Experienced Disability Lawyers

Assessing mental illness for SSDI

On Behalf of | Apr 16, 2024 | Social Security Disability

In the past, people who sought Social Security Disability benefits for mental disorders in Indiana were treated differently than those who had a physical condition. It might seem easier to diagnose a person who is suffering from a back injury, a brain injury, has lost a limb or has a diagnosed condition. Mental issues can be more difficult to categorize.

Fortunately, people with mental illnesses or conditions can also be approved for disability. When applying, evidence will be a key factor in the case. As part of the application, it is essential to understand the difference between medical criteria and functional criteria. The latter is based more on the medical professionals’ assessment. It is known as paragraph B.

Paragraph B largely relies on how people handle various situations

Those with mental disorders often face challenges with how they behave in certain situations, the way in which they interact with others, function and adapt. The Social Security Administration will want to know how the person understands, remembers or applies information.

There are vital parts of being able to work in just about any job. If, for example, a person is given instructions or procedures to work in a warehouse and they get confused or are unable to do so, this will be important with the assessment.

Almost every job requires a person to interact with others in some way. Those who are given instructions by supervisors or need to collaborate with colleagues are expected to have that ability. Behaving in an irritable way, showing oversensitivity, starting arguments or exhibiting paranoia will be viewed as obstacles to functioning in a work setting.

Work requires a person to have a level of concentration, show persistence and keep up their pace. In the warehouse example, a person who needs to bring an item from one area to another, put it in its proper place and then repeat the process needs to hold their attention on the task, continue it until it is completed and in the required time-frame.

Finally, the person must be able to manage themselves. That includes controlling emotions and behaving appropriately. Most jobs will have unexpected issues arise and people with mental disorders need to handle that. This includes knowing what constitutes acceptable and unacceptable actions, adhering to acceptable hygienic standards and dressing properly for work.

The Social Security Administration uses a five-point scale to rate the severity of the disorder, ranging from no limitation to extreme limitation.

Those with mental disorders should know how to prove their case

Social Security Disability benefits are available for people whose illnesses or conditions are of sufficient severity that they cannot work. Mental disorders might seem complex when seeking benefits, but there are criteria in place to try and reach a fair determination. Even if an application is denied, there are options to appeal.

Those who are dealing with mental illness could be eligible for benefits. Knowing how to move forward with a claim and prove it is valid is crucial.