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Social Security Disability and Mental Illness

By Kenton Koszdin Law Office on October 6, 2014 | In Social Security Disability

There are many types of disabilities and impairments that may qualify you for disability benefits. You may even be able to base your claim on a mental illness such as anxiety, depression or bipolar disorder. However, you may need help proving that you meet the basic requirements for disability benefits and that your claim is credible.

In order to be eligible for disability, you must prove that your impairment or disability is so severe, that it prevents you from sustaining a full time job. This typically means proving that you are unable to earn over the substantial gainful activity level, known as the SGA. The SGA is regularly adjusted to reflect the current economy, but it is often a little over $1,000 a month.

If you can prove that your mental illness prevents you from earning that much, you may qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). SSI is specifically for individuals with little work history and limited resources. SSDI is for people with a history of work with employers who paid taxes.

Next, you will have to provide evidence of what type of mental disorder you have. There are a number of conditions that qualify, including but not limited to schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s, depression, bipolar disorder, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), autism, mental retardation and borderline personality disorder. Not only must you show that you have been diagnosed with one of these illnesses, but you must also prove that the illness causes functional limitations that affect your ability to work.

Social security will then review your medical records and the opinions you submit from psychiatrists or psychologists. You will need to work with a doctor who specializes in mental conditions to prove your case. Without the support of a physician, it will be very difficult to show how your mental limitations make it impossible for you to work.

It is important for anyone filing for coverage to have an experienced California social security disability attorney review his or her case. You must have your mental residual functional capacity (MRFC) form filled out completely and your paperwork must be in order. An experienced lawyer can help you through what can be a complex process.

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