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Mental Disability Benefits and What Social Security will Consider

While visiting an online disability forum discussing Social Security disability programs, I was surprised by how many individuals with mental impairments feel that the Social Security Administration does not consider their mental impairments as seriously as a physical impairment.

Does the Social Security Administration evaluate mental and physical impairments in the same way? The simple answer to this question is yes. Social Security evaluates all impairments in the same manner, consequently a mental condition may be considered just as disabling as a physical impairment by the Social Security Administration --- as long as the condition has prevented you from working for the past year or is projected to prevent you from working for a year.

What are some of the mental impairments that are considered to be disabling by the Social Security Administration? Depression, anxiety, post traumatic stress disorder, bipolar disorder, personality disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, schizophrenia, or any other mental impairment could be considered disabling by Social Security.

What does Social Security look at when evaluating a mental condition? Social Security gathers all the medical records from the physicians, hospitals, and clinics that you have provided during your initial disability evaluation.

Additionally, they may request that you fill out informational forms, and they may contact your third party person (the person you listed on your initial application, who knows about your condition).

If you were not able to provide current medical information (within the last three months) when you filed your claim, or your medical information was insufficient to make a medical determination, you may have to attend a consultative examination to determine your current mental status.

What is a consultative exam? A consultative examination is an exam that is provided by a physician who is hired by Social Security to evaluate the severity of you mental condition.

Generally, it is better to have mental health treatment with your own psychologist, psychiatrist, or other mental health professional, than to depend upon an consultative examination with a Social Security consultative physician. Why so? Simply because it is more advantageous to have your decision based upon information gathered over a long period of time verus just one short visit to someone who has never treated you in the past.

Return to:  Social Security Disability Resource Center, or read answers to Questions

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?
Social Security Disability, SSI, Mental Disorders, and Functional Limitations
Is it possible that I will lose my disability benefits when my case is being reviewed?

Information on the following topics can be found here: Social Security Disability Questions and in these subsections:

Frequently asked questions about getting Denied for Disability Benefits | FAQ on Disability Claim Representation | Info about Social Security Disability Approvals and Being Approved | FAQ on Social Security Disability SSI decisions | The SSD SSI Decision Process and what gets taken into consideration | Disability hearings before Judges | Medical exams for disability claims | Applying for Disability in various states | Selecting and hiring Disability Lawyers | Applying for Disability in North Carolina | Recent articles and answers to questions about SSD and SSI

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

Filing for disability - How to file for SSD or SSI and the Information that is needed by Social Security
How to Apply for Disability - What medical conditions can you apply and qualify for?
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?
How to Prove you are disabled and qualify to win disability benefits
How do you prove your disability case if you have a mental condition or impairment?
Social Security Disability Back pay and How Long it Takes to Qualify for it and receive it
Social Security Disability SSI - Eligibility Requirements and Qualifications Criteria