What You Need to Know About Mental Illness and Applying for Social Security Disability


You Should Be Able to Answer Yes to All of these Questions Before Applying for Social Security Disability If Your Claim is Primarily or Significantly Based on Your Mental Illness

Mental Illness is one of the more complicated areas of Social Security Disability Law. The Social Security Administration takes many factors into consideration. While every case is unique these are some of the most basic questions that Social Security will ask, both officially and unofficially, both directly and indirectly.

  • Have you consistently and regularly been treated by a Psychiatrist for at least the past two years as part of a prescription medication regimen? This can include a Physicians Assistant or Certified Registered Nurse Practitioner working under a Psychiatrist.

  • Have you consistently and regularly been taking all your medications as prescribed, not lowering or increasing dosages or stopping medications without first discussing so with your Psychiatrist for at least the past two years?

  • Have you been actively participating in your medication management with your Psychiatrist to continually work towards finding a regimen that helps you the most while limiting significant negative side effects?

  • Have you consistently and regularly for at least the past two years been in therapy or counseling with a Pennsylvania State Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Marriage and Family Therapist, Professional Counselor or Social Worker?

  • Have you recently applied for and received services from the Pennsylvania State Department of Labor Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR) and accessed all their services to find and retain employment that can accommodate your mental illness related disabilities over a significant period of time and through several work attempts?

Again, these are just starter issues. In general, though Social Security is not at all concerned with your diagnoses. They are concerned with the frequency and severity of the symptoms of those diagnoses while receiving adequate treatment. Building a disability case and maximizing your good mental health are not necessarily mutually exclusive.

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