Compassionate Guidance For
Workers’ Compensation and Social Security Disability

Does workers’ compensation cover mental health issues?

Workers Compensation

There are many medical issues that can affect someone’s job performance. People can break bones or develop repetitive stress injuries. Some people become physically incapable of working. Other times, mental health issues are what affect someone’s work. Depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) could all prevent someone from maintaining gainful employment.

Occasionally, workers may assert that the conditions affecting their ability to work are actually the result of their employment. For example, a first responder who helps after a catastrophic car crash might develop PTSD because of what they witnessed.

Can employees who develop mental health issues because of their work pursue workers’ compensation benefits for those challenges in Arizona?

Mental health claims are unusual and challenging

In theory, a broad assortment of different medical issues could affect someone’s ability to work, and workers’ compensation can help in many cases. Those who can clearly connect their mental health challenges to their prior work responsibilities can sometimes pursue workers’ compensation benefits.

However, Arizona has rules specifically limiting such claims. Typically, the incident that leads to someone’s injury must be unusual and unexpected. An assault in the workplace that traumatizes a retail employee might qualify them for workers’ compensation benefits. First responders, who accept jobs that they know may expose them to violence and trauma, often do not qualify for benefits.

Even those who might theoretically qualify often face an uphill battle, as they must establish that their job caused the condition and that their symptoms prevent them from maintaining gainful employment. Unlike physical injury claims, which are often straightforward and simple, workers’ compensation claims related to mental health challenges are often among the most difficult to pursue.

Workers hoping to obtain benefits may need guidance as they evaluate their case and support when pursuing benefits. The mental health challenges of PTSD and similar conditions often make complicated claims particularly difficult for workers to pursue. The stronger the connection between a specific, unusual incidents and someone’s mental health challenges, the better their chances of prevailing when they take the matter to court.

Learning about the rules that apply to workers’ compensation claims may benefit those struggling with the health consequences of their careers. Someone who qualifies for benefits can more easily afford treatment and can replace lost wages until they can return to work.