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Does mental illness qualify for workers' compensation?

As an employee in New York, you may qualify for workers' compensation if you sustain an injury on the job. In general, workers' compensation benefits allow you to continue receiving income while you recover from an injury you got at work. Many claims involve physical injuries, but there are numerous mental health issues that could affect your ability to work. While mental illness may affect your life just as much as a physical injury, getting workers' compensation for it may be a complicated process.

While working often provides mental health benefits, some work environments may lead to mental illnesses. If you experience stress or anxiety about your job, it may lead to a mental illness such as depression or panic disorder. A hostile work environment may have adverse effects on your mental health as well. Mental health issues may be more common in certain professions. For example, first responders, law enforcement personnel and military veterans may experience higher rates of work-related mental health issues.

FindLaw states that many mental health conditions may negatively affect your ability to work. Some common issues include emotional distress, anxiety and stress. The key to determining whether workers' compensation covers a mental health issue is figuring out if the problem is work-related. While the connection between a mental health condition and work may be obvious in some situations, you may have a hard time proving a connection in other circumstances. For example, if an experience in your workplace leads to post-traumatic stress disorder, it may be clear that the condition is work-related. However, it may be harder to prove that your job worsened a preexisting diagnosis of depression.

This information on mental illness and workers' compensation is intended for educational purposes and should not be interpreted as legal advice.

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