Approximately 30 million Americans suffer from eating disorders. People develop these disorders for a number of reasons, and sometimes that reason stems from something that happens with their jobs. As an employee, you may wonder if workers' compensation will help pay for eating disorder treatments. It may be possible to get the insurance company to pick up the tab for your treatment, but the process of getting approved can be challenging. Here's what you need to know.
The Challenges of Getting Approved for Benefits
Although they have a physical element, eating disorders are typically classified as mental or psychiatric injuries by workers' compensation. The insurance agency will pay benefits to employees who suffer from these problems, but qualifying for them is much more challenging than getting workers' comp for physical injuries for two reasons.
First, mental health disorders are internal problems that can be difficult to verify and quantify using external measures. Eating disorders manifest physically and have some well-known symptoms, so it may be easier to prove your condition than it would be if you had depression, anxiety, or other psychiatric issues that occur primarily in the mind. Still, you will need to have a doctor definitively diagnose you with an eating disorder and attest that the severity of it interferes with your ability to work.
Second, you must connect your eating disorder to your work environment. As mentioned previously, a person can develop one for any number of reasons including negative body image, emotional trauma (e.g. abuse), and hormone dysfunction. You would have to show that, more likely than not, your job was the cause of your disorder. For instance, if you became anorexic because your coworkers were bullying you about your weight, you would need to present evidence supporting this claim.
Some states set a minimum percentage of liability that must be attributed to the workplace for the employee to be approved. In California, for example, you must show workplace conditions were at least 51 percent responsible for your injury. In addition to providing evidence of the adverse working conditions you were subjected to, you may have to open your private life up to scrutiny to show nothing there could have caused, or contributed very little to, your eating disorder.
Getting Help with Your Journey
Your workers' compensation claim can be immensely helped by starting your journey towards wellness and beginning treatment. Not only will you receive the evaluations needed to prove you are suffering from an eating disorder, but the act of receiving treatment for it can serve as a form of validation for yourself and the workers' comp agent handling your claim. Although you may have to pay out of pocket for it at first, you may be reimbursed for the therapy by workers' compensation once your claim is approved.
For more information about this issue, treatment options for eating disorders, or financing your recovery, contact a treatment facility such as Rooted in Recovery Counseling & Coaching, LLC.
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