Social Security disability benefits can provide financial and medical assistance if you suffer from a mental health condition and are unable to work. Unfortunately, the process to be approved can sometimes be more challenging for people with mental health disorders. If you have a mental health disorder, here is what you need to know about applying for disability benefits.
Why Is It Challenging to Get Benefits?
People with physical disabilities have an illness or condition that can be proven with a medical examination and diagnostic testing. By contrast, a mental health condition can sometimes be concealed or difficult to diagnose.
For instance, mental health disorders, such as bipolar disorder and borderline personality disorder, are difficult to diagnose. Some of the symptoms might be attributed to other factors, such as stress. Sometimes the disorders can be misdiagnosed as another mental health condition that does not have the same impact on a person's ability to work.
What If You Cannot Work?
One of the most important steps you can take if you are unable to work due to a mental health condition is to get a formal diagnosis. Without a diagnosis, the Social Security Administration, or SSA, will not have the documentation needed to properly consider your application for disability benefits.
You also need to focus on following your doctor's treatment plan. The SSA can deny your application if you are not following the plan. The argument is that by not following the plan, you are not taking the steps necessary to care for your mental health and possibly get back to work.
In addition to these steps, you need to be detailed in how your mental health condition has impacted your ability to work. For instance, instead of stating that your anxiety disorder makes it difficult to work, you could explain that the disorder causes you to be physically ill at work when faced with high pressure situations.
You also need to discuss how it impacts your home life. The SSA wants to know how extensive your condition is and rule out the possibility that you simply want to collect benefits and avoid work. If you are unable to socialize or shop, include that information.
Before submitting your application for benefits, consult with a Social Security benefits attorney. He or she can determine if there are additional steps you can take to increase the chances of having your application approved by the SSA. You can click here for more info on this topic.
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