Keys to Proving a Mental Disability to the Social Security Administration

Your mental condition is real. It’s not easy to see, like a scar or a broken leg, but it limits your ability to think, talk, and even leave your house just as much as a physical injury. But if nobody can see how much you are suffering, how can you prove that your illness is posing a threat to your daily life?

How to Get Social Security Disability Benefits for Mental Illness

If you are no longer able to work at your job due to the demands of your mental illness, you can get Social Security payments to help with your bills and finances. However, you will need to build a strong case in order to get approved. Here are a few keys to proving the extent of your mental disability:

  • Medical evidence. The most important thing that the Social Security Administration (SSA) will use to decide your case is medical proof of your disability. Your hospital visits, test results, diagnosis, treatment records, and ongoing psychological evaluations can all be used as evidence of a mental impairment. If you have any physical limitations as a result of your mental disability (such as difficulty communicating with others), list each one and how it affects your ability to work.
  • Personal impressions. Your application should include your own description of how your condition limits you on a daily basis. In addition, you should ask other health care providers (such as a psychiatric nurse or social worker) and friends or family members to give their impressions of your condition. This “day in the life” perspective will be evaluated alongside the medical evidence presented by your doctors, and will give a full picture of your disability to the SSA.
  • Work attempts. If you tried to go to work during any period when you claimed to be disabled, the SSA will evaluate the circumstances and success of each work attempt. For example, if you are a teacher in the Omaha Public Schools, you may have been unable to finish the semester due to your illness.

Since mental illness can have a cycle of highs and lows, it is a good idea to provide evidence over a long period in order to show how your condition varies. The more evidence you have of your disability, the stronger your case will be. If you are having trouble getting a disability application approved, post a comment below to ask us a question about your case.

Timothy J. Cuddigan
Omaha Social Security and Veterans Disability Lawyer With Over 40 Years Experience
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