The four areas of mental functioning

On Behalf of | Nov 1, 2019 | Social Security Disability

It is not only a physical disability that can qualify you for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits in Pennsylvania. A large number of mental disabilities can also qualify. However, we at The Disability Law Office of Jeffrey S. Lichtman point out that simply informing the Social Security Administration that you have a mental impairment does not qualify you for benefits automatically. The SSA must evaluate your case and determine whether your impairment prevents you from working due to its severity.

To make this determination, the SSA assesses your functional ability in four different areas. If you can demonstrate to the SSA that you have severe problems in at least two of these areas, you may qualify for Social Security Disability benefits.


If you have a history of inpatient psychiatric evaluation and of reacting inappropriately to events in your daily life, you may be unable to work and therefore qualify for SSDI. An example of an inappropriate reaction is blowing up in anger in response to a mild stimulus.

Activities of daily living

An inability to effectively perform the basic functions needed to thrive on a day-to-day basis, including personal hygiene, cooking, shopping, cleaning and managing personal finances could indicate a mental impairment severe enough to qualify for SSDI.


Deficient concentration could render you unable to perform projects or tasks, even of the simplest variety. Without the ability to concentrate, you are almost certainly unable to work.

Social functioning

In a work situation surrounded by supervisors and co-workers, social functioning is necessary. Since teamwork and communication skills are so important to so many jobs, an inability to get along with others due to mental impairment could prevent you from working and qualify you for SSDI.

When filing for SSDI benefits, it is necessary to provide evidence to support your claim. More information about Social Security Disability is available on our website.

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