In some cases, it is simple for people to prove that they need Social Security Disability Insurance benefits. They have a visible disability that makes it easy for everyone to see that they are going to have difficulty working. In other cases, including claims related to anxiety, depression or bipolar disorder, the condition isn’t as obvious.
I have over three decades of experience representing claimants for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and I put my experience to work for my clients. I guide people with mental illnesses and conditions through the application process, helping them file initial claims, completing questionnaires or appeals of denied or refused claims. I can frequently identify mental conditions that had not been addressed previously. I also can recommend people be evaluated or treated for their mental health conditions in order to help win their cases.
How Well Do You Function Despite The Challenges You Face?
In order for a person to receive SSDI or SSI benefits because of mental disabilities, including depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, PTSD, mental retardation or other mental conditions, he or she must prove not only that an impairment exists, but that it also exists at a level so severe that it is disabling.
This can be especially challenging.
Many people struggle with depression or anxiety, but they are able to work. Others struggle with depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder or other mental conditions so severe that they are unable to go anywhere — even to the doctor for help. They are left without medical records of their mental health problems. The Social Security Administration looks at their records and decides that there is no proof that the impairment exists.
As an experienced Social Security Disability lawyer, I can and do ask that people be evaluated by the Social Security Administration for mental illnesses and conditions even where there are no records already existing, though this is not a substitute for getting mental health treatment as a timeline of treatment with lack of significant improvement in functioning remains the best way to win a claim for disability based upon mental health impairments. As an experienced lawyer, I know these common pitfalls, and I help my clients put their SSDI applications forward in the best manner possible.
What I Tell My Clients
The best piece of advice that I often give is to be honest with your doctor and therapist about the symptoms of your mental illness. Your doctor or therapist will probably start your office visit by asking you how you’re doing. It can feel like a reflex to automatically say “fine” or “OK” — even if you aren’t doing well at all. You can’t say that if you expect to be found disabled!
When your doctor or therapist asks you how you’re doing, tell him or her the truth. Tell your doctor about your symptoms and struggles and how they impact your life. This is critical to you getting the help you need, but it is also critical to your medical record. People who are doing “okay,” “alright,” “fine” and the like should be able to work. People who are not “okay,” “alright” or “fine” can be found disabled. The Social Security Administration reviews medical records very carefully, and people whose medical records consistently reflect their struggles with severe symptoms from depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder or other mental health issues have an easier time getting the benefits they need.
Contact The Firm For A Free Consultation
Whether you are making an initial application for benefits or your claim has been denied, I can assist you with your SSDI or SSI claim. Contact the firm today for a free consultation with an attorney. Call The Disability Law Office of Jeffrey S. Lichtman, LLC, at 215-268-7274 or toll-free at 1-800-346-7600.