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Ohio Disability Attorney Lends Aid to Claimants Applying for Benefits Based on Mental Illness

Posted on May 25, 2015

Our Social Security disability lawyers in Ohio are accustomed to handling claims based on mental illness for Social Security disability benefits. These illnesses may include depression, anxiety, PTSD, bipolar disorder or many other mental illnesses. Sometimes the mental illness is the only impairment included on the application while in other cases it is included alongside physical impairments.

While these cases can be difficult to win, Social Security disability lawyers in Ohio can help explain the process and criteria involved in applying for such benefits.

Requirements for Being Approved for Disability Benefits

Our Ohio disability attorney will explain that in order to qualify for benefits, you must be able to show that your mental illness is so severe that it prevents you from being able to keep a full-time job. The two programs that may concern you are Supplemental Security Income and Social Security Disability Insurance. The first program is for individuals who have little or no work history and have limited resources and income. The second program is for individuals who have adequate work history with employers who paid taxes into the Social Security Administration. To prove that you qualify for one of these programs, you must meet the following criteria:

You Do Not Perform Substantial Gainful Activity

In order to qualify, you must earn less than the amount of substantial gainful activity level. This is a numeric value that changes each year. In 2016, the limit is $1,130 a month.

You Meet or Equal One of the Listings

The Social Security Administration maintains a Listing of Impairments. One way to qualify for benefits is to meet or equal one of the impairments listed here. The Listing of Impairments is a collection of medical conditions that the Social Security Administration believes are so severe that they should qualify an applicant automatically for benefits. In order to qualify in this manner, your condition must meet the specific criteria of the listing. The listings that have to do with mental illness include:

  • personality disorders such as borderline personality disorder
  • organic disorders, such as Alzheimer’s
  • anxiety-related disorders, such as PTSD or OCD
  • Substance abuse disorders
  • Somatoform disorders
  • Schizophrenia
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Depression
  • Autism
  • Mental retardation

Your Mental Residual Functional Capacity

If you do not meet or equal a listing included the criteria listed beside the relevant condition, the Social Security Administration will have your Mental Residual Functional Capacity evaluated. MRFC describes the most that you can do related to the mental aspects of a job if you had such employment on a full-time basis. If the Social Security determines that you do not have the requisite MRFC to perform work on a regular and sustained basis, your application for benefits will be approved. Otherwise, it will be denied.

Determining Mental Residual Functional Capacity

The Social Security Administration will perform a thorough evaluation into your MRFC. One piece of important information is the MRFC report. A doctor who specializes in mental conditions must prepare the report. Often, this is completed by the patient’s treating doctor or psychiatrist. The report will discuss the limitations that your mental illness imposes on your ability to live a normal life. In particular, the Social Security Administration will consider information regarding:

  • Limitations on your ability to perform activities of daily living, such as going shopping, grooming and paying bills
  • Social limitations such as having problems with authority figures or having difficulty getting along with others
  • Concentration, persistence and pace
  • Episodes in which your disabling condition worsens

Generally, a claimant has to show that he or she has severe functional limitations in at least two of the areas noted above. Other Limitations Representatives from the Social Security Administration help prepare the MRFC report. They will assess the claimant’s ability to:

  • follow simple directions
  • work without additional supervision
  • maintain an acceptable appearance
  • handle stress
  • act in a manner that does not distract others
  • get along with others
  • remember things

Legal Assistance

Additionally, our Social Security disability lawyers in Ohio can explain that representatives from the Social Security Administration will review medical records to help make this determination. This includes records from any hospitalizations, psychiatrists, psychologists therapists or counselors who treated the claimant and emergency room visits.

If you would like more information on qualifying for benefits based on a mental illness, contact an Ohio disability attorney from the John Paul Oreh Law Office by calling (216) 896-0935.

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