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Can mental illness serve as the basis for Social Security disability payments?

February 13, 2020

Can mental illness serve as the basis for
a Social Security disability claim? Social Security’s definition of disability includes
coverage for mental illness; therefore, you can be approved for disability based on a
mental illness, if your illness is disabling. You can also potentially qualify based on
a combination of physical and mental limitations. You and your physicians will need to provide
documentation of any impairments that you have due to a mental illness. Your treating
physician or psychologist will be asked to provide a report that includes your mental
health history and clinical findings, including mental status examinations and psychological
testing. The report should include a description of your capacity to understand, to remember
and carry out and instructions, and to respond appropriately to supervision, co-workers,
and work pressures. Information is also needed about medications you have taken, their effectiveness,
and any side effects you’ve experienced with the medication. If you have been hospitalized,
Social Security may request your admit and discharge summaries. If you had problems related
to your mental illness before leaving your last job, a statement from your employer or
supervisor could be quite helpful to your claim. If you are having trouble taking care
of your daily needs or engaging in social interaction, be sure to describe these problems
when you file your claim. You can also submit statements from caseworkers, relatives or
friends who are aware of how your symptoms interfere with your ability to take care of
yourself and interact with others. If Social Security does not receive enough information
from you and your treating physicians and psychologists to make a decision, they may
ask you to attend a Consultative Examination. Social Security will pay for the exam, which
is for evaluation only, not for treatment. If you are asked to go to a Consultative Exam,
it is extremely important for you attend and cooperate fully. If you do not, your claim
may be denied. Mental health records often contain very private information, so it is
good to know that all information gathered by Social Security is confidential and cannot
be released to a third party without your written consent. Additionally, information
in your claim file, including your mental health records, will be seen only by those
responsible for evaluating your claim. For more answers to your Social Security Disability
questions, go to or call one, eight, eight, eight, three, nine,
three, ten, ten.

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