Social Security Disability benefits are available for people who are or have become disabled and cannot work.
For some the disability is physical, such as kidney failure or a back injury. For others the disability may be mental, such as schizophrenia or autism spectrum disorder.
While the Social Security Administration does consider mental illnesses and disorders as criteria to receive Social Security Disability benefits, mental disability claims are rejected more often than those based on physical disability - based on my experience.
Why Are Mental Disability Claims Denied More Often Than Physical Disability Claims?
Two primary reasons - objectivity and training.
- It can be difficult to objectively prove that a mental condition is severe enough to prevent basic work functions.
- Examiners don't necessarily have the extensive training needed to help them understand how to evaluate mental disorders or illnesses as they relate to employment.
The Social Security Administration's official listing of impairments outlines what it considers to be a mental disability. Click here to access this information. Briefly, the list describes:
- Schizophrenia, paranoid and other psychotic disorders
- Affective disorders, such as depression or hallucinations
- Intellectual disability
- Anxiety-related disorders
- Somatoform disorders (mental illness that causes symptoms and pain, but cannot be traced to any physical cause, and is not the result of substance abuse - hypochondria, for example)
- Personality disorders
- Autistic disorders and other pervasive developmental disorders
If you meet the required criteria outlined, and other criteria the agency may require, you are considered mentally disabled by their standards.
Denied? You May Still Be Eligible for Benefits
If you have a condition that is not listed here (or on the agency's website), or if your condition does not meet the criteria in these listings, you may still be eligible for benefits.
You will have to show that your condition will interfere with your ability to perform work and that the condition is likely to last for a long period of time. We may be able to help.
North Carolina Social Security Disability Lawyers
If you have been denied Social Security Disability benefits, don't give up! Get a second opinion from a North Carolina board certified specialist in Social Security Disability law. Out of the 28,000 North Carolina lawyers, only 51 in the entire state are board certified Social Security Disability specialists*. So you won't find us just anywhere.
Contact the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin - we have a Social Security board certified specialist who also serves on the Board of Legal Specialization's Social Security Disability Committee. That is the committee that helps decide who has the credentials for specialization. Call 1-866-900-7078 for a free evaluation of your situation.
* Statistics provided by NC State Bar December 31, 2015