Sufferers of mental illness face challenges applying for SSDI

by Aug 26, 2016

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When people think of a condition that makes it impossible for a person to work, they often think of physical conditions like blindness, paralysis or amputation. While these can certainly be disabling, the fact is that you don’t have to see a condition for it to be disabling.

Mental illnesses are among those conditions that cannot be seen but make it all but impossible for a person to continue performing daily tasks like work. Unfortunately, for many sufferers of mental illness, there are some challenges they face when it comes to seeking critical benefits to help them care for themselves when their illness becomes disabling.

To begin with, mental illness is not necessarily something that develops overnight. These conditions typically get worse over time, making it difficult for a person to know when their illness becomes severe enough to be considered disabled. Living with a condition every day can make it seem almost normal which can affect a person’s understanding of how significantly they truly are impaired by an illness.

Once a person does recognize the fact that their mental health may be grounds to pursue disability benefits, he or she will then have to prove it to the Social Security Administration. In the best case scenarios, a person is able to provide the medical evidence necessary and meets the financial requirements and is approved for benefits.

However, many people do not experience this best case scenario. Instead, they gather all the evidence they can and submit their application only to have it denied. Reviewers can deny it because there is not enough medical evidence, because the condition is not listed as one covered by SSDI or because they do not understand the illness.

Considering the challenges that people with mental illness face when it comes to seeking SSDI, it is not unusual for applicants to have the help of an attorney during the application and/or appeals processes. An attorney familiar with Social Security disability law can help an applicant anticipate some of the obstacles that lie ahead and take steps to avoid or deal with them, making the application process less intimidating and stressful.