Psychological and Personality Tests Can Help You Get Social Security Disability Payments

As a longtime employee at Nebraska Furniture Mart in Omaha, you’ve seen plenty of employees take days off for backaches, illnesses, and even everyday stress. But now your own vacation days are running out—and your boss isn’t exactly sympathetic because you can’t give him a good reason why you can’t come to work. If you have to take a leave of absence for mental health reasons, can you get Social Security benefits to pay your bills?

Psychological Testing Can Help Get Your Disability Application Approved

Unfortunately, proving that you have a mental condition is much more difficult than getting benefits for a physical illness or injury. However, the Social Security Administration (SSA) recognizes many different psychological tests that can help your disability case, such as:

  • Mental evaluation. The first test that can prove a mental disability is a mental status examination. This clinical interview is very similar to a physical examination: The doctor will ask you questions about your symptoms, evaluate your behavior, and give his recommendation. The doctor conducting the examination will give a description of your appearance, speech, and mood throughout the session. In addition, he will evaluate your thought process and content (including the presence of hallucinations or delusions), judgment, and memory and concentration abilities. He should also take note of any history of mental illness in your family.
  • Standardized psychological tests. There are many kinds of standardized tests that can be used to evaluate a person’s mental condition. In these tests, a state-certified professional will ask you questions and have you perform a list of tasks. The person administering the test will score and interpret your condition, using not only the data from your responses, but also his own impressions of your behavior.
  • Neuropsychological tests. If your condition affects other areas of your body, you may benefit from a neuropsychological evaluation. This can help show how your sensation, coordination, perception, and motor speed are affected by your illness. It can also show how problems with attention, concentration, or inappropriate social behavior affect your everyday life.
  • Personality assessments. Personality tests, such as Rorschach and the Thematic Apperception Test (TAT), may be used to support other evidence of mental disorders. However, it is unlikely that your application will be approved based on the results of these tests alone.

While psychological testing can provide valuable evidence, the best indicator of disability is how your condition limits you during the course of your everyday life. To find out how to build a strong disability case that will get your application approved, read through our free guide, 5 Deadly Mistakes That Can Destroy Your Social Security Disability Case.

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