Here in the United States, we are lucky enough to have access to government assistance programs that provide financial support to people who need it. Programs like Social Security Disability Insurance are particularly helpful because they provide financial assistance to people who may be unable to return to work because of a disabling condition.
As we have said before on this blog, in order to receive SSD benefits, a person must first file an application with Social Security Administration, which asks the applicant to present evidence that supports their claim and need for assistance. But with mental conditions, this can be difficult because the condition may not be apparent upon first glance.
So, how do you prove disability when you can’t see the condition? To answer this question, we will look at how the SSA reviews claims regarding mental disorders. By learning the system, our readers will hopefully have the knowledge necessary to give their claim the best chance at approval the first time around.
The first thing to keep in mind is that to be eligible for benefits, a condition must meet the SSA definition of a disability. Conditions that appear on the list of Compassionate Allowances automatically meet this definition and are usually fast-tracked in the SSD process.
After meeting the definition of disability, reviewers will need to know to what extent the condition is impacting a person’s day-to-day life. This is done by looking at a person’s medical history and hearing testimony from an applicant’s doctors, family, friends, and perhaps even their employer.
If a case is not approved on the first try, don’t worry. This happens to a lot of people and typically occurs because not enough evidence was submitted to prove the extent of the condition. Remember, these testimonies, coupled with medical records, are integral in showing the extent of a condition, which means an applicant will want to include as much documentation as possible.
Lawyers are often a good resource for people thinking of applying a second time because, with their expertise, a person can make sure they have all the necessary evidence submitted to make their second attempt at benefits a successful one.
Source: The Social Security Administration, “12.00 Mental Disorders – Adult,” Accessed Nov. 20, 2014