It's All In Your Head: Getting Social Security Coverage For Mental Conditions

While a physical condition is often to blame when workers cannot work at their jobs, mental issues may afflict more workers than most people believe. There are many different mental conditions covered by Social Security, so read on to find out more about this particular malady and what to expect when seeking benefits.

Showing proof

You may have a mental condition that plagues you not only at work but in your everyday life, but the Social Security Administration (SSA) must see proof of your condition or you won't be getting approved for monthly benefits. Showing proof for physical ailments usually involves submitting your medical records, diagnostic tests and doctors notes, and the process for mental disorders is somewhat similar. There are certainly fewer diagnostic tools for mental illnesses available, but you should have proof that you've been seeing a doctor (preferably a mental health expert) and following treatment suggestions. For example, you might need to submit the following:

1. Receipts or statements showing a trail of appointments from the time you became afflicted to the present. It's vital that you seek treatment and stay in treatment, since this is one of the only ways you can prove to the SSA that you have a mental disorder.

2. Treatment notes and records from the mental health professional

3. Proof of mental health prescriptions such as paperwork that often comes with a filled prescription.

4. A letter from your mental health provider

Understanding decompensation

This word may be unfamiliar to you but the SSA uses it to describe how your mental condition has progressed to the point of your being unable to work at your job. For example, if your job involves going on sales calls and speaking with lots of customers in person, you may have been adept at performing those tasks when you were hired. At some point, however, your mental disorder may have made it increasingly uncomfortable and then impossible to face this task due to anxiety or other disorders. This is what decompensation is, and while it is not an exact requirement, you may have an easier time getting benefits if you can show that it happened to you.

Getting denied

When you're suffering from a severe mental health issue, it can be all-too-easy to just give up when you receive a benefit denial. You should understand that almost everyone who applies for Social Security benefits gets denied, regardless of their condition. The SSA allows applicants to appeal their denial, and this is when you need to seek legal help. A Social Security SSI attorney will make all the difference in the world when you appear at your appeals hearing, and you have a far better chance of getting approved with legal help in tow.