Describing Your Mental Capacity at Your Disability Hearing

Whether you’ve filed a claim for disability benefits based on a mentally disabling condition or have primarily a physical condition which also causes mental capacity issues, you’ll need to adequately describe the limitations you experience in order to be found eligible for benefits. It is sometimes difficult to figure out whether or not you are capable of working.

Knowing what to say at a Social Security Disability (SSD) appeal hearing is an intimidating concept. After all, the hearing is your last opportunity to be found eligible to receive SSD. You’ve already been turned down for benefits in the past. That alone is stressful, and you may be worried you won’t be able to explain it all well enough to the Administrative Law Judge at your hearing.

Here are a few hints on how to describe your mental capacity in the terms that the Social Security Administration (SSA) will understand and accept.

Be Honest, Open and Accurate

Believe it or not, most applicants for SSD actually downplay the affects of their disability on their mental capacity when discussing it at an appeal hearing. This may seem silly, especially when the applicant is filing for disability primarily because their condition limits their ability to think clearly or perform everyday tasks. Under these circumstances, you’d think applicants would exaggerate their disability, if anything, but the opposite is actually true.

Most people don’t say enough about the way their mental capacity limits their life, including their interactions with other people, ability to work, or other important details. Perhaps it’s pride, but applicants too often aren’t open, honest or accurate enough in their descriptions. This is a vital portion of determining a nonexertional impairment.

Make sure you tell the judge exactly what your disability does to you, even if it’s hard to admit to others. Put the truth out there and be clear about how bad it really is.

Give Specific Examples

Be prepared to give specific examples of mental limitations and their affects on your everyday life. This means being able to describe how your inability to think clearly, remember things or process information makes it hard for you to function at home, in public settings, and at work.

For instance, if your performance suffered and you lost your job because of your inability to remember and follow standard procedures, then you need to tell the judge that. Or, if you’re unable to care for yourself, prepaire meals, stay on top of medications or perform other essential activities without someone else reminding you how or when to do those things, the judge needs to be aware of this.

Legal Help and Witnesses

Because mental capacity is a real issue for you, you may need to seek legal help and also depend on the input of witnesses at your hearing in order to adequately show and explain the limitations your disability places on your everyday abilities.