A Phoenix Disability Attorney on Mental Impairments
Mental impairments can serve as the basis of a disability, either independently or in combination with physical impairments. However, because mental impairments are often viewed as more subjective it is extremely important to fully develop the evidence to support the claim.
The Approach the SSA Takes
The SSA will review the claimant’s complete medical record as well as the claimants reported symptoms as part of its evaluation. It looks at the records from treating and consulting sources, as well as the reports of family and friends. It must then determine the claimant’s functional limitations based upon the impairment.
“Should the SSA determine that a person is impaired to the degree that the impairment causes more than a slight or insignificant degree, thenext step is to determine how that impairment impacts the claimant’s capacity to function,” says disability attorney Alan Schiffman.
The Claimant’s Functional Limitations
The SSA will rate four areas of functional limitation:
- Daily living activities
- Ability to function socially
- Concentration and ability to focus
- Episodes of decompensation (temporary increases in symptoms or signs accompanied by a loss of adaptive functioning).
After evaluating the evidence regarding these areas, the SSA will determine if the claimant meets or equals one of the subsections in Listing 12.00. If not, the SSA must then determine what functional restrictions exist and how these functional restrictions, either individually or in combination with other functional restrictions, effects the individual’s capacity to perform work activities on a sustained basis.
What a Claimant Can Do
For many, there remains a stigma attached to mental conditions. While few fail to seek medical treatment for physical conditions, this may not be the case with mental impairments. If you are suffering from any form of mental impairment, the disability attorneys at Schiffman Law Office, P.C. recommend that you seek treatment early and strictly follow the recommendations of doctors and therapists. The SSA will carefully examine a claimant’s medical records and documentation of symptoms is critical. Hopefully with appropriate care and treatment your condition will improve and allow a return to work.
It is also often important to obtain relevant standardized testing – such as an MMPI-II (Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory-II). Also, if you are not being treated by a doctorate level psychologist or a psychiatrist, it is often important to obtain an evaluation by such an individual, since only individuals with at least a doctorate or medical degree are considered to be medical sources whose opinions can adequately support a claim.
Contact a Phoenix Disability Lawyer for Legal Advice
More than half of all claims for disability are initially denied by the SSA, and the numbers are even higher for those claiming a mental impairment. If you are unable to work due to a mental impairment, protect your rights and get what you deserve. Call us today.