Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits are intended to cover a wide range of physical and mental impairments. Obtaining benefits for a mental condition presents unique challenges, however, and claims are frequently denied. If you or a loved one are unable to work because of a cognitive or psychiatric condition, it takes a skilled disability attorney to help you protect your rights.
At the Law Office of Carey Thompson, PC, we regularly represent disabled individuals in Tarrant County and throughout Texas. We are highly experienced in handling SSD claims for mental disabilities and can help you overcome the obstacles obtaining benefits for mental impairments.
Beyond the stigma associated with mental illnesses, evaluating the symptoms and severity of any mental impairments can be difficult, which is why benefit claims are frequently denied. When you become our client, we provide you with compassionate representation and fight tirelessly for your rights. Please reach out to our office today to speak with our experienced disability lawyer.
Mental Impairments That May Qualify For Benefits Approval
The Social Security Administration (SSA) maintains a listing of qualifying impairments known as the Blue Book that may automatically qualify an applicant due to their severity, such as:
- Organic mental disorders
- Schizophrenic paranoid and other psychotic disorders
- Intellectual disorders
- Autistic disorders
- Anxiety-related disorders
- Mood disorders
- Personality disorders
- Substance abuse disorders
These conditions are considered to be inherently disabling and prevent the afflicted individuals from performing any substantial gainful activity (SGA). At the same time, applicants must provide medical evidence to the SSA that supports their claim, otherwise, it will likely be denied.
That’s where the Law Office of Carey Thompson comes in. We will work closely with you throughout the claims process and advocate for you before SSA disability examiners and administrative law judges. Above all, we will always stand by you and fight for the benefits you deserve.
How Does the SSA Evaluate Mental Impairments
In addition to relying on the Blue Book for guidance, disability examiners will also look to the clinical notes of mental health professionals. The examiners also review questionnaires completed by third parties, usually friends of the claimant, about the individual’s condition and day-to-day routine. Finally, the examiners will review the claimant’s activities of daily living (ADL) questionnaire.
The criteria for evaluating most mental disorders is subjective, however, and there are few standardized tests to assess the severity of these conditions. Moreover, examiners may not understand how a mental illness imposes limitations on an individual.
In addition, some mental illnesses, such as bipolar disorder, are cyclical in nature and symptoms may not always be present. When a claimant is not displaying certain symptoms, the examiners may incorrectly assume the claimant has been cured, even though the symptoms will likely resurface in the future.
The disability benefits attorneys at the Law Office Carey Thompson are well-aware of these challenges and will work with your doctor to gather evidence showing how your mental impairment qualifies you for benefits.
What if my mental condition is not listed in the Blue Book?
If you have been diagnosed with a chronic mental condition that doesn’t meet the SSA’s criteria, examiners will consider your “residual functional capacity” (RFC). This is basically an assessment of your functioning to determine if you can work. If you cannot perform any type of work, you may be awarded benefits through a medical-vocational allowance.
Nonetheless, Individuals seeking disability benefits for mental conditions face a number of obstacles and claims may be denied for any number of reasons. First, mental health professionals often keep treatment notes that lack sufficient details for a claims examiner to make an accurate disability determination.
At times, claimants don’t take prescription medications, often because of the side effects. Failing to follow a doctor’s orders, and take medications for a mental impairment will most likely result in your claim being denied. Finally, some disability benefit claims are denied due to lack of duration when an examiner determines that the condition is not expected to last at least one year.
How The Law Office of Carey Thompson Can Help
Well-versed in the SSA’s listing of qualifying mental conditions and the rules regarding mental RFC. We regularly help clients obtain benefits under the Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income programs. When you become our client, we will help you navigate all aspects of your disability claim from submitting the initial application to handling the disability appeal to representing you at the disability hearing.
We have the skills and experience to help you obtain these much needed benefits. By collaborating with a respected network of mental health professionals, we will work to build a medical record that demonstrates how your mental impairment prevents you from working.
Trust the Law Office of Carey Thompson to provide you with the informed representation you need and treat you with the dignity you deserve. If you or a loved one needs assistance applying for disability benefits for a mental condition, don’t go it alone. Contact our office today for a free consultation.