Tag Archives: mental illness law book

A Bad Time at Work

When mental health symptoms mix with pressures at work, an employee might do something regrettable: argue with a boss or customer, damage equipment, mess up a deal– the possibilities are endless.

When this kind of thing happens, the employee probably needs to add or change medications, have more intensive therapy, or change his or her mental health treatment in some other way. It is quite likely a good idea for this person to take time off under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)– especially if the job benefits include health insurance that will pay for the mental health treatment that will make this employee ready to return to work.

Chapter 16 of Family Guide to Mental Illness and the Law explains how family members can assert a worker’s FMLA rights, what FMLA does for employees, and why it is good that FMLA can usually keep the job available until the employee’s health is resolved.

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Treatment Standards

Every state has a “mental health code” containing laws about mental health treatment. These laws identify the various forms of voluntary and involuntary commitment available in the state, establish standards for evaluating and serving mental health patients, and explain how the state will enforce proper mental health treatment practices. Simply enter your state name and the phrase “mental health code” in a search engine to find your state’s laws on these topics.

When you get turned down for disability

After being denied SSI or SSDI disability benefits on the initial application and then again on the Request for Reconsideration, people with psychiatric conditions have a lot riding on their OHA hearings. The OHA hearing is the first real opportunity to show how mental health symptoms affect functioning.

If the hearing doesn’t result in benefits, do not despair! The disappointing letter from the Administrative Law Judge is really an instruction manual telling you how to prove the claim the next time.

Does it say that there are certain kinds of jobs that you should be able to do? Try those jobs– exactly those jobs or as close as you can get in your community. See what happens. If one works out, good! You’ll have an income. If none of them work out, you have proof for your next hearing that you aren’t able to do those jobs.

Does it say that you didn’t demonstrate certain symptoms? If you really do have those symptoms, think about who has seen them: friends, relatives, police, business owners… and get those people to write descriptive letters for your next hearing.

Chapter 2 of Family Guide to Mental Illness and the Law has much more information about proving disability. Look for the book at your public library.

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