To begin, to be eligible for Social Security Disability benefits the Social Security Administration requires at least a formal diagnosis of potentially disabling condition and that diagnosed condition will disable you for at least 12 months or more. A formal diagnosis of a disabling condition includes mental impairments. Mental impairments can range from mental health issues as well as intellectual or psychological impairments. Diagnosis and disorders include conditions such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, dementia, autism, personality disorder, etc. (just to name a few). When you file your claim, Social Security will first review your medical records to see whether your mental impairment meets the criteria of the of any of the “Mental Disorder” listings. The Mental Disorder listings includes several conditions such as mood disorders, trauma related disorders, eating disorders, and intellectual disorders. Each condition has its own specific requirements that must be shown in order to support that an individual is disabled under that listing. These listings often have very strict and specific requirements, making it more difficult to prove you are disabled just by the listings. If you do not meet a listing, then Social Security will look at your symptoms to determine what, if any, mental limitations you have based on your symptoms. Social Security will review all your medical records to essentially determine the most you are able to do despite your mental limitations. To be found disabled, Social Security must decide that you do not have the mental capacity to work any type of full-time job. However, it is important to note that a case with only mental impairments may be a difficult case sometimes. As stated, you have to prove your mental impairments keep you from working ANY full-time jobs. This includes even the simplest jobs available in the economy. Therefore, most cases do not get approved by Social Security at initial and reconsideration levels. Instead, most cases will go to a hearing before an administrative law judge. Therefore, it is important to work with an experienced law firm in order to properly prepare your case for Social Security review and hearing level if necessary.
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