Social Security Benefits for Mentally Impaired Young Adults
Post-traumatic stress disorder, often from military service, violent attack, major depression, extreme anxiety or autism plague a growing number of young adults. There are 11 categories of mental disorders recognized in all. The Social Security Administration (SSA) accepts this and offers Social Security Disability (“SSDI”) or Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”) benefits to those who cannot perform substantial and gainful employment activities. Often, a lawyer specializing in Social Security law is needed to get the benefits for which you are entitled.How Do I Qualify for Disability?
The SSA evaluates each case according to medical criteria and functional criteria. For needed medical proof, for the government will not accept just your word. You have to treat with the appropriate doctor or other medical professional, usually a psychologist or psychiatrist. The specialist must perform the standard and usual testing of the profession in order to provide a conclusive diagnosis. For young adults, school records, including IEP (individual education plan), grades and attendance should be obtained. It may show the current disability was long-existing.
Testing should be done where appropriate. Counseling records are crucial. A lot of mental health professionals want to give you a half-page letter indicating that you are disabled. That is not acceptable to SSA. The judges who will decide your case want at least 2 years of medical records. If you see a counselor bi-weekly, they want the 52 visits provided. Go to your pharmacy to get your list of prescriptions over the past 2 years printed out. The pharmacy printout will let the judge know the medications taken, the doctors doing the prescribing, the increase in dosages and the side effects from taking each of the medications.
Hospital in-patient stays and attendance at adult day care are real considerations by the SSA. It shows them that your situation was acute, serious, and may also be ongoing. There is usually a very thorough work-up involved during a hospital stay. If a doctor thinks it warranted, accept the doctor’s advice and go in-patient. The SSA will not allow disability for someone upset about the end of a dating relationship; however, marked or extreme reaction to a life situation is real proof of disorder.I Have a Mental Health Diagnosis. Is That Enough?
Just having a medically diagnosed mental disorder is not enough to receive monthly Disability or SSI. The judges apply functional criteria and rating scales to determine the severity of the disorder. Are you able to perform substantial and gainful employment activity? Can you work 8 hours per day and 5 days per week? Even if you can work 3-4 days per week, but gross over $1200.00 month, you don’t meet the financial criteria for disability.
The functional criteria considered by the judge include: are you able to understand instructions or questions at work from the supervisor, co-workers or the customer; are you able to remember and apply facts involving work (like getting an order as a waitperson at a restaurant); are you able to interact with others (some people have such a ‘fight or flight’ response to stress that working with others is impossible).
Also, are you able to concentrate, persist and maintain an adequate pace on any work you might be given. People with severe depression often lack these abilities. The judge will find that you meet the disability standard if you have extreme inability to function in one of the above areas or a marked inability to function in two of the above areas. Marked limitation means you can’t sustain certain functioning. Extreme means you can’t perform the function at all.
Knowing that a person with a mental disorder has these difficulties, the Social Security Lawyers at Marcotte Law Firm make all the contacts necessary to increase your chances of success in a Social Security hearing.