Because mental health and associated disabilities cannot be seen or tested for in the same manner as physical disabilities, proof of impairment can be difficult. However, gathering all the records associated with your medical condition and seeking sound legal advice can help increase your likelihood of success as you apply for disability benefits in Halifax, Hopewell, or Danville, VA.
The Social Security Administration (SSA) has outlined specific requirements for each mental impairment recognized as a qualifying disability. As long as you have received a diagnosis of one of these impairments from a doctor, you are potentially eligible to receive benefits.
Establishing the Diagnosis of a Mental Disability
Once you have confirmed your mental disorder or condition is included in the Blue Book list of listed impairments, you must receive a recorded diagnosis from a medical professional. Mental conditions are typically confirmed and treated by either a psychiatrist or neurologist, as they specialize in conditions related to the mind. Nevertheless, your primary care physician will likely need to provide you with a referral to the appropriate specialist.
Gathering Supporting Evidence
Depending on your specific condition, you may need blood tests and/or imaging scans to rule out other conditions. It is more likely, however, the most convincing evidence will come from your doctor. Over the course of time, your visits are tracked with progress notes and medications that have been tried. The longer medical history you have, the more evidence will be contained in your medical records.
Inability to Work Full-Time
In order to qualify for short term disability benefits, or long term disability benefits, from the SSA, you must show that your condition prevents you from working full-time. This may be due to direct symptoms of the condition, side effects of medication, or a combination of the two. Providing your work history and dates of termination with reasons, as well as related documentation may also be helpful.
Inability to Function Normally
You need to show evidence of the inability to function normally in at least two of the following four areas: daily life, social interaction, focusing on and completing tasks, and reaction to stress and pressure. Depending on your diagnosis, you may need to show dysfunction in three of the four areas. This can be confusing, so be sure to check carefully, and consult a disability attorney when in doubt.
Testimonies and Other Parties’ Observations
The very nature of mental illness often means having to count on others for reliable, realistic, real-time facts about your behavior and symptoms. Family members, friends, roommates, or social workers may all have the ability to contribute supporting documentation by sharing journals or notes about what they have seen over the months or years.
The people you interact with most often are the ones who are most familiar with your inability to remain gainfully employed, and who have witnessed your ongoing symptoms. Severe mood changes, outbursts, and other types of behavior may not be something you recognize or remember, but it’s likely that those who spend a great deal of time around you, will.
Obtain Legal Support From Our Team at Cunningham Law Group
Approximately 70% of all disability claims are denied the first time they are submitted, so it’s important to not give up. Our knowledgeable attorneys at the Cunningham Law Group will provide a free case evaluation at any time during the application process. Whether you are in the middle of filing your initial claim, or you have been denied and want to improve your chances of approval on appeal, we suggest reaching out to our experienced Social Security disability attorneys.
There is no rule about when you can or cannot obtain legal assistance from disability insurance lawyers. The important thing is to not give up, and to remember you don’t have to go through this process alone. We are here to help.