Untreated Postpartum Leads to Denied Disability Claim

Untreated Postpartum Leads to Denied Disability Claim

Lorraine started working as a postal worker when she was in her early 20s. She loved the job – she had a flexible schedule, the job was physical, and it kept her up and moving where other desk jobs didn’t. Lorraine had lived with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) for most of her life. She appreciated that her job helped her spend more time outside, active, and on her feet. The increase in physical activity truly helped her cope with her SAD, and made life infinitely easier. The condition still persisted, but she felt in control of it.  

When she had her daughter, however, things seemed to change. She started to notice changes in her mood that she wasn’t able to account for. She’d spent years getting used to her SAD, she knew how to identify it and its symptoms. This was something different. She felt lethargic, constantly sleep deprived – as if she were walking through a haze. Getting out of bed felt impossible. Lorraine and her partner at the time wrote it off as mild postpartum depression and assumed she would be able to handle it the way she had taken care of her SAD all these years.

Eventually, her relationship disintegrated, and she found herself a single mother of a five-year-old working a full-time job. She started suffering from panic attacks that would strike in the middle of the day and leave her feeling nauseated or even vomiting while on her route. Lorraine consulted her family physician who suggested that she had been suffering from postpartum depression (PPD) all these years without adequate treatment, leading to severe, prolonged depressive episodes. She was prescribed SSRIs (serotonin-reuptake inhibitors) for the depression, but the medication started to affect her in profoundly negative ways, actually worsening her nausea, and having little to no effect on her anxiety. She found it progressively more difficult to function at work and at home, needing her mother’s help to function on a day-to-day basis.

Eventually, it became clear that Lorraine could not keep working full time the way she had all these years. She needed to take some time to truly cope with her PPD and recover so that she could lead a normal, happy life with her daughter. She applied for long-term disability and had her claim accepted. After a month and a half, however, that decision was overturned. Through surveillance, the insurance company noted that she should still be able to continue working as her mother was helping out at home. What this failed to take into account was that she was struggling on a daily basis just to get out of bed. The help at home would make no difference if she couldn’t take the time off the job to truly recover and be there for her little girl.

One day, her mother got frustrated and started searching online for options for Lorraine. That’s when she stumbled upon Share Lawyers. Thankfully, we were able to fight the insurance company on Lorraine’s behalf.  We assisted Lorraine is getting more medical treatment and arguing that just because her mother is helping her at home does not lessen Lorraine’s legitimate claim.

After a fight with the insurance company that lasted many months, Share Lawyers was able to negotiate a settlement whereby Lorraine was compensated for all her back benefits and several years into the future. This allowed her to continue to get the help she needed to move on with her life.

*All client names and identifying details have been changed to protect the confidentiality of all involved.

 

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