could be denied for reasons. One of the reasons is an ongoing problem. If you have mental issues which are permanent, the chance is very high the claim will be denied.

Aside from this, this could have happened to several policy violations. In this case, the insurance company will mail you details of why they denied your claim.

By the way, make sure you are submitting your claim with all the necessary details and documents. Don’t skip anything mistakenly. Also, you can add a personal letter explaining your personal experience with the mental issues you are facing.

However, everyone has the right to appeal the denial, and so do you. If you have applied by maintaining the plan of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act(ERISA) and are denied somehow, you can appeal against the decision.

For this, you should take help from an experienced lawyer.


The following frequently asked questions will help you to clear up some additional facts about short-term disability.

Q: Does Short-Term Disability Ensure Your Job Protection?

Officially, there is no job protection when you are on leave due to your short-term disability, unfortunately.  However, this depends on the situation. Or, you may get another position when you go back to work.

Q: What Is The Amount I Shall Get As The Paycheck Of Short-Term Disability?

In most cases, you will get 50% to 60% of your weekly income though some companies may provide 100% of your monthly salary, this is rare.

Q: What Is the Shortest Number Of Days For Short-Term Disability?

The shortest time for short-term disability is as low as 30 days.

Final Note

Knowing how to get short-term disability for mental health is crucial to get a claim approved successfully. Remember, you have to have legal reasons and medical documents.

Also, you have to apply according to the policies of your company or the insurance company. Also, don’t violate any rules mistakenly. Check your filled form and documents thoroughly before submitting the claim file.

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