Any person who has a severe disability that impedes their ability to work may be eligible to file for disability benefits. With a physical condition, it’s much easier for a doctor to determine whether or not a serious medical problem exists and there are clear guidelines about how to test for this and award disability accordingly. When it comes to mental conditions, however, things can operate quite differently and you need to be prepared for this if you intend to file for disability benefits because of a mental condition.
If you are applying for Social Security disability or Supplemental Security Income because of a mental condition, you need to approach your case somewhat differently than for a physical condition. Your application and mental treatment records will be evaluated carefully to determine whether or not your condition meets the grounds to receive disability benefits. Your medical records should show that your ability to engage in normal daily activities is affected by your condition. A reduced ability to persist in daily activities or an inability to engage in them at all can indicate whether or not a claimant can engage in work activity. Certain cognitive impairments will indicate that you have a reduced ability to learn instructions, retain instructions, follow instructions, or concentrate. The disability examiner posted to your case will be responsible for determining whether or not there is evidence of a social impairment as well such as the inability to get along with coworkers or managers.
If you have a mental condition that does not result in extended periods of decompensation, which refers to the deterioration of something that was previously functioning at an adequate or typical level, may still allow you to apply for disability benefits. Decompensation can occur as a result of prolonged psychiatric illness, stress or fatigue and can determine whether or not someone has an ability to consistently engage in work activity. Consulting with an experienced social security disability attorney can help you identify what you need to do in order to protect yourself and the most appropriate way to proceed with your application and get your questions answered.