To prove your disability case if you have a mental condition or impairment, you must have medical evidence. To establish that you suffer from a qualifying impairment, you will need to provide information so that the disability examiner can get your records from all caregivers who are familiar with your diagnosis and treatment.
Our Social Security Disability lawyers can ensure you provide all the necessary information so that the examiner from the Office of Disability Determination Services can gain access to the medical evidence necessary to prove your impairment.
How to Prove a Mental Disability
When you suffer an impairment, you may seek treatment from a variety of doctors and specialists. Each of these medical professionals can provide documentation that can bolster your claim. Evidence could include reports from:
- Your primary care physician
- Your psychiatrist, psychologist, or therapist
- Your local hospital
- Other mental health facilities
- Other caregivers
The Social Security Administration (SSA) may require you to see an authorized physician, but you should still continue seeing your regular doctor. Their documentation can also prove helpful in your case.
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Understanding the Role Your Medical Evidence Plays in Getting Disability Benefits
Your medical records and other evidence play a central role in getting approval for a mental health condition or impairment. The disability examiner who oversees your case will need to look at your doctor’s notes, test results, treatment plan, treatment results, and other information about your condition. Doing so allows them to judge the severity of your condition and see that it prevents you from working and keeping a job.
Since your medical evidence is the only way the SSA can determine if you meet the qualifications for disability benefits, it is important to ensure it has access to your records at every doctor, clinic, and hospital that treated you.
Contact Information You Must Provide in Your Mental Health Claim
When you apply for disability, you will have to give the SSA a list of contact information, so it can request your records. This information includes:
- Doctor or hospital name
- Phone number
- Patient ID, when possible
If you have our attorneys working on your case, we can share what other supporting information could help your claim. Without this contact information, the disability examiner will not have access to your diagnosis, any test results, treatment plan and outcome, and information about your medication.
What Mental Disabilities Qualify for Social Security Benefits?
The SSA publishes a book of qualifying impairments, known as the Blue Book. In this book, Section 12 – Mental Disorders addresses the criteria to get approved based on a mental condition or impairment.
Some mental health conditions that qualify for disability benefits include:
- Neurocognitive disorders
- Schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders
- Intellectual disorders
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
- Autism spectrum disorder
- Eating disorders
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
The Social Security Administration will look at your medical evidence and application information to confirm if you meet the criteria under one of these listings.
Can You Get Disability for Depression and Anxiety?
The SSA’s Blue Book lists depression and anxiety as two mental health conditions that qualify for disability benefits. Your application must assert that because you suffered from a mental impairment, you have problems working and supporting yourself. As noted, you can include medical evidence with your application.
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You Can Get Disability for Mental Health Without a Blue Book Impairment Listing
If you do not qualify for disability based on a Blue Book listing for mental illness, you can still get benefits. Doing so is possible through a residual functional capacity (RFC) evaluation.
This evaluation considers how your impairment – including the side effects of any treatment and other disabilities – affects your abilities. It does look at your medical evidence, but it also uses the information from your application to get a better look at the full picture.
Your RFC is not only concerned with your diagnosed mental condition but also with your overall ability to get, keep, and work a job. If the SSA determines you cannot work your previous job or any other job you might be suited for, you can be awarded benefits.
How the SSA Evaluates Your RFC
The SSA can evaluate your RFC in three ways:
- Have a doctor from the Office of Disability Determination Services review your medical records and application information
- Have your doctor complete a special form based on their knowledge of your impairments and abilities
- Have you attend one or more consultative examinations with a doctor it pays for
Any of these methods should allow them to determine the type of work you are capable of, how often you can work, and how long you can work.
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You Can Get SSI and SSDI for a Mental Illness
The SSA offers two disability programs: Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). Both allow people with mental health impairments to secure benefits. Here’s what you need to know:
- SSDI is a work credit-based system. Your eligibility depends on how long you’ve worked jobs that pay Social Security taxes.
- SSI isn’t based on your work credits. Instead, your eligibility depends on your “countable” assets. The SSA notes that, as an unmarried person, you cannot have more than $2,000 in countable assets to qualify for this program.
When you partner with a disability lawyer who advocates for individuals with disabilities, you have a team to help you navigate the Social Security Disability application and appeals process.
What Happens if I’m Denied Disability for a Mental Illness?
If the SSA already denied you for Social Security Disability Insurance/Disability Insurance Benefits or Supplemental Security Income, we can help you file an appeal and fight for your disability benefits.
Our attorneys can ensure the SSA has all the information it needs about your medical care and care providers.
Let Berger and Green Help You Get Disability for Mental Health Disorders
To get disability benefits in Pittsburgh, you must prove you suffer from a disability so severe it keeps you from working. This task can be especially difficult when the disability is a mental condition or impairment. Our Social Security disability attorneys know what it takes to get approved for disability, and we will fight for the benefits you deserve.
Call the Pittsburgh Social Security Disability team from Berger and Green today to discuss your case for free. Dial (412) 693-6278. Our mental disability lawyers can start advocating for what you need today.
Call or text 412-661-1400 or complete a Free Case Evaluation form