If you have a mental health issue and are applying for social security disability (SSD), you may feel overwhelmed. The application process can seem daunting, and you may not know where to start. Thankfully, help is available. An experienced disability attorney who understands SSD cases can guide you through the process and help ensure your application has the best chance of being approved.
Keep in mind that hiring an attorney with mental health claims experience is essential – not all attorneys are familiar with the specific requirements of these cases. So, if you’re looking for help, choose an attorney who understands what you’re going through. With the proper assistance, filing for SSD can be much less stressful and could mean the difference between getting the benefits you need and being left without any support.
In this article, an experienced West Palm Beach, Florida social security disability lawyer from DiBiaggio Law shares what you need to know about mental health and filing your SSD claim.
Mental Health Issues
You are not alone if you are dealing with mental health issues in the United States. According to statistics from the National Alliance of Mental Illness:
- 1 in 5 adults experience mental illness each year
- 1 in 20 adults experience serious mental illness each year
- 1 in 6 youth aged 6-17 experience a mental health disorder each year
- 50% of all lifetime mental illness begins by age 14, and 75% by age 24
- Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death among people aged 10-34
These are sobering statistics, and it’s important to know the mental health disorders recognized by the Social Security Administration (SSA) to determine if you qualify for SSD benefits.
What Mental Disorders Does the SSA Recognize?
The SSA recognizes 11 categories of mental disorders. If you or a family member has been diagnosed with any of the following mental health conditions and are unable to work, you may be eligible for SSD benefits:
- Neurocognitive disorders
- Schizophrenia spectrum and other psychotic disorders
- Depressive, bipolar, and related disorders
- Intellectual disorder
- Anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorders
- Somatic symptoms and related disorders
- Personality and impulse-control disorders
- Autism spectrum disorder
- Neurodevelopmental disorders
- Eating disorders
- Trauma- and stressor-related disorders
In addition to having one of the above qualifying mental disorders, you must meet other eligibility requirements to file an SSD claim. We discuss these in more detail in an article you can read here.
Filing your SSD Application
After you’ve filed your SSD application, it will be processed at your local Florida SSA field office. The field office verifies non-medical eligibility requirements, such as age, employment, marital status, citizenship and residency, and social security coverage information. After reviewing the case, the field office forwards it to the Florida Division of Disability Determinations (DDD) for disability evaluation.
The DDSs are state agencies in charge of gathering medical evidence and determining whether the claimant (the person filing the claim) is disabled under the law. The federal government fully funds these state agencies. If your SSD claim is denied, you may file an appeal. A recent article discussed the appeals process, which you can read here.
The Benefits of Working with a Lawyer for Your Mental Health Disability Claim
Mental health disabilities are typically more challenging to qualify for than physical ones. They are frequently misunderstood and may be less apparent to an evaluator unfamiliar with the mental health field. Consulting a social security disability attorney can often overcome these obstacles and obtain the necessary benefits.
A disability lawyer will work closely with you and your medical providers to produce the appropriate medical documentation required by the SSA. If your application for benefits is denied because you did not meet the medical eligibility requirements, your attorney can help you file a disability appeal. You should know that filing an appeal is complicated, and you must follow each step of the process in order.
At some point, you may be required to attend a disability hearing, which makes it crucial to have the compassionate representation that your attorney can provide. Your attorney will stand by you and fight tirelessly to protect your rights. Hiring a disability lawyer at DiBiaggio Law can significantly increase your chances of a fair hearing.
Choose DiBiaggio Law for Your Mental Health Social Security Disability Claim
If you are seeking social security disability benefits for mental health issues, don’t go it alone. At DiBiaggio Law, our mission is to make a difference in the lives of disabled individuals and their loved ones. Our legal team can help guide you through the claims process. When you partner with us, we will make the social security system work for you.
Contact us today at (561) 473-9800 to schedule your free consultation with attorney Deidre DiBiaggio, recognized as one of the top three social security disability attorneys in Miami, Florida. If more convenient, you can also fill out our online form here.
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