Our Social Security disability attorney in Denver, Colorado has represented many clients who were seeking benefits due to a mental disorder. While applying for benefits under any of the disorders requires similar steps, gathering evidence to prove a mental disorder is sometimes more challenging.

There are multiple categories of mental disorders recognized by the SSA Blue Book. The requirements will vary depending on the specific disorder within the category. Here are some of the aspects that you will need to demonstrate on your application:

  • Affective Disorders

      –  The applicant will need to show that they are unable to function outside of a supportive environment. Providing medical documentation to confirm these symptoms, along with evidence of two years of treatment, will support the claim.

  • Anxiety Disorders

      –  An applicant can substantiate their anxiety-related claim by showing evidence of persistent symptoms like motor tension, apprehensive expectation, and irrational fears. Evidence of recurring and unpredictable panic attacks, compulsions, and obsessions can also strengthen the claim.

  • Autism and related Disorders

      –  Those applying with autism or a related disorder will need to show that they are limited in how they communicate or engage in activities outside of their areas of interest.

  • Mental Retardation

      –  Details that are commonly included in these applications include the applicants IQ, level of dependence for personal needs (bathing, eating, getting dressed, using the bathroom), and overall functionality in a hypothetical work environment.

  • Organic Mental Disorders

      –  This category covers mental disorders like impaired memory, personality changes, and mood disturbances. The symptoms must have impacted the person for two years or more despite treatment and hinders their ability to work.

  • Personality Disorders

      –  Inappropriate hostility and suspiciousness, aggressiveness, mood disturbances and similar symptoms can affect a person’s ability to integrate socially and in the workplace. Providing evidence of at least one of these symptoms as a long-term problem will strengthen the applicant’s case.

  • Schizophrenia, Paranoia, and Psychotic Disorders

      –  Two or more years of medical documentation or the presence of a single, severely limiting symptom may be sufficient to qualify a person for benefits. Symptoms which may affect a person’s ability to function in the workplace include hallucinations, delusions, catatonia, or incoherence.

  • Somatoform Disorders

      –  Loss of sight, hearing, speech, movement, limb functionality, or sensation changes can result in drastic adjustments to a person’s lifestyle and work life. If by the age of 30 you have developed a medical history of unexplained physical symptoms that last for several years, you may qualify for benefits.

The SSA’s Stance on Substance Abuse

While alcoholism and substance abuse alone cannot qualify a person for Social Security benefits, the SSA does recognize connections between disability and addiction. Those who are living with a condition that was caused by substance abuse, or is simply unrelated to their use, may still qualify for benefits. However, if the substance use is ongoing and may be worsening the claimant’s symptoms, the SSA is not likely to approve of benefits.

Contact Our Social Security Disability Attorney in Denver, Colorado

Are you planning to apply for disability benefits soon? Thomas A. Feldman is a Social Security disability attorney in Denver, Colorado who has spent years practicing in this area of law. Our law office is able to help clients through each stage of the application process. With our help, you can be sure that your application has been properly prepared with the information necessary for the SSA’s consideration. Contact us today to request a free consultation.