Mental Illness


Mental illnesses such as anxiety disorders, bipolar, depression, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and schizophrenia are recognized by the Social Security Administration (SSA) as qualifying conditions for receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits.

The Social Security Administration evaluates each mental illness case individually to determine whether or not the effects of the disorder would preclude you from doing any kind of work for a period of at least twelve months. When evaluating cases, the SSA reviews many factors including:

Activities of Daily Living: This includes adaptive activities such as cleaning, shopping, cooking, taking public transportation, paying bills, maintaining a residence, caring appropriately for your grooming and hygiene, using telephones and directories, and using a post office. In the context of your overall situation, the SSA assess the quality of these activities by their independence, appropriateness, effectiveness, and sustainability.

Social Functioning: This refers to your capacity to interact independently, appropriately, effectively, and on a sustained basis with other individuals. Social functioning includes the ability to get along with others, such as family members, friends, neighbors, grocery clerks, landlords, or bus drivers. The SSA also may consider cooperative behaviors, consideration for others, awareness of others’ feelings, and social maturity. Social functioning in work situations may involve interactions with the public, responding appropriately to persons in authority (e.g., supervisors), or cooperative behaviors involving coworkers.

Concentration, Persistence or Pace: This refers to the ability to sustain focused attention and concentration sufficiently long to permit the timely and appropriate completion of tasks commonly found in work settings. Limitations in concentration, persistence, or pace are best observed in work settings, but may also be reflected by limitations in other settings. In addition, major limitations in this area can often be assessed through clinical examination or psychological testing. Wherever possible, however, a mental status examination or psychological test data should be supplemented by other available evidence.

Episodes of Decompensation: These are exacerbations or temporary increases in symptoms or signs accompanied by a loss of adaptive functioning, as manifested by difficulties in performing activities of daily living, maintaining social relationships, or maintaining concentration, persistence, or pace.

At the Law Offices of Harold W. Conick & Associates Ltd., we are experienced in handling social security disability claims related to mental illnesses including but not limited to anxiety disorders, bipolar, depression, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), schizophrenia and more. We understand what the SSA is looking for when evaluating claims, and are here to be your tough advocates regardless of the level of your appeal.

We also realize that this is a difficult time, and are here to answer your questions. For more information or to schedule a free consultation, contact us today.