Question from an IIABNY member: One of my clients has an employee who has missed work due to mental illness. Is this employee eligible for benefits under the New York disability benefits law?
Answer: Article 9 of the New York Workers’ Compensation Law pertains to disability benefits. Sect. 201 states:
As used in this article:…
8. " Injury " and " sickness " mean accidental injury, disease, infection or illness or incapacitation as a result of being an organ donor in a transplant operation.
9. A. " Disability " during employment means the inability of an employee, as a result of injury or sickness not arising out of and in the course of an employment, to perform the regular duties of his employment or the duties of any other employment which his employer may offer him at his regular wages and which his injury or sickness does not prevent him from performing. "Disability" during unemployment means the inability of an employee, as a result of injury or sickness not arising out of and in the course of an employment, to perform the duties of any employment for which he is reasonably qualified by training and experience.
B. " Disability " also includes disability caused by or in connection with a pregnancy.
Sect. 205 states:
No employee shall be entitled to benefits under this article:
1. For more than twenty-six weeks during a period of fifty-two consecutive calendar weeks or during any one period of disability;
2. For any period of disability during which an employee…with respect to a disability resulting from a condition which may lawfully be treated by a duly registered and licensed psychologist of the state of New York…for any period of such disability during which an employee is neither under the care of a physician…nor a psychologist…and provided such employee shall submit to all physical examinations as required by this chapter…
Based on this, it appears that an employee can receive disability benefits for a condition that may lawfully be treated by a psychologist if the employee is under a psychologist’s care. Interesting question.