Articles on Mental Illness Disability Claims
Many millions of Americans suffer from some sort of mental illness. For most people, the symptoms can be managed through medication or psychological counseling. For some, however, the impairments caused by their mental illness are so severe that they are unable to work or perform their normal daily activities.
If you’ve found yourself in this situation, the Social Security Administration, Veterans Administration, and many private insurance companies provide disability benefits for those with mental illnesses. Obtaining these benefits can be a challenge since you need to provide specific evidence to support your claim of disability due to a mental disorder.
Here’s a rundown of what you need to qualify for disability benefits due to a mental illness or disorder:
Social Security Mental Illness Disability Claims
The Blue Book is a document used by the Social Security Administration (SSA) to establish guidelines for a number of the conditions that qualify a claimant for Social Security disability benefits. Section 12 of the SSA Bluebook is devoted to mental disorders. Some of the mental disorders listed under Section 12 include:
- Neurocognitive disorders
- Schizophrenia spectrum and other psychotic disorders
- Depressive, bipolar, and related disorders
- Intellectual disorder
- Anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorders
- Somatic symptom and related disorders
- Personality and impulse-control disorders
- Autism spectrum disorder
- Neurodevelopmental disorders
- Eating disorders
- Trauma- and stressor-related disorders
To qualify for Social Security disability benefits for a mental disorder, you need to submit specific “objective medical evidence” from an “acceptable medical source” for the SSA to establish that your mental illness is a medically determinable impairment. The evidence must be complete and detailed enough for the SSA to determine:
- The nature and severity of your impairment(s).
- How long you’ve experienced the impairment(s).
- The extent to which your impairment(s) affects your ability to function in a work setting.
If your claim for Social Security disability benefits for a mental disorder has been turned down, it may not be because you don’t qualify for benefits. Many claims are rejected simply because the applicant failed to provide the necessary information the SSA needed in deciding their case. Working with an experienced, board-certified Social Security lawyer like Marc Whitehead & Associates will significantly improve your chances of getting your claim approved upon appeal. Marc Whitehead & Associates know what the SSA is looking for when they consider a claim and what medical evidence needed to fully establish your disability.
VA Mental Illness Disability Claims
The Department of Veterans Affairs provides several resources for veterans with mental disorders, including disability benefits to veterans unable to serve or work due to a service-related mental illness.
The VA uses the Veterans Affairs Schedule for Rating Disabilities (VASRD) to evaluate a veteran’s mental illness based on their medical report and determine a VA military disability rating. If they are found to have a service-connected disability, the VA will assign them a disability rating. Mental illnesses are rated at 0%, 10%, 30%, 50%, 70%, or 100%.
Like the SSA, the VA recognizes several types of mental illness-related disabilities, including:
- Schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders
- Delirium, dementia, and amnestic and other cognitive disorders
- Anxiety disorders
- Dissociative disorders
- Somatoform disorders
- Mood disorders
- Chronic adjustment disorder
- Eating disorders
To qualify for VA benefits, you must not only be able to demonstrate that you have a mental illness, but also that your mental illness is connected to your military service.
The VA allows veterans to appeal a denial of benefits for mental illness. To avoid the mistakes that caused the VA to reject your claim the first time around, you’ll want to hire an experienced VA disability benefits attorney to handle your appeal.
LTD Insurance Mental Illness Disability Claims
It can be difficult to obtain Long Term Disability (LTD) benefits for mental illness from an insurance company. Check the language of your policy carefully; your plan may not even cover mental illnesses. And if they pay out benefits for mental illness, they usually limit payments to no more than two years.
Insurance companies routinely deny LTD claims for mental disorders. Not seeking appropriate psychological and psychiatric care, surveillance evidence that seems to contradict your claim, and a lack of physical impairments or symptoms are just a few of the reasons an insurance company will use to deny a claim.
However, this doesn’t mean you can’t obtain the benefits you need. Most employer group LTD insurance policies are governed by federal ERISA laws that give policyholders the right to appeal an insurance company’s decision to deny benefits.
Many claimants opt to hire an LTD benefits attorney to help with their appeal. They know which documents are needed to support your claim of disability due to mental illness. They’re wise to the tricks the insurance companies use to get out of paying full benefits. They’ll ensure the insurance company considers the total evidence supporting your condition, not just parts. And if it becomes necessary, they can represent you in court.
Speak With A Leading Mental Illness Claims Attorney
The mental illness disability benefits lawyers at Marc Whitehead & Associates have helped individuals all over the U.S. obtain the disability benefits they deserve for mental illness and other conditions, even after their initial claims had been rejected by the SSA, VA, or a private insurance company.
Marc Whitehead is a Board Certified in Social Security Disability Law by the National Board of Social Security Disability Advocacy, an Accredited Veterans Claim Attorney as required to practice law before the VA, and Board Certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization in Personal Injury Trial Law.
We are dedicated to getting you the full disability benefits to which you are entitled. If your claim for disability benefits for mental illness has been denied by the SSA, VA, or private insurance, give us a call. In many situations, we can handle cases on a contingency basis, which means there are no up-front fees if we choose to represent your case, and we only collect a fee after we’ve secured your benefits.