Applying for Social Security disability benefits can be a daunting task at times. Aside from a potentially lengthy application process, your examiner will pry into every aspect of your life in uncomfortable ways, just to prove you are telling the truth and worthy of the benefits you’re applying for.
The task can get even more difficult if the condition you’re asking benefits for is a mental illness. This is because most mental health medical conditions are hard to evaluate and measure objectively. The information below will give you an idea of how the Social Security processes mental health claims and why it can be difficult for you to get approved.
Examiners are not mental health experts
To start with, disability claims examiners are not licensed psychiatrists, which means they can’t possibly understand how much a mental illness can limit an individual. To evaluate a mental condition, an examiner will have to check Social Security’s official listing of impairments and see if an applicant’s symptoms satisfy the criteria of the listed mental health condition they’re applying for. Listed mental health impairments include:
● bipolar disorders
● mental retardation
● substance abuse disorders
If a particular condition is not listed, it has to be proven that the condition prevents the applicant from working and will last for at least 12 months. Only then can an applicant be deemed eligible for disability benefits. That said, you can still be eligible for medical-vocational allowance if your mental residual functional capacity reveals you have limitations that affect the quality at which you perform normal everyday functions.
One useful way that you can increase your chances at approval is to see a psychiatrist or psychologist regularly so that you can have documented proof of how your condition is affecting your way of life. It can also help to talk to a disability lawyer to learn possible legal options.
Mental Illness and Social Security Disability, disabilitysecrets.com