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According to New York University’s Langone Medical Center, more than 8.3 million Americans ― or an estimated 3.4 percent of the adult population ― suffer from a serious mental health disability.
Many individuals pursue Social Security disability as a result of mental illness. Some don’t believe that you can receive a favorable decision if you have a mental disability, but you can.
However, many Social Security disability claimants make mistakes when filing a claim with a mental health disability as their condition. Our firm’s been representing individuals for more than two decades, and we recognize a lot of common mistakes that hinder your ability to win a disability case for mental illness.
In this blog, we identify 5 common mistakes individuals make when pursuing disability benefits for mental illness:
In order to receive a favorable decision based on a mental health claim or to win a disability case for mental illness, you must first be diagnosed by a medical professional.
The internet is vast, and there are a lot of medical sites available. It’s easy to get lured into these sites and believe that we have a certain condition even if we haven’t seen a doctor.
Also, our family members are great at giving us opinions on conditions they believe we have, but until a medical professional gives you an official diagnosis, the Social Security Administration (SSA) won’t likely approve your claim based on an alleged impairment.
Receiving a diagnosis is only part of the battle. You must also seek consistent treatment to prove mental disability. For instance, if you’ve been diagnosed with depression, you need to have additional medical evidence to show that you’re treating the condition.
Examples include attending therapy, taking prescribed medications, seeking alternative treatment like yoga or meditation, or even scheduling follow-up appointments with your doctor.
Mental health disabilities are serious. However, one condition alone may not be enough for you to receive a favorable decision. Let’s say you have depression, anxiety, and PTSD. You should pursue each of those claims if they all impact your ability to work.
Don’t just put all your eggs in one basket. Similarly, if you have mental disabilities and physical disabilities, you should pursue both types if they impact your ability to work. For example, if depression and a back condition keep you from working, it may be in your best interest to pursue both conditions on your disability application.
Simply having a diagnosis of a condition does not necessarily mean that it will keep you from working. For instance, you may have a diagnosis of depression, but it may not impact your job.
Or maybe you’re able to manage your conditions with medication, and it does not impact your job. You need evidence showing how your mental health disability impacts your ability to work.
Did you miss a lot of work because of your psychological impairment? Do you have problems dealing with the public? Are you only able to concentrate for small periods of time? Do you avoid public places? These are just some of the examples of how mental health conditions can impact your job.
It’s no secret that most people get denied mental health disability benefits at least once or twice when pursuing a Social Security claim. There is a good chance your claim will be denied, too.
That does not mean that you should give up, though. We’ve worked with a lot of clients who were denied at least once and eventually received their favorable decision. Don’t give up.
Mental health disabilities are serious and need to be treated properly. If you’ve been struggling with a mental health condition, and you can’t work, give us a call today for a free consultation on how to prove mental health disability to the SSA.
Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law