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Do Mental Disabilities Qualify for Social Security Benefits?

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Mental disabilities can show up with any number of symptoms, some are severely disabling. When loved ones experience limited ability to function due to a mental disability, and are unable to work to earn a living or to care for themselves, they may be entitled to Social Security benefits. Discussing your concerns with a Social Security disability lawyer may be a good idea.

Which Conditions might Qualify for Benefits? 

There are actually many mental conditions that impact the ability to perform normal daily activities or to work. Individuals impacted by these conditions may be eligible for Social Security disability benefits. Some conditions include:

  • Postpartum depression;
  • Autism;
  • Depression;
  • Adult ADHD;
  • Addiction issues;
  • Anxiety disorders;
  • Compulsive disorders;
  • Eating disorders;
  • PTSD;
  • Psychosis;
  • Schizophrenia or paranoia;
  • Psychotic disorders;
  • Somatoform disorders;
  • Affective disorders that impede one’s ability to work and that have been treated for a minimum of two years.

Impact on Functionality 

When a mental condition limits a person’s ability to do basic tasks without assistance, eligibility for Social Security benefits is a real possibility. What kinds of issues will be considered? Taking care of obligations essential for independent living, including the ability to:

  • Groom yourself;
  • Cook;
  • Clean;
  • Drive;
  • Manage bills.

Additionally, one’s ability to function appropriately in social settings will be considered. Does the individual have irrational fears surrounding social situations or strangers? Are frequent altercations with others causing distress? Is social behavior generally disturbing or inappropriate? All of these issues are relevant in making Social Security disability benefit determinations.

Consultative Examinations 

Determinations of mental capacity are made by examiners who attempt to understand specifically how severely functioning is limited. They will consider a number of issues, such as one’s ability to concentrate and one’s level of persistence.

Examiners will look at medical records documenting symptoms and past treatments, as well as laboratory results and other tests, all with an eye toward determining a person’s ability to live and work in their community. A number of psychiatric and psychological exams may be conducted, as examiners attempt to get a complete picture of a person’s mental capacity. They will consider a person’s memory, IQ, and any abnormalities related to perception, thinking processes, judgment, and eye contact. They will consider suicidal tendencies, frustration levels, and the ability to understand a series of instructions and respond appropriately.  All of these issues might impact one’s ability to live and work in the community. If serious deficits are present, Social Security disability benefits may be appropriate.

A Daunting Process 

Supporting an individual who suffers from debilitating mental disorders can be draining work. Unfortunately, going through the process to obtain Social Security disability benefits is no walk in the park, either. At the office of Derek L. Hall, PC, our legal team is knowledgeable and experienced when it comes to the Social Security agency. We will make sure that your application is complete and accurate, and that it gets the attention it deserves. In the event an initial application is denied, our heavy hitters will take on the appeal process on your behalf. If you are in hopes of getting Social Security Disability benefits for a loved one based on a mental disability, contact us in Jackson for a free, confidential consultation today.

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