Social Security Counseling Center

Getting Social Security Disability for a Mental Illness in Michigan


Mental illness can seriously impact people’s lives and in some cases can affect your ability to work.

If you have been unable to work for a minimum of 12 months because of a mental illness you may be eligible for Social Security Disability benefits in Michigan.

Mental disorders may consist of an illness or patterns of behavior that negatively impact your ability to work. Symptoms of these mental disorders and the impact they have, vary depending on the disorder.

These disorders can be responsible for lack of sleep, anger, irritability, difficulty focusing on tasks along with numerous other symptoms.

Social Security acknowledges that some of these symptoms can prevent you from working.

A few of these mental disorders are:

  • Agoraphobia
  • Anxiety and Panic Disorders
  • Autism
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Developmental Disorders
  • Depression
  • Eating Disorders
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
  • Personality Disorders
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Schizophrenia

 

Experienced Social Security Disability Attorneys

At Social Security Counseling Center our attorneys have over 40 years of experience in assisting clients with mental illness claims for Social Security Disability benefits and are sympathetic to the many issues associated with mental illness.

If you have been unable to work for a minimum of 12 months because of a mental illness you may be eligible for Government benefits.

We can help you secure the medical care necessary for your recovery as well as attain the benefits you deserve.

It is absolutely vital that you follow your doctor’s directions!

When you follow your mental health care provider’s instructions, regularly attend appointments and stay on medication if necessary, it will allow you to receive benefits easier and more quickly.

If you see improvements, continue to follow doctor’s orders in order to maintain your positive gains.

It is important to have seasoned and experienced representation for your Social Security Disability claim.

As your representation we will provide thorough preparation, filing, and the appeal of your case in order to recover your benefits.

 

Evidence Social Security Requires for Mental Disabilities

There are several pieces of information that Social Security uses to review applications for disability when mental health is involved.

Social Security looks for evidence that you have a medically determinable impairment or a diagnosis based on objective evidence that is either expected to or has lasted for 12 months.

The disorder also has to be severe enough to impact your ability to work.

The initial piece of evidence Social Security has for your case is your application. This application can be filled out by yourself or with a Social Security representative over the phone or in-person meeting.

Be sure to include all of your conditions and all of the ways they affect your ability to work.

It’s possible that a combination of disorders qualifies you for disability even if you believe only one condition is impacting your ability to work.

 

ADL Questionnaire

Social Security will require you to fill out a questionnaire concerning your activities of daily living.

This form, known as the Function Report, allows you to describe how your condition has impacted your daily life.

This form will inquire about several activities such as doing housework, shopping, spending time with friends and family and getting around in the outside world.

In the case that your condition impacts your ability to follow instructions, get along with bosses and coworkers, or dealing with stress, you should describe this in detail in the ADL questionnaire.

 

Medical Records

Social Security will review all pertinent medical records for at least a year before your application for benefits. In order to complete your application, you have to provide your health care providers.

You will have to sign Social Security’s Authorization to Disclose information in order for them to attain any records from your health care provider.

However, it is recommended that you submit your records yourself, this will allow you to avoid any delays in your case.

Psychiatric or Neurological Testing

The medical records you submit must include the results of all your neurological, psychiatric, or psychological tests.

While many mental conditions are impossible to evaluate with an objective test, there are some that can be.

For example, if you apply for disability for intellectual disability, you will be required to show the results of IQ testing.

 

Treatment Notes

Treatment notes from mental health professionals are usually the most important source of evidence in mental disability claims.

However, there can be some problems with treatment notes. Providers often do not keep thorough notes.

Social Security needs to see the details of your treatment, including things like your diagnosis, your symptoms, your treatment plan, your prognosis, the history of your treatment (including every medication prescribed), and how you responded to every kind of treatment that the provider tried.

Ideally, treatment notes should also contain details about how your mental condition has impaired your functioning.

For example, if you allege that your anxiety disorder makes it impossible to work because you are unable to leave your house, it will be very helpful to your claim if your psychiatrist’s notes document your fear of leaving the house and show that your anxiety persists in spite of medication and treatment.

 

RFC Form

Even when treatment notes are thorough, they usually do not have much detail about how your mental condition affects your ability to function.

Consider asking your doctor to fill out a mental residual functional capacity (RFC) assessment form.

Social Security must give credence to your doctor’s opinion regarding your condition and ability to function.

Have your doctor complete a full mental RFC form, this can be the most imperative thing you can do for your case.

 

Therapy Notes

Social Security will not use psychiatric therapy notes in its assessment of your disability. Those are notes taken during therapy sessions that have to do with your personal conversations with your doctor.

Your doctor can simply not include the notes, or they can remove them if they are included with other relevant records.

 

Consultative Exam

The claims examiners at your state’s disability determination agency (DDS) will look at the information you list about your impairments, plus your medical records, and decide whether more information could be useful in approving or denying you’re the claim.

In some cases, the claims examiner will order a consultative exam (CE).

In mental disorder cases, Social Security might refer you to a psychiatrist for a thorough assessment. Social Security usually prefers to arrange this with your own treating doctor.

However, many claimants find themselves referred to another doctor for a CE, particularly when the doctor who has been treating them is not a psychiatrist.

 

Other Sources of Evidence

Social Security may contact third parties you’ve identified to ask them about your activities.

People like social workers, former employers, probation officers, teachers, friends, and family can offer valuable information about you that can support your case.

Think of people who have seen the effects of your mental condition on your ability to function.

If you do provide Social Security certain references to support your application, make sure you inform those people to let them know it.

If you have questions concerning changes in SSI eligibility for a mental illness, then make sure to contact an experienced lawyer here at The Social Security Counseling Center.

Contact us for a today free case evaluation at: (248) 281-4247

Social Security Counseling Center

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