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Is a mental illness a basis for Social Security Disability benefits?

At Sharon Christie Law, a Baltimore Social Security Disability Law Firm, we are often asked to talk about the topic, is a mental illness a basis for social security disability benefits? In this video, Sharon Christie examines this topic is a mental illness a basis for social security disability benefits, and what the process of trying to claim social security benefits with a mental illness will be like. 

Official Transcript: Is a mental illness a basis for Social Security Disability Benefits?

Hi I’m Sharon Christie your nurse attorney for social security disability benefits. Today i want to talk about mental illness as a basis for disability and whether you will be required to be examined by one of social security’s doctors.


Now mental illnesses cases can be difficult because they are not conditions that can be measured by an mri or blood work that type of thing. So we have to rely on what your mental health care providers are telling us. So your psychiatrist, your psychologist, your mental health therapist. It’s important that you are getting treatment on an ongoing basis to document what are your symptoms. How is the mental illness affecting you day in and day out? What’s the treatment that you you’re getting? What have you tried in the past? How has it worked what are you doing now? How is it working for you, that’s all extremely important.
In a disability case and a lot of times I’m asked by clients well am i going to have to see one of social security’s doctors? Frequently the answer is yes. Now why does that happen? Well a lot of times it happens because either mental health issues are one part of many issues that someone has for which there may be limited treatment, or mental health may be the primary cause of disability. There’s questions that social security has that are not readily answered by what’s in the records from your psychiatrist or your psychologist or your mental health therapist. In some cases social security is very interested in having what’s called psychometric testing done and that can be fairly expensive testing. So they will arrange for you to see a psychologist to have that testing done.
Tthat testing is really about a number of things . It looks at intelligence, it looks at memory, it looks at concentration, among other things. The important part is that it gives social security information about areas that you may be struggling with that are not readily apparent in your other records or they may be mentioned but there’s not a lot of additional information about it. So you may well be sent for what’s called a psychiatric or psychological consultative examination. In some cases it will involve what are called psychometric tests to be able to quantify better the degree to which mental health issues are affecting you day in and day out.
These are really important important appointments. You want to make sure that if social security is sending you for one of these examinations make sure that you go, and make sure that you clearly explain to the doctor what problems you’re having, and how they’re affecting you day in and day out.

The Path to Social Security Disability Benefits with Sharon Christie Law

Step 1: Understanding Social Security’s Definition of Disabled

The definition of disabled, according to Social Security, is that you have severe limitations from your health problems that keep you from doing any kind of work for at least 12 consecutive months. This is the first thing we look at when evaluating your case. Your diagnosis is just the starting point. To get disability benefits for you, we must prove that your disabling condition causes severe limitations in your day to day activities.

Step 2: Medical Records in Your Disability Case

You must have medical evidence to prove your disability case. The most important evidence is your medical records that show your diagnosis, your symptoms, and your response to treatment.

Step 3: Don’t go it alone: How Sharon Christie Law Can Help You

At Sharon Christie Law, a Social Security Disability Law Firm, we recognize that no one ever plans to get so sick that they have to stop working. When you need to apply for Social Security Disability Benefits we recognize that you will be anxious about the process and whether you can qualify for disability benefits. Our goal at Sharon Christie Law is to help you win your case and give you the financial stability you need! Why work with us?

We do it all for you: At Sharon Christie Law we handle all aspects of the case for you, from preparing and filing your application through the hearing with a judge. We are with you every step of the way.  When working with us, you focus on feeling better, and we focus on winning your case.

We return your phone calls: We understand that you have many questions regarding Social Security Disability Benefits. We never want you to wonder what is happening with your case. We are here to answer your questions. All phone calls and emails are returned within 24 hours. That is our promise to you.

We believe in client education: The Social Security Disability process is confusing. We think it is important that you understand each step in the process. So, we created a section on our website that is accessible only to clients. This client’s only section tells you everything you need to know about the disability process.