How to Win a Disability Case for Mental Illness (9 Easy Tips)

Learn how to win a disability case for mental illness in this simple guide. Get actionable tips and Social Security requirements. Find out if you qualify.

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Are you struggling with a mental health disability that has made it impossible for you to work? If so, you may be wondering how to win a disability case for mental illness and receive the benefits you deserve. The good news is that it is possible to receive disability benefits for mental health disabilities, but the process can be complex and overwhelming. In this article, we’ll discuss the ins and outs of mental health disabilities and provide you with practical tips on how to win a disability case for mental illness. Keep reading to learn more.

Can You Get Disability for Mental Illness?

The Social Security Administration considers mental illness to be a qualifiable reason to obtain Social Security Income or Social Security Disability Insurance. There are 11 different types of mental illnesses that the handbook for the Social Security Administration utilizes to determine if an individual’s mental illness is severe enough to grant disability.

1. Meet an Impairment Listed in the Social Security Administration’s Blue Book

If you’re wondering if your mental health condition qualifies for disability benefits, the Social Security Administration’s Blue Book is a valuable resource to consult. The Blue Book lists 11 categories of mental disorders that can qualify an individual for disability benefits. These categories include

  • Neurocognitive disorders (12.02)
  • Schizophrenia spectrum and other psychotic disorders (12.03)
  • Depressive, bipolar and related disorders (12.04)
  • Intellectual disorder (12.05)
  • Anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorders (12.06)
  • Somatic symptom and related disorders (12.07)
  • Personality and impulse-control disorders (12.08)
  • Autism spectrum disorder (12.10)
  • Neurodevelopmental disorders (12.11)
  • Eating disorders (12.13)
  • Trauma- and stressor-related disorders (12.15)

2. Get Qualified Mental Health Care For Your Mental Illness

While pursuing disability income or insurance for a mental health condition, it’s important to seek out medical treatment and support your disability claim with medical evidence. Medical treatment can include mental health care, such as therapy or medication management. Seeking treatment not only helps you manage your condition, but it also provides critical medical evidence to support your disability claim.

3. Comply with Your Prescribed Medical Treatment

Following your mental health medical team’s advice and instructions is crucial when pursuing a disability claim for a mental health condition. It’s important to be compliant with any prescribed medication, as it demonstrates that you’re taking your condition seriously and doing everything you can to manage it. Compliance with medication also provides important medical evidence to support your disability claim.

4. Prove You Cannot Work Because of Your Mental Illness

To qualify for disability benefits for a mental health condition, you must prove that your symptoms prevent you from working. It’s important to communicate the severity of your symptoms to your medical team and ensure that they are documented in your medical chart. For instance, if you suffer from severe depression and struggle to get out of bed most days, be sure to inform your doctors of this. Consistent documentation of your symptoms can provide valuable medical evidence to support your disability claim.

5. Fill Out a Mental Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) Form

Completing a mental health residual functional capacity (RFC) form can provide a comprehensive summary of your mental health symptoms and help ensure that the Social Security Administration has all the necessary information to evaluate your disability claim. It’s crucial to fill out the RFC form completely and accurately to ensure that the SSA understands the full scope of your symptoms.

6. Get a Medical Statement About Your Mental Illness

Ask your mental health doctor to draft a medical statement about your condition during a routine or follow-up appointment. This statement can provide important details about your mental health symptoms and limitations, and can greatly support your disability claim.

7. You Must Stop All Substance Abuse

It’s important to note that the Social Security Administration cannot grant disability benefits to individuals whose mental health disabilities are solely due to substance abuse. Therefore, it’s crucial to make every effort to overcome any substance abuse issues before applying for Social Security Disability. Make sure to prioritize your mental health and seek appropriate treatment and support to address any substance abuse concerns, as doing so can greatly improve your chances of winning a disability case for mental illness.

8. Give Credible and Honest Testimony at Your Disability Hearing

When testifying at your disability hearing for mental illness, it’s important to be as truthful and accurate as possible. While it may be tempting to exaggerate your symptoms or claim more limitations than you actually have, doing so can actually harm your case. Instead, focus on painting a clear picture of your worst days and how your mental health symptoms prevent you from being able to work.

9. Hire a Qualified Social Security Disability Lawyer

If you want to maximize your chances of winning your disability case for mental illness, it’s wise to hire a knowledgeable and experienced Social Security Disability attorney or firm, like Evans Disability. A competent attorney can help you navigate the complex application and appeals process, gather the necessary evidence to support your claim, and represent you during your disability hearing. They can also ensure that you meet all the necessary deadlines and provide accurate and complete information to the Social Security Administration.

Also Read: How to Find a Good Disability Lawyer (9 Ways) 

 What Mental Illness Qualifies for Disability?

  • Neurocognitive Disorders
  • Neurodevelopmental Disorders
  • Schizophrenia and Psychotic Disorders
  • Depressive, Bipolar, and Related Disorders
  • Anxiety and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorders
  • Intellectual Disorder
  • Eating Disorders
  • Somatic Symptoms and Related Disorders
  • Personality and Impulse-Control Disorders
  • Autism Spectrum Disorders
  • Trauma and Stress-Related Disorders

How to Apply for Disability for Mental Illness?

You should apply for disability benefits as soon as you become disabled. The best action plan is to apply for disability benefits for Mental Illness is as follows:

  1. Complete your application online or call the Social Security Administration at  1-800-772-1213. However, If you want to apply in person, please call and make an appointment before you visit your local office.
  2. Gather the most critical information- your doctor(s) information, your Social Security number, and a list of your disability conditions. 
  3. Review the “Disability Starter Kit” that the Social Security Administration has provided for prospective applicants. 
  4. If you have any questions, feel free to call the Social Security Administration or enlist the services of a qualified Social Security Disability Attorney.

Denied Disability for Mental Illness? Call Us!

If you are denied Social Security disability for your mental illness, it is not over. You can appeal the denial with the assistance of a knowledgeable and experienced attorney, like the ones at Evans Disability. You can call for a free consultation at (855) 360-1010.

Disability for Mental Illness FAQ

Is It Hard to Get Disability for Mental Illness?

While there is some truth in that it is harder to obtain disability benefits for mental illness, this isn’t always the case. In particular, the longer you have had the mental health illness and the better-documented symptoms you have, the easier it will be to prevail on a disability claim for mental health illness. According to a recent survey conducted by the Social Security Administration, of the individuals receiving disability benefits, about 40% reported a mental health condition or intellectual disability as their reason for their limitations.

How to Prove Mental Disability?

You can prove a mental health disability in the same manner you prove a physical disability. You will need medical documentation, including medical records and support from your medical team, an inability to work due to your disabling condition for 12 months or longer, and proof that you are yielding your medical team’s recommendations for symptom relief. You can also utilize a mental health status evaluation report as part of your mental health disability claim.

How Long Does It Take To Get Disability for Mental Illness?

The Social Security Administration states that it “generally, it takes about 3 to 5 months to get a decision. However, the exact time depends on how long it takes to get your medical records and any other evidence needed to make a decision.”