Do workers’ compensation benefits cover mental health-related claims?

Mental illness continues to be an issue plaguing the country’s adult population, affecting the daily lives of nearly one in five (19.9%) Americans, the latest figures from Mental Health America (MHA) reveal. The number, according to the non-profit’s 2022 Prevalence Data, is equivalent to almost 50 million US adults, up from about 47 million in the previous year.

Mental illness, however, can carry a more far-reaching impact that goes beyond the individuals who are suffering from such issues. Mental health problems – including stress, anxiety, and depression – if left untreated, can make a seemingly straightforward task almost unmanageable, which can lead to poor outcomes in the workplace and exorbitant costs for companies.

Recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that mental issues such as depression result in an estimated 200 million lost workdays annually, costing employers between $17 billion and $44 billion. Mental illness is also a major cause of “disability, absenteeism, presenteeism, and productivity loss” among working-age adults.

These figures point to the need for mental health problems to be taken seriously, according to the consumer legal information website Nolo. However, not all mental issues are covered by workers’ compensation benefits.

“The law gives you the right to seek workers’ comp for mental health issues in certain circumstances,” the site explained. “But there are many hurdles to overcome in proving your claim.”


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