Thanks to a growing awareness of the impact of mental disorders on not just the workplace but on just about every facet of life, it's become more common to hear of workers applying for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). SSDI benefits, however, have never been easy to get and mental disorder claims can be more difficult to prove. If you are interested in finding out more about what the Social Security Administrations (SSA) expects from applicants suffering from mental disorders, read on.
Presenting Proof of the Mental Disorder
Commonly, SSDI applicants may be asked to present medical records containing the results of diagnostic tests to prove their impairments. With mental disorders, applicants may have more of a challenge in that regard. With that in mind, those applying for SSDI benefits using a mental disorder as the main qualifying impairment should be prepared to take the following actions:
- Have a history of being seen by either a medical doctor or a mental health specialist. The SSA, at least at this time, doesn't require that applicants be seen by a mental health practitioner, but it does lend more credence to your application if you can show that history.
- Show an unbroken history, right up to and exceeding the time of the application, of being seen by a medical or mental health professional.
- Be ready to present the SSA with therapy or doctor's notes and the results of evaluations.
- Keep records of all prescriptions pertaining to your affliction.
- Keep records of any group or single therapy sessions.
Presenting Proof of How Your Illness Impacts Your Job
Part two of the SSA evaluation process is connecting your mental disorder with the tasks required of your previous job. You must be ready to show how your ability to work at your job is directly affected by your disorder. You can access a copy of your particular job description using the Occupational Outlook Handbook. Often, you can find a copy of this book at your local library. Once you locate a position that closely aligns with your previous one, make note of the tasks that apply to you. Alongside those tasks, list how your mental impairment affects them. This exercise will provide you with important insights into how the SSA determines your eligibility for SSDI benefits and will be handy if you need to appeal the ruling.
Unfortunately, it's not that uncommon to be denied your benefits, no matter what your affliction may be. If so, take assertive action and contact a law firm as soon as possible and get prepared to have your case approved at the appeal hearing.