Disability For Depression And Anxiety
It is normal for people to go through periods of anxiety or depression, especially in response to major life events such as a death, divorce, or loss of a job. Sometimes even positive life events can trigger these feelings, such as a child moving out of the house to attend college.
However, depression and anxiety that lingers on beyond two weeks is cause for clinical concern. You should seek the help of medical professionals such as a psychotherapist, psychologist, or psychiatrist if you experience prolonged periods of a low mood, aversion or disinterest in activities or work, disruptions to your sleep, or thoughts of suicide or self-harm. Alternatively, if nervous or compulsive behaviors disrupt your ability to function at work or in social settings, you will also want to seek treatment.
Depression is an affective disorder like bipolar disorder or any other debilitating mental condition that can present a severe functional limitation and even pose a severe risk to your life. In addition to the fact that you will need medical documentation to build your case around applying for SSDI benefits, this treatmentsuch as therapy, medication, clinical assistance, or hospitalizationmay help move your life back on the right track. In the meantime, you can file for SSDI benefits to cover your living expenses.
Psychiatric Or Neurological Testing
Your medical records should contain the results of any psychiatric, neurological, or psychological tests that you have had. Most mental health conditions cannot be evaluated with an objective test, but some can. Where objective testing is possible, Social Security will be looking carefully at those results. For example, if you are applying for disability for intellectual disorder (formerly known as mental retardation, you will need to show the results of IQ testing.
Maybe We Can Learn Something From Our Animal Friends
Resilience is a fascinating aspect of life. In short, well, there is no in short. Understanding resilience is a full-time job for some mental health professionals and researchers. Research recently conducted into whether or not resilience is a personality trait or a learned skill highlights that there is still something about resilience that we find difficult to understand. My favorite conclusion to a resilience study was when Scheffer et al. concluded that the dazzling web of mechanisms that shape resilience may seem disappointingly complex. However, even if the details are not resolved, taking a resilience-based approach need not be complicated.
A friend of mine who has dedicated much of her life to animal welfare provides anyone who follows her social media accounts with glimpses into her world. Commenters on her posts are quite often amazed to see happy dogs playing with children, or relaxed dogs happily sleeping on their new beds. Commenters are amazed for good reason because they know the past traumas that the dogs have endured and overcome. Many years ago I once commented on one of her posts that the resilience of animals was truly fascinating, and in doing so I began to seriously think about resilience for the first time.
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Information We Need About Your Work And Education
To decide whether you are disabled, we use a five-step process. Listed below are frequently asked questions about Step 4 and Step 5 of the process.
We need to find out about your past work to decide if you can still do it. To make this decision, we need to know how you did your job. We also need to know if you learned skills on your job.
We need this information to see if you can do any of your past work. Remember that you are not disabled according to our rules unless your illnesses, injuries or conditions prevent you from doing your past work or adjusting to other work.
Information about your education and training are also very important to us. If you cannot do your past work, we look at your age, education, training, and work experience to see if you can do other kinds of work.
Disclaimer: The following is general information only. The Social Security Act and related regulations, rulings and case law should be used or cited as authority for the Social Security disability programs.
List Your Diagnosed Medical Conditions
As part of the SSA’s requirements for Social Security disability insurance benefits or Supplemental Security Income , you must be diagnosed with a medical condition by a licensed doctor or psychologist. In addition, to be evaluated for disability, this impairment must have more than a slight effect on your ability to perform work.
If your medical records are not that lengthy or comprehensive, by submitting a medical source statement to Social Security, your doctor can show exactly what medical conditions you have been diagnosed with. Moreover, the doctor can explain what symptoms and limitations you are experiencing from your impairments. The failure of the SSA to properly consider all of your impairments can be a strong basis for any future disability appeal, so it is good to have them all documented in your claim file.
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I Just Received A Letter From My Insurance Company Terminating My Benefits What Should I Do
It is important that you try to find out why your benefits have been terminated. Carefully reading over the letter that your insurance company sent you may provide this information. For example, if your benefits were terminated because you did not send the insurance company the proper documentation contact your insurance provider and arrange for the necessary forms and documentation to be sent to them as soon as possible.
However, if the reason for your termination is that the insurance company no longer finds that you are disabled enough as to require benefits even though your doctor maintains that you are still disabled, contact a disability insurance lawyer.
Choosing A Representative Payee
Another thing you must understand is that it is not uncommon for the Social Security Administration to require a representative payee for individuals who are suffering from mental illness. This is largely due to the fact that most of the individuals who apply for disability benefits due to mental illness are unable to manage their finances on their own. As a result, someone must be chosen to manage their monthly benefits for them. You can choose your own representative payee, whether it be a family member or a non-profit organization who handles these matters.
While applying for Social Security Disability may seem like a complex and overwhelming process, you can obtain benefits due to a mental illness if you are diligent and persistent. If your initial application is denied, be sure to appeal the decision and consult with a Social Security Disability attorney or advocate. Often, denied disability applicants are able to move forward and successfully appeal the SSA’s decision to deny their Social Security Disability payments.
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What If I Cannot Afford A Doctor
If you have not been seeing a doctor about your disabling condition because you cannot afford to receive treatment, you may still be able to qualify for benefits. You will need to prove that you are unable to afford healthcare and/or that you do not have access to low-cost or free healthcare.
You will need to prove that you have tried to access low-cost healthcare options in your area but were unsuccessful. Some ways to do so are contacting community organizations about healthcare assistance, applying for Medicaid, contacting doctors offices inquiring about any low-cost options they provide, etc. Keep copies of these interactions and any information sent to show that you were trying to receive treatment for the condition you are experiencing.
Reason : Your Doctors And Psychologists Are Providing A Poor Standard Of Care
Even if you are attending treatment with your doctors, psychologists and psychiatrists, the insurance company can still legitimately deny your disability claim if the care you are receiving is substandard.
Getting substandard care is mostly out of your control, but if your treatment providers are not following best practices for treatment of your mental illness, then there is a good chance the insurance company will deny your claim.
Insurance companies have their own behind-the-scenes medical advisors who will carefully review the treatment you are getting from doctors, psychiatrists and psychologists. These behind-the-scenes medical reviewers are well-schooled in the best practices for treatment of mental illness. They are experts at pointing out the deficiencies in what your doctors or psychologist is doing.
For example, a common example of poor standard of care is for your doctor to prescribe medication, but then fail to monitor you carefully and make adjustments to the medication. Without careful monitoring and tweaking of medications, your mental health is unlikely to improve.This can lead to a situation where you claim will be denied, even though you are following your doctors recommendations and you are taking the medication as prescribed.
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Not Getting Consistent Treatment
Receiving a diagnosis is only part of the battle. You must also seek consistent treatment. For instance, if youve been diagnosed with depression, you need to have additional medical evidence to show that youre treating the condition.
Examples include attending therapy, taking prescribed medications, seeking alternative treatment like yoga or meditation, or even scheduling follow-up appointments with your doctor.
Medical Qualifying With A Mental Illness
The SSA conducts a detailed review of your medical records to determine your eligibility for benefits. During this review, they try to match your records to a disability listing in the Blue Book. The Blue Book is the SSAs medical guide that is used to evaluate every disability application.
Disability listings outline the severity level requirements and the specific medical evidence needed to support a claim for benefits. Mental illnesses appear in Section 12.00 and include:
- 12.06, Anxiety-related Disorders you may qualify under this listing if you have a severe phobia, post-traumatic stress, a panic disorder, or another anxiety-related condition.
- 12.08, Personality Disorders this is the listing under which you may qualify if you have severe, clinical depression.
- 12.04, Affective Disorders if you have bipolar disorder, your application will be reviewed under this listing.
Extensive medical records are necessary to qualify, including:
- Information on your diagnosis, ideally from a psychiatrist or psychologist
- Brain scans or other evidence of physical abnormalities that document an organic cause for symptoms, if applicable
- Treatment records, documenting medications, therapy, and other management methods used and their effects
- Thoroughly documented episodes of increased symptoms or periods of decompensation
- Well documented affects of your symptoms on your everyday abilities or activities of daily living
What Types Of Disability Insurance Are There
Short Term Disability Insurance provides temporary income replacement if you are unable to work due to a medical condition . Usually this policy only covers income replacement for the first 120 days. Short term disability insurance benefits are usually purchased by employers for their employees
Long Term Disability Insurance offers a form of income protection in the event that an illness or disability leaves you totally or completely unable to return to work. It provides you with a portion of your income that can go towards living expenses which may also include medical treatment and rehabilitation. For the first two years if you are unable to meet the requirements of performing your own occupation then you are eligible. After two years you must be unable to perform the tasks required by any occupation for which you are reasonably qualified, or could become qualified for, by reason of education, training or experience, in order to retain long term disability benefits.
Disability Mortgage Insurance provides you with financial support in the event that you become disabled and are unable to work. This policy covers all or part of your mortgage payment up to a certain amount bi-weekly or per month. There is typically a 60 day waiting period before you can receive benefits. There are also limitations in regards to duration and the amount of coverage that will be given.
Your Doctor’s Detailed Opinion Of Your Impairments And Limitations Are Key In Your Social Security Disability Claim
By Melissa Linebaugh, Contributing Author
The Social Security Administration relies on doctor’s records and medical evidence to determine whether you are disabled. Although the SSA will request records from the list of providers you have given them, it is your responsibility to ensure that the agency has received all of your pertinent medical records, and that your doctor has provided the information in a helpful way. Submitting accurate and complete information from the doctor who treats you for your impairment is vital to winning your claim.
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Getting A Letter Of Support
Unique Challenges Of Mental Illness And Applying For Disability Insurance Benefits
1. The insurance industry sees you as a problem
Due to volume of disability benefits claims involving mental illness, the insurance industry has made managing mental health claims a top priority. Insurers have developed a number of strategies for how to wrongfully deny your disability claim, while maintaining the appearance of objectivity. There is little you can do about the insurance industry practices. But, understanding how the insurance company acts will help you know what to expect. And, it will allow you to make better plans.
Focus on things that are in your control. For example, if the insurance company denies your claim, you have to weigh your options. You could appeal directly to the insurance company, or file a lawsuit against the insurance company. In some situations, doing appeals with the insurance company can be a complete waste of time.
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2. Mental illness is invisible
3. Short-term benefits only
Insurance companies will often approve disability benefits claims involving mental illness for the short term. It is important that you understand this so you can better prepare yourself and not be caught off-guard by the termination.
The first definition applies for the first two years and usually says you will qualify for benefits if you cant do your own job.
4. Surveillance & Social Media
5. Behind-the-scenes medical advisors
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Treating Psychiatrist Versus Forensic Psychiatrist Its Hard To Play Both Roles
When a treating psychiatrist is asked to support his or her patients claim for disability benefits, roles change. The clinical treater now becomes the objective disability evaluator regarding financial resources.
There is tension between advocating for the mental health and fitness of a patient versus depicting a claimants impairments objectively in a mental disability claim for financial benefits. This may also lead to ethics-related issues in certain cases.
As the evaluator, the doctor is also being asked to apply forensic methodology and legalities they are likely not familiar with. He or she must now apply the statutory definitions of disability, interact with attorneys, and possibly provide court testimony.
Whether You Meet A Disability Listing
The SSA outlines a number of conditions that, if all the criteria are met, are eligible for automatic approval. These conditions are known as “listings.” If your doctor thinks that your condition qualifies for automatic approval under a listing, the doctor should complete a listing form that explains his or her opinion and provide the appropriate medical documentation. Here is an example.
The claimant was diagnosed with skin cancer, specifically sarcoma. Sarcoma of the skin is eligible for automatic approval for benefits under the disability listing for cancers if the cancer has spread to, or beyond, the regional lymph nodes. A biopsy revealed that the claimant’s cancer had spread. To prove she met the listing requirements for sarcoma of the skin, the claimant provided the following information from her doctor.
- The pathology report that initially diagnosed the claimant with sarcoma of the skin.
- A surgical and pathology report that established that the sarcoma cells had spread to her lymph nodes.
Visit our section on disability listings for more information.
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Seek Legal Help With Your Claim
A disability lawyer or advocate can assist you throughout your entire claim, from start to finish. He or she can help gather evidence, counsel you on application and documentation strategies, and represent your interests during the review and appeals stages, if necessary.
A disability lawyer can help you apply for disability. They can help make sure that every paperwork is older before you apply so that the application process is smooth.
A lawyer can help file for disability by consulting with your doctor making sure you have all the right records and tests to show that you can no longer work because of your disability. Disability lawyers work on a contingency fee basis, meaning they only get paid if you win your case.
Even if you have a team of others helping with various steps in the disability review, your lawyer can be your go-to person for understanding SSA processes, disability documentation and eligibility, and denial and appeal procedures.