When Californians think about getting Social Security Disability benefits for a health issue, there may be a reflexive belief that they are for those who have suffered a physical injury or condition. While it is possible to get benefits for that reason, SSD benefits are also available for people who have a mental health condition.
Regardless of how it comes about, those who are suffering from mental illness should be aware that they have the right to the same benefits a person who suffers spinal cord damage, brain trauma, broken bones and more.
If, for example, a person worked as a firefighter and suffers from post-traumatic stress from their job, they might be able to get approved for SSD benefits. In these cases, it is just as important to understand the requirements and provide the necessary proof. Having professional assistance to organize the medical information and complete the application as required could make the difference in getting approved.
How the Social Security Administration assesses mental health disorders
People can get SSD benefits for mental health orders for a litany of reasons. If they are suffering from schizophrenia or other psychotic disorders, they can be approved. This is also true for anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorders, trauma, stress, intellectual issues, depression, bipolar and impulse control. Regardless of the mental issue, it is fundamental to show that the problem exists and that it meets the requisite level to get SSD benefits.
If a person is schizophrenic, they will hallucinate, have delusions, have disorganized speech or be catatonic and grossly disorganized. People with this condition cannot complete goals, are socially withdrawn, lose interest in pleasurable activities, have mood disturbances and other symptoms. With this or other mental health conditions, the SSA will need various forms of evidence before approving the claim.
An objective medical source will show that the person is suffering from a specific mental disorder. They will also need to show that it inhibits their ability to work. A person who is unable to behave appropriately, is manically depressed or is unable to adapt to social norms is unlikely to function in a work environment without treatment and possibly medication. Even that might not be effective.
The medical sources will discuss the symptoms, the person’s history, what their examinations show, how they fare in testing procedures, their level of functioning and more. If they are given medication, it might have certain side effects that also present obstacles with functioning in a normal work environment when the person is asked to perform tasks and adhere to specific codes.
People who know the person can also provide evidence about how the mental order impacts them. This could be family, friends, caregivers, neighbors, colleagues and others. If the person has worked before, received training or attended school, these entities can give evidence about the person’s behavior before and after the mental condition came up.
When applying for SSD for mental conditions, experienced representation can be vital
The mental condition, its persistence, severity and how it prevents them from working a normal job must be shown in the evidence. The SSA has evaluation criteria it uses when deciding whether to approve the benefits.
With mental conditions, the aftermath and impact can be as bad if not worse than those who have been physically injured on the job or otherwise. In Social Security Disability cases, it is not unusual for there to be a denial at one or more stage of the application. Fortunately, there are several ways to appeal and they can be effective in getting approved for benefits.
People suffering from mental illness who are unable to work because of it must remember that they have rights. When applying for SSD benefits, it is imperative to be protected and to have experienced help in determining their eligibility, gathering evidence, applying and appealing if necessary. Calling for advice and a consultation is the first step.