Mental Disorders and Social Security Disability
Mental Disorders and Social Security Disability Although it's possible to collect Social Security Disability benefits for both physical and mental disorders, it's generally harder for people with mental disorders to collect benefits because their symptoms cannot be assessed as easily. Nevertheless, anyone with a debilitating mental condition is entitled to Social Security Disability benefits. Social Security categorizes mental disorders in nine diagnostic categories: Organic mental disorders Schizophrenic, paranoid, and other psychotic disorders Affective disorders Mental retardation Anxiety-related disorders Somatoform disorders Personality disorders Substance addition disorders Autistic disorder and other developmental disorders When you apply for disability benefits, a disability examiner will first refer to the Blue Book, Social Security's official list of impairments, to determine whether the symptoms of your condition meet specific criteria. If your condition is listed in the Blue Book, it will certainly benefit your case. Being diagnosed with a mental disorder that's listed in the Blue Book does not guarantee that your application will be approved, however. Your mental disorder must have lasted or be expected to last for a continuous period of at least 12 months. Furthermore, you must prove that your condition is severe enough to prevent you from working. Even if your condition is not listed in the Blue Book, you can apply for and receive disability benefits, as long as your medical records and third party reports prove that your condition is severe enough. A disability examiner will evaluate the severity of your mental condition based on clinical notes from mental health professionals, an Activities of Daily Living questionnaire completed by you, and third party questionnaires. Anyone who files for disability benefits based on a mental disorder is required to supply the name of a third person who is familiar with their illness and could answer questions about his condition and normal daily routine. To maximize the chances of getting your application approved, ask friends, relatives, and former employers to write letters/reports about your condition that will help you make your case. Another figure who will play a key role in getting your application approved is your doctor, preferably a psychologist or psychiatrist. Your doctor should write a report describing your symptoms and behavior, in detail. The longer your doctor has known you and has been treating you, the more weight his reports will carry. The number of disability applications based on mental disorders that are approved is small. Many individuals have to pursue their disability allowance through the Social Security appeals process. If you file an appeal, having good legal representation will significantly increase your chances of winning benefits.