Social Security Disability (SSDI) is a federal program that provides monthly benefits to individuals who cannot work due to a qualifying disability. Although certain mental illnesses are listed as qualifying disabilities, proving that you have a mental illness – and that your condition prevents you from working – is generally harder for mental illnesses than for physical. For starters, symptoms are not as easy to evaluate. And physical disabilities, such as immobility, are visible, whereas most mental illnesses are not.
But the biggest problem you encounter may be related to the biases of the Social Security examiners assigned to your case. Some examiners may think that a particular disorder – anxiety, for example – is just an excuse for someone who doesn’t want to work. This may be due to a past experience with someone who abused the system. Whatever the reason, examiner biases can present a real problem when it comes to SSDI applications. An experienced MA SSDI attorney can help you overcome this potential problem and get the benefits you deserve.
The Social Security “Blue Book”
If you have a psychological or emotional disorder that is preventing you from obtaining gainful employment, you may be entitled to SSDI benefits. The first thing that a disability examiner will do is to reference the official listening of impairments, as defined by Social Security. This listing is known as the “blue book” of impairments, and some of the qualifying mental disabilities include:
- Mental retardation
- Bipolar disorder
- Substance abuse disorders
Of course, there is more to the approval process than just identifying the existence of a disorder. In some cases, the severity of that disorder plays an important role. For example, mild depression following a temporary life event (such as divorce) may not be covered, but severe, long-term depression likely will. The clinical notes of mental health professionals, third-party questionnaires, and questions regarding activities of daily living are thoroughly reviewed when determining whether or not an applicant meets the requirements.
If you have been diagnosed with a mental condition that is not listed in the blue book, but which prevents you from holding a job, you may still qualify for SSDI benefits. A skilled Boston SSDI attorney can help you demonstrate the severity of your disability. Even if you aren’t eligible for full benefits, you may still qualify for a medical-vocational allowance. To determine if a medical-vocational allowance is available to you, the claims examiner will view jobs you’ve held in the past 15 years. If you cannot perform the types of jobs you’ve held during that time period, you may qualify for a medical-vocational allowance. For example, if you can still do light work but you’ve always done heavy work.
Altman & Altman, LLP – Boston’s Top Social Security Disability Law Firm
If you have a psychological or emotional disorder that prevents you from obtaining and holding gainful employment, the skilled legal team at Altman & Altman, LLP can help. We have been protecting the rights of MA workers – and those who cannot work through no fault of their own – for more than 50 years. It is our goal to help you get the assistance you need so that you can maintain your quality of life. We will analyze the details of your unique situation to determine the best way to move forward. Our experienced attorneys will ensure that you understand your rights and options, and we will be by your side throughout the entire process. The SSDI application process is complex, and mistakes can lead to reduced or delayed benefits. At Altman & Altman, LLP, we can ensure that you get the full benefits you deserve in a timely manner. Contact us today for a free and confidential consultation about your case.