Non-Physical Illnesses And Social Security Benefits

Posted on: 7 March 2019

People who can no longer work at their jobs can face financial hardships. The Social Security Administration (SSA) has a program that addresses that hardship. Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is meant to cover those afflicted by an illness that prevents them from performing the job tasks of their most recent job. Some might not know that the SSA recognizes several mental disorders for coverage along with physical ailments. Read on to learn more.

The Challenge of Proof

No matter what type of illness you present to the SSA, the need for proof is of prime consideration. When it comes to unseen illnesses like mental diseases, the methods of proof become even more important. As with all SSA claims, proof begins with showing that you have been seeing a medical or mental health professional for your mental illness. It's worth noting that while it is not strictly necessary to see a mental health practitioner for your affliction, doing so may help provide a greater level of proof to the SSA. You can, however, use a medical doctor for mental health issues.

What the SSA Needs to See

Once you have established a pattern of seeking treatment, be sure to continue with the treatment. Keep your appointments, participate in all suggested therapies, and don't allow a gap in treatment. The SSA evaluates your claim based on what you provide to them. Consider using your medical payment and prescription receipts, doctors letters and notes, and the results of diagnostic tests to show proof when you apply for benefits.

Being Unable to Perform Job Tasks

Unfortunately, showing proof of your condition is not enough. You must also demonstrate why and how your mental health condition is preventing you from working. That means tying your condition to the specific tasks of your most recent job as well as any other job that might be available to you. This sounds complex, but it's simply a listing of the symptoms of your mental illnesses, a listing of job tasks, and your level of functioning in regard to those items.

Here is an example: You are dealing with an anxiety disorder. You are unable to appear and speak before a group of people. Unfortunately, your job is a college professor. You are trained to be a college professor and there are no other jobs available that does not require you to speak before an audience. If you can prove that you have an anxiety disorder and that there are no other suitable positions you could hold, you might be approved for benefits

This need to demonstrate how your illness affects your ability to work is what trips up many SSDI applicants, which means they end up having to appeal the ruling. Speak to a disability lawyer about providing the vocational information needed to have the decision overturned.