If you have a mental condition or impairment that prevents you from maintaining substantial gainful employment, you could be eligible for disability benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA).
The SSA offers two different programs to provide compensation for people with physical and mental disabilities who cannot work. The first program, Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), is for those who have previously worked and paid into the Social Security system with their payroll taxes, but no longer can work due to their medical condition. The other program, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), is a need-based program exclusively for those with incomes and assets below a certain threshold.
Regardless of which program you apply for, the SSA will review your application based on your medical proof. It will approve you for benefits only if you present evidence showing you are fully disabled, meaning you are unable to work and make a living for yourself.
Many applicants can present medical test results to the SSA, but how do you prove your disability case if you have a mental condition or impairment? A disability attorney from the Law Offices of Ogle, Elrod & Baril, PLLC, can help. After we review your records, we can determine if you have sufficient evidence to present to the SSA.
Call us today at 866-628-8179 for a free consultation with an attorney.
What Does My Medical Evidence Need to Prove?
In the case of a mental condition or impairment, your medical evidence holds the key to your approval. This evidence includes reports from your general physician, psychiatrist, psychologist, or mental health facility. The stronger this evidence is, the better the chance you have of qualifying for SSDI or SSI benefits.
The SSA is primarily concerned with how your condition affects your ability to maintain employment and carry out activities of daily living. If you can demonstrate you have an severe impairment in engaging in normal daily living activities, you can potentially show that you cannot reasonably work and make a living for yourself.
Depending on your diagnosis, your condition might be in the SSA’s Blue Book of approved conditions. This book provides a master list of medical conditions the SSA considers disabling—provided that the applicant meets all of the listed medical criteria for a given condition. Many mental conditions and impairments are in the Blue Book. We can review your diagnosis and decide if you meet the criteria for a listing.
If you do not meet the criteria for a Blue Book listing—or if your condition is not listed—you can still get approved for benefits by demonstrating that your medical condition is functionally equivalent to a Blue Book listing. In other words, we must show it limits your functional capacity—or your ability to work and carry out daily living activities—as severely as a listed condition would. By completing and submitting a residual functional capacity (RFC) test, you can provide objective evidence of functional equivalence.
What Kind of Evidence Do I Need to Qualify for Disability Benefits?
To prove total disability based on a mental condition or impairment, you need to show the SSA evidence that you have difficulty with tasks involving cognitive, emotional, or social functions. This can include problems with:
- Following instructions;
- Retaining information;
- Participating in group discussions; and
- Otherwise engaging with peers.
By submitting to and providing the results of psychological and cognitive testing, you can make this case to the SSA. It is essential, however, that your medical records show you have complied with your doctor’s prescribed treatment for your condition.
You may be able to strengthen your case if you have evidence that your condition has worsened your performance in any of the above areas over time. This can explain why, for instance, you have been able to hold a job in the past, but can no longer do so.
The phenomenon of declining abilities that once functioned at an acceptable level is decompensation. If you can show that the decompensation of one or more mental faculties is making it impossible for you to work, you may qualify for disability benefits.
Do I Need a Lawyer to Apply?
A disability lawyer can help you put together a strong, organized, compelling claim for benefits. Applicants often receive denials for mental illness claims because of problems with evidence. If a claims examiner denies your claim, the appeals process can drag on for months. We can help ensure you have strong evidence before you apply.
For a Free Consultation, Call 866-628-8179 Today.
The attorneys at the Law Offices of Ogle, Elrod & Baril, PLLC, want to help you win disability benefits. We have helped many clients successfully apply for benefits, including those with mental conditions or impairments. To set up a free consultation and case review with one of our attorneys, call 866-628-8179 today.