Conversion disorder is a condition where mental health issues manifest in physical symptoms such as seizures, numbness, weakness, paralysis, or reduced input from the senses. Although there is no underlying neurologic pathology, the symptoms are real, uncontrollable, and often serious enough to negatively impact activities of daily living, such as work performance. The symptoms tend to manifest suddenly and may resolve quickly or be long lasting. People with conversion disorder also tend to suffer from severe depression or anxiety, which contribute to the disability. Those suffering from conversion disorder may be eligible for disability benefits where such symptoms result in an inability to maintain gainful employment.
Social Security Administration evaluates conversion disorders under Listing 12.07 (Somatic symptom and related disorders). To meet the listing qualifications for disability, there must be medical documentation of the diagnosis and symptoms along with evidence of an extreme limitation or two marked limitations in areas of mental functioning. Notwithstanding, a diagnosis of conversion disorder is uncommon and difficult for even an experienced clinician to diagnose. It is important to note that conversion disorder is a real psychiatric condition. This is distinct from malingering, which is a deliberate faking or exaggeration of symptoms in order to achieve a specific goal, whereas a conversion disorder is unconscious and uncontrollable.
In the alternative to Listing 12.07, Social Security Administration may also approve a disability claim based on conversion disorder if the evidence overall supports an inability to sustain work activity in an ordinary setting on a regular and continuous basis (8 hours a day, for 5 days a week, or an equivalent work schedule).
To increase your chances of approval for disability benefits based on a conversion disorder or other impairment, you may want to consult with an attorney or law firm specializing in Social Security disability claims.