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SSDI Benefits For Mental Impairments Attorneys

Helping Clients With Mental Impairments Receive SSDI

Although it is possible to collect disability benefits for both physical and mental conditions, qualifying for benefits for a mental illness presents unique challenges. At times, it is difficult to evaluate the symptoms of mental illness while the severity of a condition may not be fully understood. The best way to overcome such challenges and obtain these vital public benefits is to engage the services of an experienced disability benefits attorney. 

Peña & Bromberg, PLC routinely represents disabled individuals and their families throughout Central Valley, California and across the United States. We have a proven track record of helping our clients obtain disability benefits for a variety of mental conditions, including:

  • Schizophrenia
  • Intellectual disorders
  • Autistic disorders
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Substance abuse disorders

These conditions are among the cognitive, emotional, and mental disorders included in the Social Security Administration’s listing of mental conditions (the Blue Book). They are considered to be inherently disabling and prevent the afflicted individuals from performing any substantial gainful activity (SGA).

What factors are involved in benefit determinations for mental conditions?

Disability claims examiners will first determine whether the impairment is included in the Blue Book, and then look to the clinical notes of mental health professionals. The examiners also review questionnaires completed by third parties, usually friends of the claimant, about the individual’s condition and day-to-day routine. Finally, the examiners will review the claimant’s activities of daily living (ADL) questionnaire.

It is worth noting that the criteria for evaluating most mental disorders is subjective, and there are few standardized tests to assess the severity of these conditions. Moreover, examiners may not understand how a mental illness imposes limitations on an individual. In addition, some mental illnesses, such as bipolar disorder, are cyclical in nature and symptoms may not always be present. When a claimant is not displaying certain symptoms, the examiners may incorrectly assume the claimant has been cured, even though the symptoms will likely resurface in the future.

The disability benefits attorneys at Peña & Bromberg, PLC are keenly aware of these challenges. By collaborating with a respected network of medical experts, we work tirelessly to show how mental conditions are disabling so that our clients obtain the benefits they deserve.

What is mental residual functional capacity?

If an individual is diagnosed with a chronic mental condition that doesn’t meet the SSA’s criteria,  examiners will consider the claimant’s mental “residual functional capacity” (RFC). This   assessment is aimed at determining whether the claimant is capable of performing the same type of work or any other work. If the individual cannot perform any type of work, then benefits may be awarded under what is referred to as a medical-vocational allowance.

Why are disability claims for mental illnesses denied?

Individuals seeking disability benefits for mental conditions face a number of obstacles and claims may be denied for any number of reasons. First, mental health professionals often retain keep sketchy treatment notes that don’t provide sufficient details to claims examiners. 

In addition, those who have been prescribed medication for a diagnosed mental condition may not take the medication. Whether this is due to the cost, or because of side effects that some medications may cause, it is crucial to follow a doctor’s order and take all prescribed medications, otherwise a disability benefits claim will likely be denied.

Finally, some disability benefit claims are denied due to lack of duration, that is, the examiner has determined that the condition has not lasted is not expected to last at least one year. Our  dedicated legal team works closely with our clients to overcome these obstacles. 

California Disability Benefits Attorney

At Peña & Bromberg, PLC, we believe that all lives have value and everyone deserves to be treated with dignity and respect, regardless of whether they are battling with a mental illness. Although much progress has been made in treating these conditions, there is still a stigma associated with mental illness. 

Our experienced attorneys are dedicated to fighting against these perceptions and advocating for the disabled. We are well versed in the SSA’s listing of qualifying mental conditions and the rules regarding mental RFC. We have a well-earned reputation for helping our clients obtain benefits under the Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income programs. If you or a loved one needs assistance applying for disability benefits for a mental condition, call our office today for a free consultation or complete the contact form on our website.