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Mental Illness and Social Security Disability

Mental Illness and Social Security Disability

Mental illness can be incredibly isolating, detrimental to your quality of life, and overwhelming. It should come as no surprise that a significant amount of people with severe mental health concerns struggle to find or keep a job. If your condition meets certain criteria, you may be able to receive disability benefits that can help you remain independent and fulfill your financial obligations.

Unsure of your next step in the disability application process? Let us help you. Call The Dansby Law Firm at 334-326-6449 to set up a consultation now.

Mental Illness and Qualifying for SSDI

Mental illness has a profound impact on an individual’s ability to complete regular activities that others take for granted. These challenges carry over to the workplace and often exclude those with mental health diagnoses. Because of this, the SSA does offer benefits to those with certain mental health disorders.

The SSA’s Listing of Impairments has an entire section dedicated to mental disorders. If an individual meets the requirements under their listing, they may receive benefits. Requirements vary; for example, the listing for eating disorders requires medical documentation of a persisting change in consumption that impairs an individual’s health, as well as extreme or marked limitations in certain areas.

The other part of qualifying for SSDI is your work history. For anyone to receive SSDI payments, they must have a long enough and recent enough work history. For most applicants, that means at least 40 credits and at least 20 credits in the ten years prior to your disability. You can earn up to four credits per year, and the amount of money you must earn for a credit increases each year.

Applying for SSDI With Mental Illness

For many SSDI applicants, the application process is overwhelming and frustrating. It’s not intentional, but the SSA does have strict requirements in place—they want to ensure that they are only paying out benefits to people who truly need them.

Perhaps the most important part of your application is your medical documentation. The SSA has no idea how your diagnosis affects your daily life, so you need to be incredibly detailed.

For mental health diagnoses, a thorough medical file may include diagnostic tests, treatment records (including failed or ineffective treatments), progress updates, psychiatric evaluations, notes from therapy sessions, and medication documentation. You should also include information on the time you have had to spend away from work because of your diagnosis, disciplinary action taken against you due to the effects of your diagnosis, and any other restrictions you’ve faced.

You should have documentation from all of your treating physicians, therapists, and other healthcare providers. It takes a team to manage a mental health condition, and every single one of your care providers can provide valuable insight into your condition and limitations. Ideally, you’ll have documentation regarding limitations that would affect your daily life and your ability to work.

Even when you think you have enough documentation and proof of your disability, the odds are good that you still don’t have enough. What regular people think is enough and what the SSA thinks is enough are two entirely different things. That’s why it’s often helpful to work with a disability attorney in Montgomery. We know what the SSA looks for in an application, and we can ensure that your application is up to par.

Challenges to Consider When Applying for SSDI

In general, the SSDI application process is stressful and time-consuming. However, many people find that it’s even worse when you’re trying to get disability benefits for a mental health condition.

One of the biggest challenges is the subjectivity of mental health diagnoses. Physical diagnoses generally have clear medical diagnostic criteria that can be proven via testing. However, the diagnostic tests for mental health concerns are affected by the subjectivity of the healthcare provider doing the testing.

Additionally, mental health issues simply do not leave the physical marks that other diagnoses do. This means that it is harder for outsiders to truly see how a condition has affected an individual. For this reason, applicants often have to go even further to document their illness and its effects.

Get the Support You Need with The Dansby Law Firm

Are you ready to apply for SSDI benefits for your mental health condition? The team at The Dansby Law Firm is here to help you. Schedule your consultation now by calling us at 334-326-6449 or reaching out to our team online.

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