Applying for Disability with a Mental Illness


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Applying for Disability with a Mental Illness

Published on November 5th, 2020 by Eric Slepian

The process of applying for Social Security Disability benefits is not only long and complicated, but it can also be extremely challenging. First, you must prove that your disability stops you from performing substantial gainful activity (SGA), and that it is reasonable that your disability is expected to last at least a year (or will result in your death). This is often a daunting challenge – and in most cases, you must prove your claim multiple times as you work your way through the appeals process.

Applying for SSD benefits due to an impairment caused by a mental illness is even more difficult and challenging then it is for a claimant suffering from a physical disability. Clear diagnosis, based on objective evidence like laboratory tests, and CT scans, is often available and difficult to refute when it comes to a physical ailment. This is hardly ever the case for those suffering from mental illness, which tends to be a more subjective diagnosis.

The Application Process

The application process for Social Security Disability benefits is similar whether you are making a claim based on a mental or physical disorder. The first step is to contact the Social Security Administration (SSA) and inform them that you intend to file a claim. The SSA will set up an interview, after which the information you provided will be reviewed by an examiner and he or she will render a decision regarding your claim.

You should be prepared to have your initial claim denied, as more than 2/3 of them are, and in most cases, your first appeal will also be denied before your claim is approved at the hearing level by an Administrative Law Judge. If you decide to appeal the initial decision, we advise you to seek a qualified Social Security Disability attorney to help you work through the intricacies of the Social Security appeals process. Claimants who acquire legal representation are much more likely to have their claims approved than those who decide to go it on their own.

Our Social Security Disability Law Firm in Phoenix, Arizona is Here to Help

When making a claim based on mental illness, working with a Social Security Disability law firm in Phoenix, AZ can be extremely helpful. SSD attorneys thoroughly understand the criteria SSA adjudicators are looking for. Your lawyer will communicate with your doctor, psychologist, and any other medical professionals who are working with you to help ensure the SSA’s forms are filled out properly so your claim is more likely to be approved.

Certain mental illnesses like depression and bipolar disorder, often require more evidence demonstrating how the condition is debilitating – despite treatment, while other conditions, like schizophrenia are more likely to be accepted more readily. Unfortunately, the exact criteria regarding which disorders will qualify for SSD benefits are not always clear. If you’re looking for compassionate, knowledgeable Social Security Disability lawyers who can help you through this complicated process, we invite you to give us a call today.

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