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Mental Illness

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Social Security Disability And Mental Illness

A Winning Record In Mental Impairment Claims Under SSD

Almost 20 percent of all disability claims today are based on mental illness, up from just 9 percent in decades past. In large part, this is because of diminished prejudices against those with mental illness. This has allowed people with severe mental disabilities to “come out of the shadows” for both treatments and to apply for Social Security Disability benefits without the stigma once attached to these disorders.

However, winning Social Security mental impairment claims has never been tougher. The Social Security Administration is “cracking down” on mental disorder claims because of media reports and public perception that many claimants are scamming the system. In our experience at Turley Redmond & Rosasco, L.L.P., we choose to believe the suffering our clients tell us they experience if it is supported by their treating doctor or therapist. Unlike some other firms, we will not turn down mental disability claims just because they are harder to prove and win.

One of the reasons that winning mental illness disability claims is so tough is that it is impossible for the SSA claim examiners or judges to fully “see” mental illness, unlike other disabilities that are either obvious or objectively documented with diagnostic tests. For example, it is easy for a Social Security judge to look at a claimant’s MRI report of his back and tell how serious his condition is. But there are no X-rays or blood tests to determine how depressed or anxious a person may be. In large part, Social Security judges must rely on the credibility of the claimant’s description of their symptoms during a hearing. All judges are human, and many judges bring their own perceptions of mental illness, both enlightened and sometimes less so, into the courtroom.

Our job is to help clients with serious mental illness fully describe their symptoms to a judge. It is not unusual for us to spend over two hours with a claimant with a mental disorder preparing them for their testimony at a hearing. Are they so depressed they have trouble getting out of bed in the morning? Do they have anxiety so severe that they do not go out in public? Do they have trouble concentrating on tasks for long periods of time? Do they have problems interacting with family, co-workers, or authority figures? Do they have recurrent nightmares impairing sleep? As a result of these symptoms, would the claimant be unable to hold full-time employment? These are important questions judges will ask in mental disability claims.

At Turley Redmond & Rosasco, L.L.P., we have an outstanding success rate with mental illness disability cases. We have great respect for those suffering from various forms of mental illness. We have handled Social Security Disability (SSD) mental disability cases for over 25 years, winning appeals and benefits for clients throughout New York and Long Island.

Common Mental Health Conditions Eligible For Social Security Disability

Our Social Security lawyers have secured benefits for mood disorders, anxiety disorders, behavioral disorders, and a wide range of mental illness and mental impairment cases, including:

  • Major and clinical depression
  • Bipolar disorder and bipolar II (“manic-depressive”)
  • Generalized anxiety disorder
  • Personality disorders
  • Eating disorders
  • Mood disorders
  • Low IQ
  • Panic attacks
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Brain injury (cognitive deficits, personality change, mood swings)
  • Phobias
  • Hallucinations
  • Attention deficit disorder (ADD)
  • Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Schizophrenia
  • Dual-diagnosis disorders (e.g., depression and substance abuse)

Listening To Mental Health Clients And Telling Their Story

Millions of people coping with mental illness are able to work full-time. To qualify for SSD, you must demonstrate (a) a diagnosed condition that (b) prevents you from obtaining or holding a full-time job. It is important to work with our Social Security lawyers who will spend the time to understand your disability and present a compelling case to the judge.

The Social Security Administration has specific criteria for each mental health impairment listing relating to the severity, frequency, and duration of symptoms, cycles, and episodes. We work closely with individuals, family members, and physicians to document psychiatric treatment, medications, work attempts, activities of daily living, and other evidence that the condition is disabling for employment purposes. Only then can we tell the Social Security Administration your full story.

Experienced Advocates For Mental Disability Claims

Call Turley Redmond & Rosasco and speak to our Social Security lawyers about your mental illness disability claim toll-free at 800-671-4927, or contact us online. We offer free consultations to clients at our offices in Suffolk County and Nassau County.

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