How to file for disability, Filing for SSI
Disability Requirements, Disability Status
How long is the wait?, Disability Application
The Social Security List of Impairments
Qualifying for Disability, Mental Disability
Disability Lawyer Info, Disability Back Pay

The Social Security Disability and SSI Process for Mental Claims based on Mental Disorders

Disability claims with the Social security administration are filed for practically every type of physical and mental impairment. Very seldom is it the case that an SSD (Social Security Disability) or SSI (supplemental security income) claim will be filed on the basis of a single condition.

In most cases, there will be multiple conditions listed on the disability report form (the SSA-3368 form that is submitted by the claimant at the time of filing for disability). And very often, a claim will be filed on the basis of having both mental and physical conditions (depression and degenerative disc disease, for example).

However, whether a claim is filed on the basis of a mental condition alone, or in combination with several other mental or physical conditions, the process is the same. At the disability application and reconsideration appeal levels, the disability examiner who is determining the outcome of the claim will do the following:

1. The disability examiner will Send MER letters to every single treatment source listed by the claimant at the time they have filed a claim. MER stands for medical evidence of record. The examiner will attempt to get all relevant records from every listed source, and may even attempt to get records which were not specifically listed by the claimant but which were discovered during the review of other medical records.

For example, it is not uncommon for a disability examiner to learn that a claimant was treated by a certain psychiatrist or psychologist when reading office treatment notes provided by the claimant's family doctor, or while reading an admission or discharge summary from a hospital stay.

2. The disability examiner will evaluate all the mental health and mental treatment records after they have arrived, looking for evidence that might indicate mental functional limitations. The social security administration uses a system of evaluation (for mental disability claims) that assumes a certain set of abilities must exist for a claimant to be able to perform work activity.

If these abilities do not exist in the claimant as a result of their condition, or if they possess a certain ability to a lesser extent, the claimant will be considered to have functional limitations in this area.

What are the various basic abilities which, according to SSA, a claimant must have in order to be capable of performing work activity? The most basic are the following:

A) The ability to understand, carry out, and remember simple instructions. This ability further involves certain various subsidiary abilities such as the ability to remember work locations and procedures, the ability to carry out a work routine without special supervision, the ability to maintain attention and concentration, and the ability to adhere to a defined work schedule.

B) The ability to use judgement, which includes the ability to make basic decisions related to work and the ability to be aware of dangers and hazards in the work environment.

C) The ability to respond appropriately to work situations and to other individuals in the work place such as supervisors and fellow workers.

D) The ability to respond, and adapt to, changes in the work environment.

Additional information at:

What can I expect from a Social Security Mental Examination or Evaluation?
Social Security Disability and SSI Mental Claims and Criteria

Essential Questions

What is the Social Security Disability SSI list of impairments?

Can you work while getting or applying for Disability?

How Often Does Social Security Approve Disability The First Time You Apply?

Tips for getting Social Security Disability or SSI benefits approved

What medical conditions will get you approved for disability?

What kind of Mental Problems Qualify for Disability?

Receiving a Disability Award Letter

Conditions Social Security will recognize as a disability

Previously answered questions regarding SSD and SSI

Applying for disability in your state

Most popular topics on SSDRC.com

Social Security Disability SSI Questions

The listings, list of disabling impairments

Can a mental illness qualify you for disability?

Disability Lawyers prevent unnecessary denials

How much Social Security Disability SSI back pay?

How to apply for disability for a child or children

Filing a Social Security Disability SSI application

Filing for disability - when to file

How to apply for disability - where to apply

Qualifications for disability benefits

How to Prove you are disabled and Win your Disability Benefits

Qualifying for Disability - The Process

How to get disability for depression

Getting disability for fibromyalgia

SSI disability for children with ADHD

What is the Application Process for Social Security Disability and SSI?

Common Mistakes to avoid after being denied for Disability

Social Security Disability SSI Exam tips

More Social Security Disability SSI Questions

Social Security Disability SSI definitions

What makes you eligible for Social Security Disability or SSI?

New and featured pages on SSDRC.com

Who can help me file for disability?

Related pages:

Can You Get Approved For SSI or SSD Benefits IF You Have A Mental Condition But Do Not Take Medication?
Will Your Claim for Disability be Handled Differently if it is Based on a Physical or Mental Problem?
Can I Qualify For Disability and Receive Benefits based on Depression?
The Social Security Disability and SSI Process for Mental Claims based on Mental Disorders
When you file for disability and have both Mental and Physical Conditions
What kind of Mental Problems Qualify for Disability?
Are SSI and Social Security Disability Requirements Tougher For Mental Claims?
Can I apply for benefits with bipolar and no long term medical history?
Social Security Disability, SSI, Mental Disorders, and Functional Limitations
Eligibility for disability with ADHD
If you apply for disability in Mississippi
Getting a Disability Lawyer in Mississippi

These pages answer some of the most basic questions for individuals who are considering filing a claim.

Can you get temporary Social Security Disability or SSI benefits?

Permanent Social Security Disability

What is the difference between Social Security Disability and SSI?

Who is eligible for SSI disability?

Can I Be Eligible For SSI And Social Security Disability At The Same Time?

What makes a person eligible to receive disability benefits?

Applying for Disability - How long does it take to get Social Security Disability or SSI benefits?

What happens if I file a disability application and it is denied by a disability examiner or Judge?

For the sake of clarity, SSDRC.com is not the Social Security Administration, nor is it associated or affiliated with SSA. This site is a personal, private website that is published, edited, and maintained by former caseworker and former disability claims examiner, Tim Moore, who was interviewed by the New York Times on the topic of Social Security Disability and SSI benefits in an article entitled "The Disability Mess" and also by the Los Angeles Times on the subject of political attempts to weaken the Social Security Disability system.

The goal of the site is to provide information about how Social Security Disability and SSI work, the idea being that qualified information may help claimants pursue their claims and appeals, potentially avoiding time-consuming mistakes. If you find the information on this site helpful and believe it would be helpful to others, feel free to share links to its homepage or other pages on website resource pages, blogs, or social media. Copying of this material, however, is prohibited.

To learn more about the author, please visit the SSDRC.com homepage and view the "about this site" link near the bottom of the page.