The understanding that healthcare providers, insurance companies, and the government have for mental health and mental illness is growing in the United States. The Social Security Administration (SSA) updated its Listing of Impairments for disability in 2017, expanding and improving its listings for “mental disorders.” As it stands, the process for applying for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits is parallel to the system for physical illnesses and conditions.
If you or a loved one is applying for Social Security with a mental disorder, talk to an experienced Social Security attorney for help with the process. Fayetteville Social Security Disability attorney Ken Kieklak may be able to help you with your application, and help fight denials. Call Ken Kieklak, Attorney at Law, today for a free consultation on your disability case.
Fayetteville Mental Disorder Applications for Social Security Disability
Applying to Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI – also known as “disability” or “SSD”) is a long process, with required forms and supplements, a five-month waiting period, and other procedures. When you apply, it may take a while for the SSA to review your application and send feedback. In many cases, this delay can be incredibly nerve-wracking, especially for those who already suffer from anxiety disorders. The following information may help you understand the delay in your application, and help you understand how the review process works.
First, your application contains quite a bit of biographical information. This info needs to be reviewed and approved, to check for a few basic criteria. This evidence often goes to your eligibility, looking at your US citizenship, who you are, how old you are, and how many work credits you have on record. If your application is denied at this stage, talk to an attorney to see what other options you may have to amend the application, use a parent or spouse’s work credits, or resubmit an application for a different type of Social Security benefits.
Second, the application contains information about your condition. The Social Security Administration keeps a list of approved conditions that are likely to qualify an applicant to receive disability benefits. However, you do not automatically qualify if your condition is listed; you must also prove that your condition is severe enough to need SSD. Similarly, if your condition is not on the list, you may still qualify if your condition is severe enough. Sorting out the severity of your condition is especially difficult with mental health disorders, since some of the listed disorders are quite common – although it is not common that they are severe enough to qualify for SSD.
Proving your Mental Disorder is “Severe” for SSD
One of the most important factors in qualifying for Social Security Disability is proof that your mental disorder is severe. For a disorder to qualify as “severe” under the SSA’s definition, it must interfere with your day-to-day activities and ability to perform work-related tasks. Many of the mental disorders listed in the SSA’s “Blue Book” of disorders may be common disorders among Americans, including:
- Depression, bipolar disorder, and other related disorders;
- Anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorders (OCD);
- Personality and impulse-control disorders;
- Autism spectrum disorders (including Asperger syndrome);
- Eating disorders; and
- Trauma or stress disorders (such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder – PTSD).
In many Americans, these disorders are not severe enough to warrant a psychological diagnosis, or are not severe enough to interfere with day-to-day work. In others, these disorders are so severe that victims of these illnesses cannot carry-on normal work-related activities. To qualify for SSD, the SSA needs to understand that your condition is sufficiently severe.
To prove this, the SSA may require evaluations or additional information from your doctor. This may be part of a normal application process for many mental health disorders. This part of the review process may require you and a healthcare provider to fill-out various forms describing your condition’s severity, the daily activities it interferes with, and the limits of your work-related abilities. The SSA may even require one of their doctors or psychiatrists to examine you and confirm your condition’s severity.
If the SSA denies your application without requiring these forms or proofs, you may be able to resubmit the application with additional detail or appeal their decision with the help of an attorney.
Continuing Disability Reviews for Mental Illness
The SSA will continue to pay disability benefits to accepted applicants so long as their condition lasts. This may require occasional check-ups ordered by the SSA to confirm your mental health disorder is still severe. This should never be seen as a reason to deny yourself treatment or opportunities to improve your mental health care, and should be nothing to be afraid of. Hiring a Social Security attorney can help you understand requests for continuing disability reviews (CDRs) and other requirements the SSA places on those who receive SSD benefits.
Fayetteville Social Security Disability Attorney
Fayetteville disability lawyer Ken Kieklak may be able to help with your initial disability applications, help walk you through the review process, and help you fight against SSD denials. To schedule a free consultation on your SSD case, call Ken Kieklak, Attorney at Law, today at (479) 439-1943 today.