Disability Attorneys Must Be Prepared

As if people with mental problems didn’t have enough headaches, America’s psychiatrists are changing their mental disorder guidebook, according to a recent article by the Associated Press.

This would be the Fifth Edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V), published by the American Psychiatric Association. The revision has been in the works for several years.

Many people might not consider this announcement earth-shaking. But the DSM’s definitions define the clinical characterization and treatment of mental problems. Disability insurance companies and school systems usually base their decisions on benefits on how the DSM defines mental conditions and the treatments recommended.

Scheduled for publication next May, the new DSM seeks to capture the current state of knowledge of psychiatric disorders, according to the Association.

Just what effect the new DSM will have on the care and treatment of people with mental disorders will have to await publication of the manual and digestion of its contents by the lay, medical and insurance communities.

One thing we are sure of, insurance people will be all over the manual with a fine tooth comb, looking for new excuses not to pay mental disability claimants, or how to stop payments to some already being paid benefits. How do we know this? Because we fight with these companies every day over claims that are as plain as the nose on your face to everybody, except insurers.

Any attorney involved in a mental disability claim must be familiar with the new DSM and study it. Disability and ERISA lawyers must follow comments on the Guide which are bound to be published shortly after it is published so as to be up on the latest thinking in this field of claims law.

Knowing as much or more about the DSM changes than insurance company’s minions is an absolute must. Disability income insurance attorneys are bound to be bombarded with calls from beneficiaries who are being threatened by insurers with a loss of benefits because of how insurance companies interpret the new DSM.

Like the Boy Scouts, these attorneys must “Be Prepared”.