Social Security Administration Takes Closer Look At Mental Illness

In the United States, over 4 percent of adults suffer from a debilitating mental illness that erodes their quality of life, and makes it difficult to function in society. The Social Security Administration (SSA) provides benefits to those whose mental illness is so severe that they are incapable of working.

A nationwide focus on mental health issues prompted the SSA to reevaluate its definitions of mental illness, and a loosening of restrictions brought thousands of new citizens onto the disability rolls. The Social Security claims Chicago residents made rose as a result of the easing of mental illness requirements. The changes affect applicants in several ways.

Which Illnesses Qualify

The SSA has two broad categories for illnesses that qualify. One category affects the applicant’s ability to function daily. Applicants qualify for benefits when their disease prevents them from taking care of their personal activities, such as preparing meals, personal hygiene, or paying bills. Some forms of autism, mental handicaps, and developmental disorders qualify under this category.

The other illnesses covered by the SSA are those that impact a person’s ability to interact with other people in social situations. High anxiety, bi-polar depression, some personality disorders, and disorders on the schizophrenia spectrum qualify for coverage.

Providing Proof Of Illness

Unlike physical ailments, which can be demonstrated objectively, mental illness is more difficult to prove. The SSA requires a series of tests and forms before evaluating an applicant’s mental illness.

  • Function Report: This lists all of the ways in which the mental illness impacts an applicant’s daily functions
  • Authorization To Disclose Information: A medical release that allows the SSA to examine a year of medical data on the applicant’s condition
  • Psychiatric Test: Evidence of testing done by a mental health professional
  • Mental Residual Functional Capacity Form: This document, in conjunction with treatment notes, provides detailed analysis of an applicant’s ability to function
  • Consultative Exam: SSA may request an examination by the applicant’s therapist or a referred professional for a final word on the applicant’s illness

How To Apply

The application process for mental illness disability is long, but the process can be sped along with the help of a Social Security attorney. The Social Security claims Chicago residents make can be denied if the applicant fails to provide any part of the required documentation or misses a deadline.

The Social Security claims Chicago residents need are more accessible than ever with new guidelines from the SSA.