Applying for Social Security benefits can be difficult and somewhat intimidating if you don’t have a Rogers social security disability lawyer assisting you. The process typically requires strict adherence to complex rules regarding both eligibility and the application itself. Completing the required forms accurately can be overwhelming, or maybe even confusing. But completing them properly can improve your chances of being approved the first time.
The Social Security Administration will make an initial determination based solely on the information you provide in your application. You need a Rogers social security disability lawyer to help you from the start or you may not be successful. Social Security Disability benefits may be available for both physical and mental illnesses. In fact, many applicants for Social Security Disability bring claims for mental disorders such as depression, anxiety and bi-polar disorder. The unfortunate fact, though, is that these types of claims can be more difficult to get approved. However, understanding the type of evidence you will need to support your claim, can make a big difference.
Basic Requirements for Disability Benefits
Regardless of whether your claim is based on a physical or mental illness, you must be able to prove that it is so severe that it stops you from being able to sustain a full-time job. This is often referred to as “substantial gainful activity.” Generally speaking, you must show that you are unable to work at or over the SGA or “substantial gainful activity” level for at least a year. This year, the SGA is defined as earning $1,090 a month working. This amount is typically adjusted every year to reflect inevitable changes in the economy.
What types of mental symptoms are approved?
Unfortunately, there are no specific mental health symptoms that, if shown, will guarantee approval for disability for benefits. Social Security sees mental impairments, essentially in the same way they do physical impairments. That is to say, the focus is on the individual’s functional capacity to work, rather than the specific diagnosis or impairment.
Understanding Functional Capacity
Social Security considers various information when evaluating mental impairments, such as medical evidence and information regarding the applicant’s daily living activities. Social security also assesses the applicant’s social functioning, as an indicator of the severity of the mental impairment. Can the applicant interact with the public, with family and friends, and is the applicant able to function independently and appropriately with others? These are important factors in a workplace environment. Consequently, if the applicant is unable to interact appropriately, then his or her ability to maintain gainful employment is likely to be significantly impaired. Discuss these issues with your Rogers social security disability lawyer.
Social Security’s listed mental impairments
Social Security has a disability handbook which provides the criteria for considering various mental disorders as disabilities. A few examples include:
- mental retardation
- anxiety-related disorders
- bipolar disorder
- substance addiction disorders
If the applicant’s condition meets the requirements of any one of these listed disorders, he or she will automatically be granted disability benefits. Still, there must be proof that the symptoms of these disorders limit the applicant’s activities of daily living or ability to function socially. In other words, a mere diagnosis is insufficient. For a complete listing, see the Social Security Disability Bluebook.
What am I required to prove to support my disability claim?
You are considered disabled “if you cannot do work that you did before and we decide that you cannot adjust to other work because of your medical condition(s).” The Social Security Administration expects that your disability will last for at least one year or result in death. However, the Social Security Administration does not actually make the decision. Your Rogers social security disability lawyer can help you prepare your claim right the first time.
Who determines whether I am actually disabled?
When your disability application is submitted, your file is turned over to a designated state office that actually reviews your medical records and any other documentation you submit along with it. In Arkansas, this office is called the Arkansas’s Disability Determination for Social Security Administration. In Missouri, it is known as Missouri Disability Determination Services. These state agencies determine medical eligibility for Social Security disability for their residents. However, the process has been standardized throughout the country.
If you have questions regarding documenting mental impairments, or any other social security disability concerns in Arkansas or Missouri, please contact the Cottrell Law Office for a consultation, either online or by calling us toll-free at (888) 433-4861.