If your mental health is so serious that it stops you from being able to earn a living you may be able to qualify for social security disability benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA).
Your mental health condition should match the symptoms and criteria listed in the SSA’s Blue Book to have a chance of having your application approved.
Unless your application is well prepared with sufficient evidence attached you may find that it is denied initially by the SSA. Some tips to help you improve your chances of securing disability benefits for a mental health disorder are given below.
Tip #1 Determine If You Meet a Blue Book Listing
The SSA recognizes a huge number and range of mental health disorders that could qualify for disability benefits. These are listed clearly on the SSA’s Blue Book under section 12.00: Mental Disorders. Your own mental health condition must match the symptoms in one of the following sub-categories in this section:
12.02: neurocognitive disorders;
12.03: schizophrenia spectrum and other psychotic disorders;
12.04: depressive, bipolar and related disorders;
12.05: intellectual disorder;
12.06: anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorders;
12.07: somatic symptom and related disorders;
12.08: personality and impulse-control disorders;
12.10: autism spectrum disorder;
12.11: neurodevelopmental disorders;
12.13: eating disorders;
12.15: trauma- and stressor-related disorders.
Tip #2 Establish You Qualify Through Medical Records & Evidence
The SSA will want see medical documentation that outlines the onset and cause of your mental health disorder and the specific symptoms that are displayed.
The evidence they will be examining depends specifically on the category of mental health disorder that is affecting you. Although the categories listed in section 12.00 are very varied, many of them require psychiatric diagnosis and assessment as well as evidence of medication and other treatment plans that you have been using.
Without sufficient medical evidence available to the assessors, it is likely that your application will be rejected.
Tip #3 Keep Up With Treatment Plans
If you have been receiving treatment for your mental health condition you must keep the treatment ongoing throughout the application period.
It can take many months for an application to be assessed and much longer if there is a need to appeal a denied application. The SSA’s assessors will want to see ongoing evidence of relevant treatment and be able to make a judgment on how well the treatment is working before approving your application.
Tip #4 Fill Out a RFC
A residual functional capacity (RFC) assessment carried out by your doctor or another qualified physician can help your chances of being approved for disability benefits.
RFCs can be used to assess both your physical and mental capacities in relation to your ability to carry out everyday tasks.
RFCs test you ability to do physical tasks as well as respond to stimuli such as your ability to communicate, understand instructions, hear and respond to instructions.
The RFC basically tests whether you are fit enough mentally and physically to be able to continue working in paid employment.
Tip #5 Work With an Attorney
There is a huge range of mental health disorders. If your symptoms match the criteria in one of the Blue Book descriptions and you cannot continue working you may be able to receive disability benefits.
It can be hard to convince the SSA that you are eligible, but you may improve your chances of success if you use a disability attorney to help you with your application. Fill out the free evaluation form today!