How the SSA analyzes mental health disorders
How the SSA analyzes mental health disorders
Spector and Lenz firm photo

How the SSA analyzes mental health disorders

On Behalf of | Sep 15, 2021 | Social Security Disability Insurance

A mental health condition, whether it be something as severe as schizophrenia or something that has a broader spectrum of severity, like anxiety, can wreak havoc on your life. It can make carrying out daily tasks difficult and render what many consider a “normal” life impossible. This can directly affect your ability to work, too, which can lead to financial uncertainty and an inability to obtain the mental health treatment that you need. Such a reality can leave you feeling hopeless for your future.

But we encourage you not to lose hope. There are things that you can do to position yourself to recover the compensation that you need to secure financial stability and obtain the treatment that you deserve. Your best option very well may be seeking SSDI benefits.

How mental health disorders are assessed for SSDI purposes

Before you can recover SSDI, though, you should have an awareness of how the Social Security Administration (SSA) analyzes those cases pertaining to mental health conditions. The mental health category of the SSDI bluebook has several specific mental health disorders, each with their own requirements that must be met before SSDI will be paid out. Most of them require you show how the condition affects your ability to function on a daily basis.

Medical evidence

However, when assessing the particulars of your case, the SSA will take the same basic approach. To start, it’s important to note that the SSA wants to see objective medical evidence of your condition. Therefore, it’s best for you to obtain all of your medical records and secure all recommended forms of treatment.

You should ensure that your medical evidence demonstrates your symptoms, your medical history, and the results of any testing that was conducted. Your diagnosis will be important, too, as will the types of medications you take and how beneficial those medications have been for you. Your medical provider’s perceptions of your ability to function and the expected duration and severity of your disorder can all help push your SSDI claim forward.

Non-medical evidence

While medical evidence is certainly crucial to your SSDI claim, you can’t overlook the importance of non-medical evidence. Your employment records, for example, may help show how your condition limits your ability to work. Statements from family members, friends, and others who know you can help illustrate how your condition affects your ability to function on a daily basis. Even statements from your school or training program could be valuable. What the SSA is looking for is consistency in these statements, all pointing toward disability and an inability to work.

Other evidence

The SSA will likely also request additional evidence. It may want evidence that shows how your ability to function changes over time, and it may want more information about the types of supports that you have in place that may skew a perception of your ability to function. It’s in your best interests to present as much information as possible to the SSA so that you can give a clear picture of your condition, its severity, its impact on your ability to function, and its likelihood of improvement.

Be holistic in developing your SSDI case

There’s a lot at stake in a SSDI case. After all, it may be your only option for securing the financial stability that you desperately need. That’s why you need to be diligent in gathering the evidence that you need to support your case. By taking a holistic approach, you might be able to increase your chances of success, which can give you the relief you need. If you’d like more information about what you can do to build your SSDI case, then please continue to research the topic and reach out for the support that you need.