Anybody suffering from mental illness knows that these conditions can keep you from being able to work. In fact, they are so common that about a third of all disability claims SSA receives each year involve some sort of mental disorder. Below are the top five reasons why these claims are denied.

1.      Evidence Is Subjective

Measuring physical disabilities can be a simple task. Tests such as X-rays, MRIs, blood work, and CT Scans can be used to back up a diagnosis. With most mental illness, however, there is no comparable testing that can be used. The only thing the judge has to go off of are the opinions of professionals who are making a diagnosis based solely on what you are telling them. This is considered to be “subjective” evidence and is given less weight.

2.      Insufficient Evidence

Many people applying for disability are unable to get regular treatment due to financial constraints. Unfortunately, if you don’t have the right kind of medical evidence in your file, your claim will be denied. To determine if your case has sufficient evidence, the judge will want to see:

a) Mental health records;
b) Any applicable testing such as IQ or memory testing;
c) Reports from your mental health care provider;
d) Written testimonies from your mental health care providers;
e) Case files;
f) Letters from family, friends, and former co-workers describing how they have seen your conditions affect you.

3.      Inadequate Mental Health Care

Not all doctors, therapists, or counselors are interested in helping you get approved for disability benefits. So it is important that whomever you see for medical treatment regularly evaluates your symptoms and any treatment they have recommended for you. They should always be looking for what is working and what they can tweak to improve your quality of life. If you do not feel like you are receiving adequate care, find a new health care professional right away.

4.      Noncompliance With Prescribed Treatment

It is extremely important that you follow all of your mental health care providers’ instructions. Whether that is taking medication, or lifestyle changes, following their instructions is crucial. If a judge sees that you are not compliant with your treatment, they are likely to assume that you could work if you were being compliant and deny your claim.

5.      Cultural Bias

Even though a large percentage of Americans live with chronic mental illness, many people tend to minimize the seriousness of mental health problems and attribute it to the person not taking charge of their life or being weak-minded. Unfortunately, this same bias can affect disability examiners and judges, making it more difficult for those suffering from these disorders to be approved. 

What You Can Do

If you are currently suffering from a mental illness that is making it impossible to work, don’t give up! Although winning disability benefits for these cases is difficult, it is not impossible. It is important that you stick to your treatment and continue seeing your healthcare providers regularly. In addition, you should keep a daily journal where you detail your symptoms and conditions. Share this journal with your health care professionals as well as your attorney. If you do not already have an attorney, we strongly recommend hiring one. It could very well make the difference between winning and losing benefits.

Free Book Offer

The A to Z of Social Security Disability Benefits is a comprehensive guide to applying for disability. This book will not only show you how to apply for disability benefits, but will also help you avoid mistakes that can be fatal to your disability application. If you are interested in receiving a free copy of our book click here to request your copy today.

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