According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), it can be very difficult to qualify for Social Security disability on mental health grounds. There are many reasons why this is the case. For one, mental health disability claims are not reviewed by mental health professionals. The individuals reviewing Social Security disability claims for the mentally ill often know very little about the debilitating effects of mental illness.
NAMI recommends that individuals who wish to apply for Social Security Disability read over the Social Security criteria for mental disorders. Disorders covered under Social Security disability include Schizophrenic, paranoid, and other psychotic disorders, affective disorders, intellectual disability, anxiety disorders, personality disorders, and autism. In order to have a Social Security Disability application approved, individuals need to submit medical documentation to show that the disorder impairs one’s ability to work and show that the condition is expected to last longer than 12 months. Each individual disorder has its own set of criteria. Supplying years of medical records can be a long and drawn out process for disabled individuals and their families.
For instance, in order for an individual to qualify for Social Security Disability for debilitating anxiety, the condition must interfere with activities and daily living, create difficulty in social functioning, or create difficulties with concentration. At least two of these symptoms, along with specific anxiety-related symptoms must be noted and documented.
Yet, Social Security Disability claims evaluators are not trained in the mental health field. Currently the way Social Security evaluates mental health claims differs significantly from the ways in which it handles medical claims. Furthermore, Social Security Disability’s list of covered disorders is not comprehensive and fails to protect or cover individuals with a range of debilitating disorders including, dissociative disorders and tic disorders.
Individuals with disabilities face immense challenges. Social Security disability income alone in many areas isn’t sufficient to pay for housing. Many individuals who suffer from mental illness get incarcerated. As a result, they lose access to crucial public housing benefits and other government benefits. The criminal justice system doesn’t have the experience or the capacity to consider mental illness when handing down sentences, and as a result, many mentally ill individuals fail to get the help they need.
Claim denials are often expected. This means that mentally ill individuals often have to wait longer to get benefits, are forced to suffer through a long appeals process that they may or may not have the mental ability to navigate. While there are many social services in place to help the mentally ill navigate the complex claims process, and denial can often leave individuals and their families in years of limbo.
If you or a loved one has been denied a Social Security disability claim, a lawyer like Jack Goodrich with Goodrich and Associates, P.C. in Pittsburgh may be able to assist you. Many claims are denied at first, only to be accepted during appeals. Unfortunately, many people give up, leaving families and mentally ill individuals struggling on their own in Nevada.
 

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