Social Security Disability Mental Health


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What Should I Say At My Disability Hearing

How Mental Health Is Handled in SSDI Cases

Explain what prevents you from working. The better answer to the question, Why cant you work? would be one that explains what physical and/or mental conditions are preventing you from completing job tasks.

Oftentimes individuals with physical or mental conditions push themselves to continue working, which leads them to being fired or let go because they are not capable of completing the required tasks.

At your hearing you must be honest about whether you were fired or let go from your last job. Why? Because that fact itself is supportive evidence for your inability to maintain employment on a regular and consistent basis. And thats what you should focus on during your hearing: yes, you were let go from your job and even if you were given another position tomorrow you would not be able to complete the job due to x, y and z.

If you are not sure about something, dont feel pressured to say something fast and accurate. Precisely, if you are not sure, you wont be accurate at all, and that may lead you to lose your credibility. Remember that you can always be honest and express that you are nervous because you are in a courtroom.

What Should I Bring To The Mental Health Exam

At a mental examination, you’ll spend most of the appointment discussing your past and present situation with the psychiatrist or psychologist examining you. But the medical professional conducting a Social Security disability mental exam is required to verify your identity as part of the CE. So, there are a few things that you’ll need to bring with you to the exam, including:

  • your Social Security claim number, and

Types Of Bipolar Disorder

The insurance company may also want to know what type of Bipolar Disorder you suffer from. Health experts classify bipolar disorder into four types:

  • Bipolar Affective Disorder 1: This type is diagnosed when you have had at least one manic episode, which could be followed or preceded by a major depressive or hypomanic episode. Individuals with Bipolar 1 experience full-blown mania. Symptoms may include high energy, insomnia, racing thoughts, extreme talkative behavior, hallucinations and delusions.
  • Bipolar Affective Disorder 2: Sometimes referred to as Swinging Bipolar, you may be diagnosed with Bipolar 2 if you experience at least one depressive episode and one hypomanic episode. Unlike Bipolar 1, those diagnosed with Bipolar 2 arent known to have psychotic episodes. They can, however, suffer badly from depression.
  • Cyclothymic Disorder: Cycolthymic Disorder is characterized by at least a two-year history of periods of both hypomania/mania and depression, but not to a major extent. Your manic and depressive episodes can go back and forth over a period of time, but not enough to meet full criteria of major depression. Those diagnosed with Cyclothymic Disorder do have trouble functioning at times.
  • Bipolar Affective Disorder NOS : This type is diagnosed when you experience some characteristics of bipolar disorder, but none of which can be classified as one of the three other types.

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Link Supported Employment Services To Mental Health Services

Linking supported employment to mental health services could enable a sizable proportion of people with serious mental illnesses to become employed. The evidence we reviewed strongly supports combining these. Aligning Medicaid and Medicare with these services could ameliorate the problem of limited adoption of evidence-based practices. Congress could decide which agencies should pay for the services, mandate the services, and allocate sufficient funds to serve the population. States could be mandated to monitor implementation, organization, quality, and outcomes. Valid monitoring will require attention to electronic records, quality of services, and outcomes.

Social/psychological Functioning Health And Disability

Impairment Types Most Frequently Approved for SSD Benefits

We created a summary variable for individuals from the 1994, 1995 NHIS-D data to indicate the presence of one or more of six problems in social or psychological functioning: a lot of trouble making or keeping friendships,a lot of trouble getting along with other people in social or recreational settings,a lot of trouble concentrating long enough to complete everyday tasks,serious difficulty coping with day-to-day stresses,frequently confused, disoriented, or forgetful, and have phobias or unreasonably strong fears. The six items concerning social/psychological functioning exhibited satisfactory internal consistency .

We coded self- assessed health as good or better versus fair or poor. Work disability was indicated by reported limitations in kind or amount of work or inability to work. Variables indicating difficulties with activities of daily living and instrumental activities of daily living were based on reported problems with one or more specific activities. Days of restricted activity in the past two weeks represented days of missed work or school, days spent in bed, and other days of reduced activity due to illness or injury.

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Americans With Disabilities Act

The Americans with Disabilities Act provides many protections for people with disabilities. This can include mental health conditions as well. Part of the protection means that you cannot be discriminated against at work due to your condition, and you are also entitled to certain reasonable accommodations when performing your job. These accommodations could be anything from an extra mental health day to getting reassigned to a boss who is more compassionate. You might be required to submit medical evidence of your condition to qualify for these accommodations, but using the protection of the ADA can be a great way to make your life a little easier when dealing with your mental health issues.

Providing Proof Of Impairment

Submitting psychiatric evidence that a given mental health disorder reduces the applicants functional capacity is still essential to obtaining approval for SSD benefits. Some disability examiners may not understand the debilitating nature of mental disorders, or might even have prejudices concerning them. Thats why its essential to hire a legal team that can compile medical information on your behalf and present your application in as compelling a light as possible.

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How To Get Bipolar Disability

In addition to a history of poor response to medication and multiple hospitalizations, there are a few other factors that make it more likely youll receive disability benefits. These factors have to do with your age, how long you have been diagnosed with the disorder, and your work history. Keep in mind that getting SSDI requires having a work history.

For SSI you need to have low income and few financial resources. Some people who file a disability claim qualify for SSDI plus SSI. .

The following factors can help you get disability benefits:

  • Difficulty maintaining employment, because of your bipolar disorder
  • Difficulty with relationships

How To Qualify For Disability Benefits

Social Security Disability Mental Health Claims-How to Use GAF Scores

Regardless of your medical condition, you must meet the criteria established by the SSA to be approved for disability benefits. Some of these include:

  • Your ability to function on a day to day basis
  • Your ability to work and earn gainful employment
  • Whether or not your condition is long-term

How your condition affects your daily life is a major part of disability claim. The more evidence you include, the better, as the burden of proof falls entirely on you. Having the support of an experienced disability attorney will give you the advantage necessary to prove your claim.

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What Mental Disorders Qualify For Social Security Disability

The Social Security Administration recognizes a wide variety of mental disorders as having the potential to cause total long term disability. In order to qualify for Social Security Disability benefits based on a mental disorder, your condition must be diagnosed by a doctor and meet the criteria which any other illness or injury must meet in order to qualify for disability, namely:

  • The mental disorder must prevent you from doing any work which you have done up until now.
  • The mental disorder must render you unable to reasonably be trained for other work, which is available at the time of your disability.
  • The mental disorder must be expected to be long term, lasting at least a year.

The criteria for disability based on mental health are the same, whether you are applying for SSDI or SSI. With these broad criteria in mind, the SSA recognizes several categories of mental illness which may be considered for Social Security Disability.

The list of recognized mental disorders is not entirely complete. Any mental disorder which renders you unable to perform gainful work may be considered for Social Security Disability benefits.

Because diagnosing many mental disorders can be somewhat subjective, it can be difficult and time consuming to prove to the SSA that your mental disorder qualifies you as completely disabled according to the SSA definition. You will help your case immeasurably if you keep a running journal of how your mental condition affects your day to day life.

Paint A Picture Of Your Daily Living

Describe your daily activities and whether you need assistance during your day-to-day activities due to your mental conditions or medical condition. For example, if you need help cooking, doing house chores, shopping for groceries, or paying bills. Describe what kind of assistance you receive, how often you receive, and why you require it. This is important since it indicates that many jobs would be difficult for you to perform in a work setting.

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Align Incentives For People Who Qualify For Disability

An alignment of incentives could help beneficiaries move as rapidly as possible back into the workforce. The rules for disability payment reductions in relation to work could be more gradual, and people could be allowed to return to disability payments easily when they encounter difficulties. The goal should be to help people return to work, not necessarily to leave the SSA rolls.

Work With Our Disability Claim Attorneys

Understanding A Social Security Disability Denial

Dont hesitate to appeal a denied claim. The attorneys at Marc Whitehead & Associates helps people across the country overturn claim denials for bipolar and other mental disorders. In most cases, we will work on a contingency fee basis. This means that no retainer is required, and you dont owe us a fee until we win your case.

Please call our law firm toll free at today to arrange a free consultation with a lawyer to see how we may help you recover benefits under a bipolar disability claim.

About Marc Whitehead

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Writing A Personal Narrative

Given the varying symptoms of bipolar disorder, you should explain to your insurance company how your individual symptoms prevent you from performing your job duties. You can do this by preparing a detailed, written narrative for the insurance company. In many cases, it is helpful if the narrative addresses all of your symptoms by listing them separately first. Because most symptoms of bipolar disorder are subjective in nature, your narrative can also address the severity of your symptoms, as well as factors that trigger or exacerbate your symptoms.

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Mental Disorders And Physical Conditions

We used two self-reported criteria to determine the presence of mental disorders. The first criterion was an affirmative response to one of several questions about the presence of specific mental disorders or OTHER mental or emotional disorders in the past 12 months. The questions were presented as checklists in the 1994 and 1995 NHIS-D interviews.

The second criterion was based on the reporting of a medical condition, coded by ICD-9 categories , that fell within the range of codes used for mental illness . Data on conditions were available from both the 1994 and 1995 NHIS-D and Core data sets.

We considered an affirmative answer to one or more of the mental disorder checklist items or the mention of a condition within the specified range of ICD-9 codes as indicating the presence of a mental disorder. Mental retardation, mental disorders with an organic origin, and childhood-specific mental disorders were excluded from this definition. We incorporated substance abuse conditions, along with checklist items regarding alcohol and drug abuse disorders, into a separate substance abuse variable.

We identified those persons with reported conditions that fell outside ICD-9 codes 290.0 through 319.99 as having a physical condition.

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Qualifying For Ssd With A Mental Disorder

Often, demonstrating your disorder and its severity are the hardest steps toward qualifying for Social Security Disability. If you face a listed disability, you do not automatically qualify for disability benefits. You must first have your doctor or psychiatrist file paperwork that demonstrates how severe your condition is.

The SSA considers a disorder severe enough to qualify for disability if it affects your daily life so much that you cannot perform work activities. This does not require that your disorder should require institutionalization or round-the-clock care. Instead, like physical disabilities, mental disabilities can be severe enough to prevent you from working without requiring constant hospitalization or supervision.

If you are able to work to some degree, your SSD payments may be reduced or denied. If you are denied SSD, it is vital to talk to an attorney about your denial. Having an attorney help with your filing from the beginning can help ensure that you use the proper language to demonstrate your disorder to the Social Security Administration. If you are denied, our attorneys may be able to fight your denial and help you through the process of receiving disability benefits.

Blue Book Mental Disorders

Social Security Disability and Mental Illness

The SSA blue book section entitled 12.00 Mental Disorders Adult lists mental disorders in 11 categories. These various types of disabilities include common mental health conditions like bipolar disorder, anxiety disorder, and various personality disorders.

  • Neurocognitive Disorders
  • Schizophrenia Spectrum and Other Psychotic Disorders
  • Depressive, Bipolar, and Related Disorders
  • Intellectual Disorder
  • Neurodevelopmental Disorders
  • Eating Disorders
  • Trauma- and Stressor-Related Disorders

Some conditions may fall under multiple categories, which may affect how they are evaluated. We highly recommend you speak with a Social Security disability benefits attorney to determine the best approach for your specific case.

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How Someone With A Mental Health Condition Can Qualify For Social Security Disability Benefits

If you have a mental health condition that limits your ability to perform routine daily tasks and keeps you from performing work to earn a living, you may qualify for disability benefits administered by the Social Security Administration . The SSA has two disability programs, Supplemental Security Income and Social Security Disability Insurance . Both programs have strict medical requirements for a claim to be approved.


SSDI is a disability program based off your work history. You must have earned enough credits and paid in enough taxes to qualify for benefits. For most people, you must have worked the equivalent of 5 years full-time out of the last 10 years. SSI does not depend on work history, and just so long as you meet the financial criteria, which involve resources and income, you can be approved. You will need to provide supporting documentation for both.

Medically Qualifying for Disability Benefits

The SSA uses a medical guide, which is called the Blue Book, to determine if a claimant qualifies for disability benefits. There is a section in the Blue Book for mental disorders, and it has listings for a variety of conditions, including anxiety-related conditions, psychotic disorders, learning disabilities, depression, and many other mental health issues. Each listing has specific criteria that must be met for the claimant to medically qualify per that specific listing.

Using A Medical Vocational Allowance

Applying For Disability Benefits

Applying For Disability Benefits With A Mental Illness

Mental and psychological disabilities are among the conditions that can qualify for benefits from the Social Security Administration . You may qualify with severe depression, bipolar disorder, an anxiety disorder, or another mental illness that prevents you from maintaining gainful employment.

Social Security disability benefits can cover everyday living expenses, medical bills, and other financial obligations. Benefits are paid monthly and can alleviate many of your financial worries, making it possible for you to get by without income from employment.

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A Note On Alcohol And Drug Abuse

Many people who suffer from mental illness also have drug or alcohol problems. You can still get approved for disability if you are currently abusing drugs or alcohol as long as your mental condition would still be disabling if you were sober. If the records indicate your mental condition would go away if you stopped abusing drugs or alcohol, you will be denied. For more information, see Nolo’s article on how alcohol and drugs affect your disability claim.

You could be eligible for up to $3,148 per month in SSDI benefits

Fayetteville Arkansas Disability Attorneys

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Ken Kieklak, Attorney at Law, is an Arkansas Social Security attorney that fights for disabled Arkansans in the Fayetteville area. Ken can help you file your social security claim based on your mental disorder, physical ailments, handicap, or any other disability. Even if your disorder is not on this list, you may still qualify for Social Security. Call 316-0438 today to schedule a free consultation on your Social Security Disability needs.

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What Mental Disorders Qualify For Social Security Disability Benefits

The Social Security Administration recognizes several mental disorders that cause long term disability and may entitle the victim to disability benefits. The mental disorders that qualify for benefits can be found in Blue Book section 12.00. There are several categories of mental disorders that the SSA lists. These include the following:

  • Substance addiction disorders such as alcoholism and drug addiction including being addicted to prescription drugs
  • Somatoform disorders which are mental illnesses which reveal a sickness or injury which may or may not be present
  • Psychotic disorders which include schizophrenia and paranoia may automatically qualify the victim for Social Security Disability. Some victims qualify for a Compassionate Allowance which means they are eligible to receive social security benefits as soon as possible
  • Personality disorders which are mental illnesses which when they affect people it makes it difficult for them fit in with society as a whole. This can include obsessive-compulsive disorder and passive-aggressive disorder
  • Organic mental disorders which include delirium, dementia, and Alzheimers, which affect the nervous system
  • Autistic/ Pervasive developmental disorders which are mental disabilities which may affect a number of skills such as communication, cognitive, behavior, and social.
  • Anxiety disorders which are so bad that work is impossible
  • Affective disorders which are mood disorders which include depression and bipolar.

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