Not Including Mental Disabilities on Your Application

When you are applying for Social Security disability benefits, it’s important to give yourself every advantage that you can. More than two thirds of all applications are initially denied. Most applicants will need to go through the appeals process before their claim is approved and you don’t want to prolong the process any more than necessary.

When deciding whether or not to approve your claim, the Social Security Administration takes all medically verifiable conditions into account which could have an effect on your ability to find and keep gainful employments. If they determine that you are capable of performing any kind of available work for which you are qualified, they will deny your claim. Because of this, it’s important to make sure that you list every condition, physical or mental, which you have been diagnosed with which could in any way affect you in the workplace.

A healthy percentage of the applications which are approved for Social Security disability benefits are approved completely or in part because of medically verifiable mental conditions. Don’t try to make a judgment as whether or not a condition will be vital to your being approved for benefits. Just report all medical conditions you have!

The SSA may determine that the main disability you are struggling with, in and of itself, does not qualify you as being completely disabled. However, if you have more than one disabling condition, the SSA’s adjudicators can judge that the sum of your disabilities is severe enough to qualify you as completely disabled even though none of your disabling conditions would qualify you for benefits by themselves.

How does a mental illness affect your ability to work

When listing mental conditions, it’s important to have medical and/or psychological documentation that backs up your diagnosis. It is even more helpful if the documentation is geared in such a way as to address the effects of your condition on your ability to keep or hold down a job. Typical effects of mental conditions on a person’s ability to keep meaningful employment include:

  • Difficulty getting along with co-workers
  • Difficulty responding appropriately to authority
  • Difficulty concentrating on tasks at hand
  • Potential harm to self or others due to thoughts or emotions which are hard to control
  • Inability to perform due to severe depression
  • Loss of memory
  • Loss of cognitive functioning
  • Loss of ability to motor skills due to psychological conditions

When reporting your mental conditions, it’s also important to report what manner of treatment you are undergoing and to be able to say that you are being compliant with your doctor or psychologist’s recommendations. In the case of most mental conditions, you will need to be able to show that you are following your mental health care professional’s treatments prescribed and that the condition still has a negative impact on your ability to work full time.

Hiring a disability attorney or advocate

Applicants with mental disabilities often find it especially helpful to have the help of a Social Security disability lawyer when applying for disability benefits. Your Social Security disability lawyer can help ensure that your doctors and mental health professionals describe any mental conditions you have in a way which will best help with your disability claim by making sure they detail the actual effects the conditions have on your daily activities and ability to work.

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