It’s being called a “pink-collar” burnout crisis because it’s largely affecting caregiver occupations. Over the last few years, burnout has had a dramatic effect on teachers, nurses and child-care providers.
However, burnout is also having an effect on other parts of the healthcare and caregiver fields. Nursing home employees, social workers, pharmacists and even doctors are also feeling the consequences of all the stress they’ve been under due to the pressures on our medical and social systems as a whole.
So, here’s the real question: Can you rely on your short-term disability benefits if burnout is making it impossible to do your job? Maybe. Here’s what you need to know:
“Burnout” isn’t exactly a medical diagnosis
Everybody pretty much acknowledges that burnout is real, but it doesn’t exactly come with a diagnostic code that can be put down on an insurance claim form. Most likely, if you try to file a disability claim for burnout, your claim will be denied. The insurance company will likely say that “hating your job” isn’t a disability and that the pressures of your job merely come with the territory.
If you want your short-term disability claim to be approved, it’s important to determine whether or not you have a specific, diagnosable condition – one that qualifies under your policy – that underlies your burnout. Commonly, conditions associated with burnout include:
- ● Post-traumatic stress disorder
- ● Chronic anxiety and panic disorder
- ● Chronic depression
- When you realize that you’re suffering from burnout, it’s important to have a frank discussion with your primary care physician and seek a recommendation or referral to a mental health provider. You should also ask for a workup to determine if there is any physical cause of your symptoms, including something like anemia, diabetes or chronic fatigue syndrome.
You purchased short-term or long-term disability benefits because you knew the risks that are associated with your occupation. You expected those benefits to be there when you needed them. If your disability claim isn’t going as you’d hoped, it may be time to explore additional options.