Do disability examiners have bias against mental conditions?

by May 31, 2016

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In theory, all disabilities listed in the Social Security Administration’s Blue Book are equally eligible for disability benefits. However, a recent article illustrates that some disabilities may be harder to prove than others. 

When it comes to mental conditions that are less outwardly visible than physical impairments, a disability examiner may be more cautious about approving applications for Social Security disability insurance or Supplemental Security Income benefits. Our law firm focuses on disability benefits, and we have several tips for SSDI applicants seeking eligibility based upon a non-physical condition. 

First, keeping medical reports will help legitimize conditions that have a non-clinical counterpart, such as anxiety disorder or chronic pain. In addition, sharing with one’s doctor the intention to seek disability benefits may encourage more complete record keeping. Records that describe the functional limitations imposed by one’s condition will help a disability examiner justify an approval. 

Yet illustrating the severity of one’s condition is just one part of a strong SSDI application. An applicant can also improve his or her chances by providing evidence of the work that he or she used to do, and how the condition has made it impossible to do that or similar types of work.

Finally, an adverse initial SSDI determination is not necessarily the final word. The scrutiny resulting from adverse press and budgetary constraints has made some disability examiners cautious. However, a deserving applicant can request an in-person hearing, including the opportunity to bring his or her own medical expert or witness. If you are a deserving applicant, an attorney can help you fight for the benefits you deserve.

Source: FindLaw, “How to Prove Disability If You Have a Mental Condition,” Christopher Coble, March 18, 2016