Depressed Lady Loses Benefits Because Of Her Facebook Photos

A depressed woman has lost her benefits because her insurance agent found Facebook photos where she appears to be having fun.

CBC reports:

A Quebec woman on long-term sick leave is fighting to have her benefits reinstated after her employer’s insurance company cut them, she says, because of photos posted on Facebook…She said her insurance agent described several pictures Blanchard posted on the popular social networking site, including ones showing her having a good time at a Chippendales bar show, at her birthday party and on a sun holiday – evidence that she is no longer depressed, Manulife said.

While Canada has a magical health care system where a unicorn wearing a blue pocketed shirt shows up at your door and your benefits stream out its mouth in a Care Bear rainbow, the fairy dust apparently does not extend to their private insurance market.

In any event, depression is an illness diagnosed by doctors, not by desk jerks conducting amateur “photographic analysis.”


Edit Your Comment

  1. Sure I could agree with you, but then we'd BOTH be wrong. says:

    Wow. Just wow. That’s messed up, but this is the way of the future…. Put things on a public site, and the public can see it.

    • ubermex says:

      @Dooley: She could have walked in and handed it to them, it still doesn’t actually prove that she’s not depressed. Depression, you may know, is an actual illness that is diagnosed by actual doctors, not desk jockeys looking at photos.

      • bhr says:

        @ubermex: maybe, but if she is well enough to party and go for vacation she could probably be working. As someone who has battled depression his whole life, the antisocial aspects apply in every facet.

        She may well be fighting depression, but at the very least she should have to recertify (see a new shrink) to keep off of work.

        • Lez Lemon says:

          @bhr: Is she not allowed to do anything? “Stop smiling, you’re supposed to be on sick leave!”

          • bhr says:

            @Lez Lemon: She can do whatever she wants. But if she is being paid to not go to work then she has to understand that there may well be restrictions on her activities.

            I see this as being similar to a guy who I waited tables with in college. He was on extended leave/workers comp because he hurt his leg at work. In the meantime he won a local golf club tournament. Our employer noticed and reported him. The truth was he was hurt enough that he could no longer stay working on his feet 8hrs/day but could ride a golf cart from hole to hole and stand up a couple minutes at a time. He was forced to go to a company-selected doctor to certify he was still injured.

            • kobresia says:

              @bhr: Exactly. And there’s nothing wrong with accountability. Sick days and sick leave aren’t vacations. It’s like calling-in sick to work– if you go to a ballgame instead of staying home, you’re gaming the system. If she’s on long term sick leave due to depression, it sort-of becomes her job to demonstrate she’s too depressed to function. Partying at a bar and having fun at the beach seem to indicate that she can indeed function just fine, at least when she feels like it.

              Having dealt with an immediate family member’s clinical depression, I’ll just throw out there that I find it rather suspect that the subject of this story could have fun at all. People with severe forms of this illness, so severe that they’re less than functional, really can’t have fun. At all. Even in “fun” situations, they usually look indifferent and isolated from everyone else– they can no more function in what should be a fun environment as anywhere else.

              And Facebook, really? How have people not yet learned that it’s not private and anything you post on it can and will be used against you for any reason? It’s a DIRECTORY. Its whole point is NETWORKING. It’s only prudent to assume everyone who interacts with you in any way knows everything about you that you reveal there.

            • domcolosi says:

              To be honest, though, that sounds fair. You can see where the owner got suspicious, and in your co-worker’s case the newly-selected doctor can easily verify what you said.

              If this woman in the article is still depressed enough to be on sick leave, a second opinion should clear things up for her. If she isn’t, then she needs to get back to work.

        • pdj79 says:

          @bhr: I’ll give you an amen to that. This is no different than someone getting Workman’s Compensation for a back injury and then being caught hanging up Christmas lights by themselves. If you’re too depressed to work, then you’re too depressed to have greased-up men rub their junk in your face.

          • katstermonster says:

            @pdj79: @squinko: That’s not true. If my friend tags me in a picture, their friends can still see these pictures, even if I am not friends with them. I believe the tagged person’s name is not clickable, but it’s still there.

          • The Porkchop Express says:

            @pdj79: nobody is ever too depressed for that.

        • Rachacha says:

          @bhr: Could not agree more. If she is on extended leave from work for depression because she is apparently so depressed (or so jacked up on anti-depressants) that she can not work, I would not expect to see her on extended vacations, strip clubs etc. If she were well enough to do those things, I would expect that she were well enough to go back to work at least in some capacity.

          • lupinthethird says:

            @Rachacha: were the pictures old? and it doesnt say she’s on leave for depression, so she could be on leave for something else and BE depressed

        • mobiuschic42 says:

          @bhr: OK, as someone who has also battled depression my whole life, the antisocial aspects apply to *YOU*. Depression varies wildly among people. Don’t just assume that because you had symptom/feeling x when you’re depressed means every other person diagnosed with depression will have x.

        • mon0zuki says:

          @bhr: I agree she should have to rectify to keep off work.

          But I’m not sure a lot of you folk understand the scope of depression, and what it really entails.

          Just because someone’s depressed doesn’t mean they can’t smile – but the key is how far down that smile reaches, and how long they can hold it. A depressed person might be able to be ok one day, but the next, they literally can’t pull themselves out of bed.

          A lot of it is about CONSISTENT functionality.

          Plus, who’s to say she wasn’t on the long road to recovery? She may have been towards the end of her leave, or might have been trying to reach some normalcy to get herself back on track.

          And who said someone who’s depressed HAS to be effing upset ALL THE TIME? Wouldn’t that just make you MORE depressed?

          Not to mention that people are not thinking about the possibility that her friends pulled her out of her house to try and cheer her up. ‘Cause, you know, friends do try and do that.

          • BeerManMike says:

            @mon0zuki: You know what depressed people are? beaten, given up, can’t take it anymore, quitters. Get the hell up and making something for yourself, quit blaming the system(s) and make your own way. You know all those 1,000s of movies where the bum builds his way to a million dollar partner? he/she was depressed, got the fuck up and did something.

            Sure, she shouldn’t be sitting around feeling bad for herself, but milking work money while going out and socializing isn’t helping either and only reenforces her so called “depression”. I for one, believe she is/was milking the system and wants to be a dreamer where she has a income flow for “free” and gets to do whatever she wants during her life. She needs to man the fuck up and do work, win the lottery or marry a rich sucker like those lazy ass blonds in pasadena that go out to lunch and drink shit loads of wine everyday with other lazy ass “housewifes”. She doesn’t need help, she needs a rich man or start living in the real world.

          • bhr says:

            @mon0zuki: Thats all I’m saying. Not that she should have to go back. Simply that this calls in to question her ailment and she should have to submit to an examination

            • SadSam says:


              Hello people, if you apply for a job, if you seek disability benefits, if you are involved in litigation, etc., etc., etc. and you have a social networking site any information on said site will be used against you.

              This is now standard and even if its on private it is still subjet to discovery.

              Facebook investigation is a lot cheaper than sending out an investigator to video tape you playing soccer when you claim you have a back injury that keeps you from working.

        • burquedude says:

          @bhr: Perhaps the photo is from a different time in her life. Since she is depressed is she required to put up a photo that reflects her depression?

          Next time I have a doctor’s appointment email my Facebook photo and he can use that to diagnose me.

      • Cyberxion101 says:

        @ubermex: My thoughts exactly. I struggle with depression, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t have a good time every once in awhile.

      • Optimistic Prime says:

        @ubermex: But if you’re sooooo depressed you’re living on the dole because you can’t leave your house to work, you’re too depressed to go out and have a good time. This lady was abusing the system and got caught.

      • henrygates says:

        @ubermex: Not only that, but she might be on medication that controls her depression. Pull the coverage, take away the meds, and she falls right back.

        The main problem is that some idiot at the insurance company is clueless and thinks depression is like having the flu or something.

    • bohemian says:

      @Dooley: It wasn’t an insurance agent. It would have been a claims adjuster. Claims adjusters have about the same training and experience as the 20 something apathetically answering your Comcast customer service calls. So no, they have zero ability to determine a medical condition from your Facebook photos.

      Sad to say but this is totally typical of the employer sponsored disability and work comp insurance companies. Anything is a good excuse to deny someone’s claim anywhere in the process and it doesn’t have to make sense.

    • Dyscord says:

      @Dooley: Doesn’t matter though. She could put pictures up of her getting drunk at a party or something. Contrary to popular belief, depressed people aren’t people who sit around and never smile.

      • katstermonster says:

        @Dyscord: Thank you thank you thank you. A family friend’s son committed suicide a few months ago. Everyone knew that he has dealt with chronic depression for a long time, but his outward appearance at the time of his death was one of someone who was happy and coping. Two weeks before he killed himself, someone posted Facebook pictures of him singing and dancing at a wedding.

    • Roclawzi says:

      @Dooley: Practically everyone is missing the point. These pictures of the woman having a good time is a positive sign that she is making steps towards recovery. It is not indicative that she is recovered.

      If I were out with a back injury from my work, and after 4 weeks of rehab and exercises, I was recovered enough to carry a 10 pound bag of bird seed from the car to the back yard, that doesn’t mean I’m recovered enough to go back to work and install the 40 pound safety valves on top of the boiler. But it’s improvement and that should be hopeful (especially since none of the lazy bastards I work with ever put those valves on quite right)

      That is, of course, just an example, I’m never injury. Roclawzi strong like mule and worked like one for it!

      • BeerManMike says:

        @Roclawzi: No YOUR missing the point and have a bad analogy. One of the first steps in recovery wouldn’t be going out and having a good time on the company’s dime, it would be to slowly transition into work, wouldn’t it be easier to slowy work yourself into a routine or thrusted into a early 20something party scene?

        And if work is cause of her “depression” i got a couple million others that would love to sign up!

        • Roclawzi says:

          @BeerManMike: Depression takes many forms. Recovery can be in many forms, too. If oily man nipples makes this person start to feel like being a part of life again, who are we to judge?

  2. Segador says:

    I thought Canada had a magical health care system where a unicorn wearing a blue pocketed shirt shows up at your door and your benefits stream out its mouth in a care bear rainbow.

    No, that’s Obama’s proposal you were thinking of.

    • gStein_*|bringing starpipe back|* says:

      @Segador: unicorn Billy Mays lives in Canada?

    • waltja26 says:


      That, good sir, is funny. Seriously though, Obama’s “plan” doesn’t exist.

      • Bahnburner says:

        @waltja26: I can’t wait for the day when faceless bureaucrats control every aspect of our lives and drain every ounce of dignity and self-sufficiency from my being. That’s change I can believe in.

        • Aquasol says:

          @Bahnburner: Soooo much better than leaving a bunch of soulless greedy dickwads to deny you the right to affordable medication and insurance on any sort of whim of theirs, right? If “socialism” is bad, what about monopolies?

          I passed Go, but they took $200 from me. ;~;

          • Con Seannery says:

            @Aquasol: I’m not a big fan of either of the bills making the rounds in Congress right now. I’d much prefer to see it done with the government putting some regulations on insurance companies and doctors and providing a subsidy to people to allow them to buy insurance from private insurers than provide coverage to people directly. It also gets me that they want to tax private insurance benefits (Senate plan) and mandate insurance for everyone. That seems to me like an attempt to make it almost a necessity for everyone to get on a government-provided program by making private options unworkable for most.

        • pahncrd says:


          It is no better being under the thumb of corporations. However, if there are options from both, then we can actually have some choices in the matter. As it is, we are much less free to explore our careers since health insurance is usually tied to employment. Having a public *option* would allow those that want that freedom to have it. There is no need for you to drop your insurance if you don’t want to.

    • liquidnumb says:

      @Segador: I know of the Senate bill, I know of the Hous bill, but I’m really interested to know just what the hell “Obama’s health care plan” is.

  3. GitEmSteveDave_CanCommentz says:

    Yes Ben, Canada does have such a unicorn. But under Obama-care, we have a more powerful unicorn, which craps rainbows, so it doesn’t have to stick around!

    But seriously, if you claim depression, and there is a variety of photos from various times(photo date and time are sometimes stored even when uploaded) in which you don’t look depressed, that will work against you.

    • Ben Popken says:

      @GitEmSteveDave_CanCommentz: shouldn’t the rainbow be pointed to the right?

    • Saboth says:


      Isn’t the fact she was smiling mean her meds and treatment was working? And I’ve yet to see ANY human that is depressed 24/7, every day of the year.

      • Several says:


        As you said, to an insurance company, “the fact she was smiling means her meds and treatment (are) working” means that she may also be functional in a workplace setting thanks to the treatment. They’re not canceling all her benefits, they just believe she should be capable of returning to work.

        I’m not getting onto one side or the other here. It should be her doctor that decides if she can perform her work duties. But as SteveDave already pointed out, if you’re out for a back injury and they have photos of you lugging stuff around your front yard, you’re probably going to have to start filing some appeal papers.

      • probablykate says:

        @Saboth: As someone who’s suffered in the past from severe depression and have a family member suffering from much more severe depression, I can tell you that it’s possible to look happy and be smiling, but still feel absolutely horrible and be unable to hold down a job

        • quaru says:

          @probablykate: Yeah… As someone who has trouble with depression, it’s often a case with me of trying my best to “look happy” as it sucks when people constantly ask why you look so sad. And.. she smiled for pictures? Well, that explains it. No one does that.

    • Eyebrows McGee (now with double the baby!) says:

      @GitEmSteveDave_CanCommentz: Depression is diagnosed by a doctor and is not as simple as “I am sad all the time.” People suffering from depression can be happy, even joyful, and then typically return to a default state depression.

      • GitEmSteveDave_CanCommentz says:

        @Eyebrows McGee (now with more baby!): Oh I know that. But I’m just saying that if you life bags of cement for a living, and you get hurt, and they catch you lifting a 5lb bag of flour, they will use that against you, even though a 80lb bag of quikcrete is way different than a 5-10 bag of flour.

    • mattarse says:

      @GitEmSteveDave_CanCommentz: Yes because everyone knows you can’t have a goo dday while suffering depression, every day you should be on suicide watch.

      • HalOfBorg says:

        @mattarse: As long as I keep myself distracted, I feel OK. Watching a good TV show, eating a good meal – whatever. But let me stop and think for a moment and WHAM – the world just turns gray.

        Now that I’m on meds my bad days/times are pretty good.

    • admiral_stabbin says:

      @GitEmSteveDave_CanCommentz: Did that unicorn leave a rainbow turd behind it?!

    • cuchanu says:

      @GitEmSteveDave_HazEnvy: So by that logic if I having pictures on Facebook of me looking sad then that’s all I should need for this insurance company to start paying me for being depressed, right?

    • lordmorgul says:

      @GitEmSteveDave_HazEnvy: Steve.. depression is not medically diagnosed by looks. Looks and presence at activities should have no bearing on this whatsoever.

  4. Chumas says:

    Friendly reminder!
    If you put things on Facebook, make sure you set the security so only your friends can see them. And screen your friends wisely.

    Settings –> Privacy Settings –> Profile –> Edit Photo Album Privacy. Set it all to Friends only.

    • theblackdog says:

      @Chumas: She should look under application settings and check the settings for “Photos” just to be sure. I got burned the other day because I thought my facebook profile and all of its stuff was locked down, but it turns out that “Notes” are considered to be separate from your profile and has its own privacy settings.

      Also if her photo security was only set to “My friends and networks” who is to say that Manulife isn’t on the Montreal network and so is she, so they could see her photos.

  5. parad0x360 says:

    So depressed people cant have good days? I find it crazy that they are stalking peoples facebook pages looking for reasons to kill coverage. Time to stop putting your lives on the internet..or at least set the profiles to private.

    • kbrook says:

      @parad0x360: I was considering applying to.. someplace or other local, I can’t remember, but the application demanded the login AND password to all my email and social networking accounts. They didn’t get my application, needless to say.

      • Powerlurker says:


        Also, remember that, to the extent that they may form a legally enforceable contract, Facebook (and pretty much any other social networking site’s) terms of service prohibit you from sharing your login or password information.


  6. valueofaloonie says:

    Oh, we actually use rainbow colored polar bears. The unicorns can’t survive our harsh winters, sadly.

  7. azzy says:

    “What gives? I thought Canada had a magical health care system where a unicorn wearing a blue pocketed shirt shows up at your door and your benefits stream out its mouth in a care bear rainbow.”

    Long Term Disability coverage is not the same thing as health care.

  8. aen says:

    What would be a job title of someone who snoops around on clients’ social websites?

  9. detoth67 says:

    Unicorns? LOL! THis is the kind of mindless stupidity we have come to expect from the loony right! This is what comes from poisoning your mind with AM radio and FOX “News”.

  10. Brain.wav says:

    So… depressed people can never be happy? That’s news to me. I’ve known people that suffer from chronic depression, and still manage to have a good time now and then.

    • pdj79 says:

      @Brain.wav: It’s one thing to say “I’m too depressed to go outside today”. Its another to say “I’m too depressed that I cannot function in the workplace and need to be off work and compensated for that”. Sure, someone doesn’t have to be depressed ALL the time to have it deemed they are chronically depressed…but to claim that you cannot work because of this, and then to have pictures of you having the time of your life…it doesn’t matter if they were all from 1 particular day or not, that is enough to smear your credibility. Now, I don’t know how they do it elsewhere, but the pharmaceutical company I worked for a few years back would require that the person who is potentially defrauding the company/insurance company has to see one of their doctors/therapists/etc to determine if they are still in need of long-term disability/FMLA. They do this because some doctors are…how do I put this…friendly to the cause of “sticking it to the big wigs”.

      “Disabled” worker – “Oh woe is me, doc. I am so depressed. Everyone made me go to the strip club last night. I tried to put on a happy face, but in the end, I just wanted to kill myself more.”

      Doctor – “Yep, you still sound chronically depressed. Back to bed and 66 2/3% compensation for you.”

      • NatalieErin says:

        @pdj79: You know, it’s possible that this woman wasn’t happy for the entire night out – people usually post photos of everyone having fun.

        You can’t identify her condition on the basis of Facebook photos. That’s the doctor’s job. And contrary to your opinion, they do a lot more than rubber stamp whatever the patient says is wrong.

  11. Ruiner says:

    Im sorry, but if you’ve been getting disability for over a year for depression, and yet you are vacationing and such…. then forget it. I have MS, and i cant even get my insurance to pay ANYTHING for my meds that manage side effects because they weren’t developed SPECIFICALLY for those issues… even though my neurologist (a leading figure in MS research i may add) says i should be on them. So this lady’s issue seems minimal to me and frankly im not surprised in the least. So yes, even the FABULOUS US insurance companies who you all seem to think crap rainbows too, wont let me get the medications i need in order to function on a daily basis.

    • hills says:

      @Ruiner: I kind of agree, I mean if I had a co-worker on paid sick leave, but she was vacationing in paradise, I’d be a little pissed….. that said, merely basing the decision on FB photos is not enough to cut her off – they should check and make sure she’s receiving ongoing treatment etc…

    • NatalieErin says:

      @Ruiner: Aside from your attitude, if I’m reading your post right you’re comparing apples and oranges. This woman lives in Canada, which has a generally stronger government safety net. Depending on where you live in the US, I’m not the least bit surprised that you’re having trouble getting needed medical care covered.

      The fact that things are not perfect here, though, doesn’t mean people living in countries that have chosen the “more government intervention” route shouldn’t be able to take advantage of their government’s programs.

    • schance says:

      @Ruiner: My therapist PRESCRIBED a vacation for me, Ruiner, since some of my depression is related to Seasonal Affective Disorder. She suggested that it would be a good idea for me to get somewhere sunny in the middle of winter for a week or so, so I’m going to Disney World for a week at the end of January.

      Now, I’m actually in a pretty good place right now – we finally, after six years of pharmaceutical roulette, found meds that work great for me, and brought me out of a profoundly suicidal funk within days. Does that mean that, if I hadn’t started those drugs that I wouldn’t have had fun at Disney World? That there would have been no photos of me smiling and laughing? No.

      Profound depression isn’t every minute of every day. It’s just most of them.

      • the_wiggle says:

        @schance: exactly. you could’ve been channeling my dad right there.

        glad you have found things that work for you :) i hope we will find things for him someday.

    • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

      @Ruiner: provigil, gabapentin and neurontin on that list for you?
      i suggest checking with the drug manufacturers, NORD and NMSS. yes, NORD has a god-awful application but this is the time of year they start getting funding for prescription assistance programs

  12. CompyPaq says:

    It’s in the opening line

    A Quebec woman on long-term sick leave is fighting to have her benefits reinstated after her employer’s insurance company cut them.

    Its not public healthcare, its disability insurance paid for by her employer.

    • hotdogsunrise says:

      @CompyPaq: This.

      And by the way, long term disability is something that all thirty and forty year olds should be looking into and purchasing. Get it while it’s cheap! You don’t want to have to mess around with Medicare when you need a nursing home.

      • ChuckECheese says:

        @hotdogsunrise: Good point if you can afford it. I inspect assisted living facilities, and I often ask how many residents are using long term care insurance. Very few have it.

    • failurate says:

      @CompyPaq: Maybe they should check Ben for a head wound. He’s gotten off track a little. Shoots for sensational, lands in untruthyness.

  13. SubPrimeLender says:

    I would think there has to be some kind of law or policy in canada that this would break. Even if the photos acceptable evidence – how can they determine with certainty when they were taken

    On the other side – she is not losing benefits for depression therapy (at least thats not stated) but she is losing long term disablity. Basically she is saying that she is too sick to go to work and getting paid by an insurer instead. So the rules in this case are differnt that with health care I am sure.

    • RandomZero says:

      @dgruzew: In most jurisdictions, it would never stand up to any sort of investigation. However, getting that investigation moving can be a time-consuming prospect, and certainly an arduous one for someone suddenly cut off from mood stabilizers.

      Also, this is in the crazy backward world of Quebec, where you wear hats on your feet and hamburgers eat you. Normal rules simply do not begin to apply.

  14. boomerang86 says:

    It’s stuff like this that keeps me grounded, and FAR AWAY from putting myself on Facebook, MySpace, etc.

  15. foofur says:

    It doesn’t say they cancelled her Prozac prescription – she has been “too depressed to work”, but apparently not too depressed to go to Chippendales. I don’t understand why there is a system that pays out benefits once the person is no longer hospitalized/in intense therapy. If you’re not in daily therapy you should put your depressed butt to work. It will probably be therapeutic.

  16. rondalescott says:

    Point 1: This is not about health care, Ben, and you really need to fix that misunderstanding in your post and in the tags. It’s about long-term disability. That is a PRIVATE market in Canada. You can buy it yourself, individually, or your employer can provide it.

    Point 2: I have mixed feelings about this one. On the one hand, depression is a very serious and often misunderstood biological condition. I suffer from it myself and can verify that, yes, you can go to someone’s birthday party, or Disney World, or whatever, and either put on a fake (convincing) happy face, or actually experience real happiness. This in no way means that you are suddenly “cured” of your biochemical problems. You can still go home and hang yourself with a garden hose the next day.

    On the other hand, even as a sufferer of severe, profound, permanent depression, I kind of take issue with it being a condition covered by long-term disability insurance. Everyone’s situation is different, of course, but I kind of think that you either a) get meds and counseling and try to pass for normal, including being a contributing member of society, or b) Get yourself committed until you are better.

    I don’t see this “go on permanent disability insurance and live your life work-free forever” as being valid.

    • vangogh71 says:

      @rondalescott: I too suffer from severe depression and will disagree with you on disability insurance issue. I have tried 4 different meds to treat my depression and only recently began to stabilize. You have no idea what her situation is or has been. Everyone progresses at a different rate and it may take her a significant amount of time to improve. If her doctor feels that time away from the workplace is part of the solution then we should respect this diagnosis.

    • clairedeloony says:

      @rondalescott: This lady sounds like she might be in that nasty middle ground where she doesn’t need long-term hospitalization, but whatever outpatient therapy she needs to kind of function takes up so much time she can’t work. I’ve known people to do therapy four hours a day five days a week for months just to get up the courage to start washing their hair again. Everyone’s depression is different.

      Also, whether you’re well enough to go on vacation or not, trying to “pass for normal” at a high-pressure job often doesn’t turn out well (not that I have any experience with that…) If she can’t do the job (or any similar job at the same pay level at the company) because of her condition, and the company can’t make accommodations, she ought to be on disability. If she doesn’t recover, she may have to retrain for some other field, but I’m going off topic here. Point is, I think disability for depression is legit. Yes, it would be easy to game the system, but pics of you having occasional fun are not proof you can work.

  17. Darklighter says:

    Man, Bill Frist was able to diagnose Terry Schiavo over video, but this guy made a diagnosis from a still photo!

  18. wheresmymind says:

    Seems the agent has a pop-psychology view of what depression is, I hope a copy of the DSM-IV and maybe a little testimony from a real psychiatrist will clear this up.

    • Steeb2er says:

      @wheresmymind: If I learned one thing from The Sopranos, its that even people with fancy, extravagant lifestyles and Russian girlfriends can be depressed.

    • Brontide says:

      @wheresmymind: While I think canceling the long term leave was going overboard the insurance company has a point.

      This woman is claiming that she is *too depressed to work* she is so incapacitated that she can not get through a 40 hour work week like the rest of us depressed sheep. She has been collecting long term disability because she is unable to work. In the past year she has shown herself doing a larger number of activities that would contradict her long term disability.

      Having fun on occasion is possible for depressed people and sunning oneself is probably great therapy for those up north.

      This is grounds for a medical reappraisal of her condition, not a one-sided termination. Personally the story kinds stinks and I would love to hear about any follow ups.

  19. smartmuffin says:

    Am I the only one who is impressed by this? Pretty clever stuff from a heartless faceless corporation!

    Seems like the classic “call in sick to work only to run into your boss at the ballgame” updated for the 21st century.

  20. slackintim says:

    Her colleagues who are tired of the additional load put on by her being out, and resentful of her leave status, probably pointed out her photos to management who in turn sent them to insurance.

    Given the additional workloads many of us are under with hiring freezes or layoffs, it wouldn’t be shocking to find someone out there pretty miffed to see someone out on disability leave partying it up and posting for all to see.

  21. ChuckECheese says:

    Maybe those pics weren’t vacation photos, but Cymbalta ads. This should be a lesson to make product placement a priority.

  22. Mecharine says:

    It didnt occur to the desk stooge that the vacation was to help alleviate the cause of the depression?

    • DangerMouth says:

      @Mecharine: Clinical depression is about brain chemistry, and is treated by a combination of drugs and (usually) cognitive therapy. Situational depression is when there is something going on your life that is making you unhappy. So even if the ’cause’ of her depression is extreme SAD, taking a two week vacation to a sunny spot won’t actually help.

  23. Quake 'n' Shake says:

    Lesson: If you suffer from depression, only put photos from the Twilight movies on your Facebook page. That’s ironclad proof.

  24. Anachronism says:

    What doctor is not going to encourage her to do exactly the type of activities she is accused of doing to try to help her break out of the depression?

    It is not like doctors are telling her “While you are depressed, you can do nothing else but sit on your couch watching the end of Old Yeller.”

    I’m running into a similar thing. I’m currently on short term disability and hating my life because I’ve essentially had a nonstop migraine headache for 5 weeks. While trying to get everything in line to get this debilitating headache to stop, doctors are also telling me and telling my friends to get me out of the house, telling me to go to the gym, telling friends to drag me out and take me shopping, go to a movie, anything to keep me active and prevent depression.

    The doctors are right, it is in my best interest to do this, but I am also on disability, and heaven forbid somebody gets a picture of me in public with a smile on my face, PER DOCTORS ORDERS… (sigh).

  25. jeffjohnvol says:

    So much for free Canadian healthcare. What a joke.

  26. El_Fez says:

    This MUST be accurate, because of course nobody puts old photos of themselves online. That’s just SILLY!

  27. nacoran says:

    Bi-Polar people often look very happy, part of the time.

    • Mr_Human says:

      @nacoran: Different disorder, no?

    • bohemian says:

      @nacoran: Or she could be working through getting medications adjusted. I have a couple of friends who went through a period of months where they tried various medications and had to finally adjust the dose of what they took. In the mean time they were kind of a mess.

  28. vladthepaler says:

    It’s absurd that looking happy in a few pictures would override a psychiatric diagnosis. But given that it does, she should post a few pictures of herself looking sad, and then she can have her benefits back.

  29. There's room to move as a fry cook says:

    The question isn’t whether the ex-employee is depressed but whether that depression affects her ability to get a job. Manulife’s claim is that the photos demonstrate that she is functional enough to go back to work.

    Government healthcare in Canadian provinces covers a schedule of services and procedures. Employers can provide additional employee benefits on top of that schedule – including long term disability benefits.

  30. katia802 says:

    This one will be interesting when it hits the courts. meanwhile, i’ll continue to stay off twitter, facebook, myspace, and any other online forum wherein random people can try to find reasons to destroy my life

  31. Anonymously says:

    Signs of depression include:

    * persistently sad, anxious, or empty moods
    * loss of pleasure in usual activities (anhedonia)
    * feelings of helplessness, guilt, or worthlessness
    * crying, hopelessness, or persistent pessimism
    * fatigue or decreased energy
    * loss of memory, concentration, or decision-making capability
    * restlessness, irritability
    * sleep disturbances
    * change in appetite or weight
    * physical symptoms that defy diagnosis and do not respond to treatment (especially pain and gastrointestinal complaints)
    * thoughts of suicide or death, or suicide attempts
    * poor self-image or self-esteem (as illustrated, for example, by verbal self-reproach)

    Even if you assume that this woman did not suffer from “loss of pleasure in usual activities (anhedonia)”, there are tons of other symptoms that wouldn’t show up in a photograph that could be behind her diagnosis of depression.

  32. amberlink says:

    Shouldn’t the insurance agent be fired on principal alone as he was surfing facebook while at work?

  33. madanthony says:

    Good thing I never have fun.

  34. lchen says:

    Someone should edit this to emphasize the part where it isn’t about Canadian gov’t health insurance but about PRIVATE disability insurance.
    How can so many people misread one short paragraph.

  35. ZukeZuke says:

    Glad this fraud was discovered.

    I empathize with the depression, but getting long term sick leave for it and then going out and partying and on vacations seems to indicate probably she’s ready to come back to work.

    To me, she’s milking the system and it’s like people who go out on stress leave. After a while, you just need to get over that sh*t!!!!

  36. ChicagoAndy says:

    I think this person got off easy. It sounds like she could have been prosecuted for Insurance Fraud.

    Manulife is a large insurance company operating worldwide. It does not offer health insurance in Canada. It does offer various forms of long-term disability insurance, often through work sponsored programs.

    It truly begs the question : If this person is able to vacation and entertain themselves in the manner described, surely they are also able to function in a work environment.

    Insurance fraud is a criminal offense punishable by incarceration. It sounds to me like this “victim” got lucky.

  37. grimdeath9740 says:

    I never realized you could diagnose medical illnesses from photos posted on a website… ITS MAGIC!

  38. morlo says:

    Insured sick leave for depression is always going to be problematic. But if a company is foolish enough to offer it, they need to follow the doctor’s recommendations

  39. dantsea says:

    Who knew so many Consumerist commenters were not only expert legal advisors and economists, but also medical geniuses?

  40. StanTheManDean says:

    a yes, the good ole workman’s comp insurance scam

  41. SkuldChan says:

    I’m pretty sure state financed insurance is going to have investigators looking for fraud just like the private ones here in the US :).

  42. SlimDan22 says:

    Thats why you make your facebook private and not visible for the whole world to see

  43. johnfrombrooklyn says:

    Health Insurance fraud is a huge huge scam and problem. I think the fair argument here is that she’s collecting disability because she’s too depressed to work. If she’s too depressed to work then she should not be out on vacation. If someone claims disability because their back hurts and they can’t lift heavy boxes then they shouldn’t be out skiing and golfing either.

  44. DH405 says:

    You might notice that it says “insurance company“. This is not their healthcare system, this is a privately run disability insurance company.

  45. jokono says:

    Depression is an illness diagnosed by doctors, not by desk jerks conducting amateur “photographic analysis.”

    So is a sprained ankle. As adults, we still have to work for a living. A lot of people will hate me for this, but I think all these people with “debilitating” depression need to grow the fuck up; get off their asses; take responsibility for your life. I say if she was capable of leaving the house to go to a strip club, she’s capable of going to work.

    • varro says:

      @jokono: I *do* hate you for this.

      1.) People aren’t depressed 24/7.
      2.) Depression can certainly interfere with one’s job performance if they’re required to be “on” all the time at work, as opposed to being able to enjoy themselves on a night out or on a vacation.
      3.) Depression doesn’t heal with rest, like a sprained ankle.
      4.) Bite me.

    • Kishi says:

      @jokono: I don’t hate you for it- I’m kind of jealous. You obviously haven’t had to help someone who was dealing with serious depression or dealt with it yourself, and while your naivety is incredibly wrong and borderline offensive, there’s a part of me that wishes I hadn’t dealt with what I did so that I could still be that naive.

  46. celtlion says:

    Many people suffer from depression and most can manage to still work for a living.

    Most of all, I’m amazed that an insurance company would allow disability claims for depression.

    I’d imagine the potential for fraud would be tremendous since there is no reliable medical test to validate cases, simply a short group of questions to answer.

    • julieannie says:

      @celtlion: There are different levels of depression. Mine causes me to sleep 2 hours, stay awake for a day having panic attacks and sleeping 15 hours. I vomit over the toilet. Even paying a bill causes me to freak out. And that’s after medication and therapy. After 3 years I’m back to working 2 days a week and going to school at night because I can stay awake at night with my condition. Just because you see some functional happy people doesn’t mean we all are.

      • thetroubleis says:

        @julieannie: Hush, people with depression can never even look happy. Just like my bipolar disorder either makes me look really happy or oh, so sad. Oh and my anxiety means I’m freaking out all the time too.

        Somehow I think a doctor is a better judge of illness than facebook.

  47. Geekmom says:

    Maybe, just maybe someone who is depressed CAN feel happy sometimes! Oooh wow someone dragged her butt out of bed to a party and she smiled for a change! OMG she’s cured!!! Take her off her meds and send her to work!

    Depression isn’t always that obvious.
    And being depressed doesn’t mean you lose your ability to smile now and then.

    A doctor should make the decision if she’s cured or not. Not some paper pusher that knows jack about mental health.

  48. WonderKatGoBoom says:

    I think that the article is using the term “depression” pretty loosely here. If it’s manic, she would definitely have difficulty holding down a job. I know of a woman who has disability due to electro-shock therapy side effects (permanent short term memory loss). When this girl feels happy, she’s out and about and smiling, but the rest of the time she’s literally sobbing in her room and making horrible choices.
    Depression has physical side effects as well. It definitely causes one to be more susceptible to other illnesses.

    It’s a hard thing to judge, and only a psychologist and psychiatrist are qualified to do so. While I am pretty quick to judge people who seem to always have an excuse for not working like the rest of us, I’d leave this alone. Depression affects everyone differently.

    And may she rot in hell if she is fact milking/gaming the system. It’s an insult to people who actually are too depressed to function, and particularly those who force themselves to work everyday, even though it might not be the healthiest thing for them.

  49. venomroses says:

    I saw this on the news last night, the company’s statement also said that they never received an official form from a psychiatrist either.

    On a side note, I didn’t know you could get long term disability for depression.

  50. humphrmi says:

    The Republicans will eat this up. I can hear it now. O Canda! Your great system decides who’s sick and who’s not.

    Not that the absence of truth in that statement makes any difference.

  51. aplusboy says:

    I bet losing her benefits put her into a deep depression.

  52. TessTalks says:

    . . . and somewhere there are photographs of the insurance agent being a jackass.

  53. u1itn0w2day says:

    I’m wondering were these benefits being paid by Manu were workmens comp or social security type disability benefits . I don’t think these were actual medical treatment benefits . That would explain how someone under Canadien Health Care could loose their benefits .

    This is one reason I refuse to buy those ‘ if you are unable to work insurance ‘ that many credit cards offer . I knew someone who was elidgable to collect and the amount of paper and letters he had to produce was insane .

  54. verbatim613 says:

    And you guys want the government overseeing healthcare?

  55. LeChiffre says:

    Well if she wasn’t depressed maybe she is stupid. A little common sense should have “lit” up in her brain to tell her that just maybe her pictures would give her away? Gee,,,maybe? I mean, when you rob a bank, you don’t go around giving out dollar bills and posting your picture in the news. As a lawyer told me before I began law school for lesson #1: “everybody lies, especially your client”. This woman lied and got caught.

  56. smiling1809 says:

    If she is too depressed to work and is collecting benefits, then why is she well enough for all that other stuff? I agree that a person who can get out and about and have all that fun shouldn’t be collevting disability b/c they can’t work.

  57. El_Red says:

    I don’t know… Manulife is the most easy going insurer in Canada. To get denied, you need more than few pictures on Facebook.
    Even in the article, Manulife says that these pictures were an additional factor to other information they’ve had.
    So I’m siding with the insurance company here…

  58. u1itn0w2day says:

    One of the things I noticed is that not too many are complaining that the insurance company went into a private facebook account for the pictures .

    I am also wondering if her employer (IBM) asked the insurance company to investigate her claim . Apparently she has been out a while .

    One last thing she said she notified the insurance company BEFORE she went on a trip ? Is this disability claim that conditional ?

  59. shades_of_blue says:

    I sight this as: reasons why you don’t make your profile public. Seriously, lock down your page to keep perspective employers and anyone else who does not belong from viewing your myspace/facebook pages.

  60. Cancel my subscrption says:

    CompyPaq is correct. And Ben Popken is either ignorant, not funny, or both.

  61. WTCooper says:

    Some day individuals will learn not to post information to Facebook, etc that they don’t want the world to see. If you are sick or claiming to be sick, don’t do anything that can be used against you. By all means stay from social networks.