Understanding SSD benefits for mental health conditions

On Behalf of | Jan 8, 2016 | Firm News

Disabled individuals may be able to receive Social Security disability benefits for medical conditions resulting from injuries but also other types of medical conditions, including mental health medical conditions. The Social Security disability (SSD) process can always be a complex process which is why it is important to understand it and have a high level of familiarity with how to apply for and qualify for benefits.

In general, for receipt of Social Security disability benefits, the applicant must have the necessary work history to apply and must have a medical condition that is expected to last longer than a year that prevents them from working. In circumstances of a mental health medical condition, to receive SSD benefits, the applicant must demonstrate that the mental health condition prevents them from working.

To demonstrate that a mental health medical condition is severe enough to prevent the applicant from working, four functional areas are assessed. Applicants must have severe functional problems in two functional areas to qualify for SSD benefits. The four functional areas that are evaluated include daily living activities; social function; concentration abilities; and decompensation such as emotional overload.

There are a number of mental health medical conditions that may qualify for SSD benefits, including depression or anxiety; post traumatic stress disorder; bipolar disorder; schizophrenia or other psychotic disorders; personality disorders; cognitive impairments; Alzheimer’s disease and dementia; phobias, obsessive compulsive disorder; Tourette’s syndrome; attention deficit disorders, autism and some additional mental health medical conditions. In addition, certain medical conditions may qualify for expedited claims processing under the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) list of compassionate allowances.

There is both an application and appeals process when applying for SSD benefits and it is important to understand the application process and what medical information is necessary and required by the SSA. Familiarity with the SSD claims process, and guidance through it, can help disabled individuals secure oftentimes badly needed benefits.

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