There may not be as much attention paid to mental problems as physical disabilities, but the Law Offices of Harold W. Conick and Associates has seen a large amount of these mental disability cases come through its doors. Preparing for a hearing in front of the Social Security Administration will take a lot of work, but these cases can be successful. You can attain mental disability benefits from the SSA.
Harold Conick, who has practiced for more than 30 years, answered a few questions about what it takes to prepare for one of these cases.
Q: How do you prepare for a mental disability case versus a physical disability case? Is it different?
Conick: The preparation is similar except the focus for the mental case is on how the mental illness interferes with the functionality. This concerns their ability to concentrate, memory, judgment and their ability to think about work related activities.
Q: Generally, what are the outcomes of these cases?
Conick: The outcome depends on how much treatment they’ve had for their condition. Some people are mentally ill and they don’t get much treatment because of mental issues. They can’t leave the house or don’t want to leave the house. Others are better at getting treatment The more one treats the illness, the better chance they have of prevailing on a claim for disability. The records are everything. The SSA thinks if they’re not treating they’re not that sick and they can’t prove it.
Q: Do you see a large amount of these cases in your practice?
Conick: Yeah, it is probably about half who have some component of mental illness. Bipolar, depression, schizophrenia, personality disorder or some combination of several elements. PTSD is common as well, especially among women.
Q: What’s the hardest part of trying a mental disability case?
Conick: Getting the client to cooperate with revealing their evidence. I don’t just mean their medical evidence; That’s readily obtainable usually. I mean testifying about how they are affected by their mental illness. A lot of people are hesitant to talk about it. It’s a very personal subject.
Q: Do you have any advice for people with a mental disorder applying for disability benefits? Or perhaps friends/family who want to help?
Conick: They should try to get treatments for two reasons: One their health and the hope they can be cured or treated. Two, to support their claim for federal disability benefits. Mental illness is very common; disability benefits can be had. The claimant must be willing to do everything in their power to help the case.