For a person diagnosed with a mental disorder, managing personal and workplace activities is often difficult. Yet, the Social Security Administration can help these patients when symptoms exacerbate and limit the patient's ability to work. Here is a brief introduction to Social Security Disability Insurance for people suffering from mental illnesses, and how a patient can increase the likelihood that a claim will be approved.
Social Security Disability Benefits and Mental Illnesses
Social Security Disability Insurance, or SSDI, is available for people who are diagnosed with a disability and unable to work as a result of the disability. The Social Security Administration reviews a patient's disability claim and, if it verifies that the patient qualifies, will pay disability benefits on a monthly basis.
SSDI and Mental Illnesses
SSDI benefits are not limited to people with physical disorders; a patient diagnosed with a disabling mental illness can apply for SSDI benefits. Examples of disabling mental illnesses are schizophrenia, depression, intellectual disability, autism, anxiety, and bipolar disorder.
Like physical disabilities, mental disabilities must be well-documented and long-lasting, and also interfere with the patient's day-to-day activities, like work.
How Decompensation Affects SSDI Benefits
For a patient diagnosed with a mental illness, there are often times when the symptoms of the illness radically increase, even if the patient is undergoing treatment. In psychiatry, this is referred to as "decompensation"; this period is identified by an increase of symptoms and decrease in the patient's ability to function.
During times of decompensation, a patient is often eligible for increased SSDI benefits. This is because decompensation episodes severely interfere with the patient's ability to work.
How Patients Should Report Decompensation Episodes to the Social Security Administration
When patients suffer from a decompensation episode, disability benefits are probably far from the patients' minds. Yet, most patients qualify for increased SSDI benefits during these decompensation periods.
One of the most important thing that a patient must do when experiencing a decompensation episode is to get documentation. Many patients diagnosed with mental illnesses downplay their decompensation episodes, or simply fail to discuss these periods with their therapists. Yet, the patient should alert the therapist to the increase in symptoms not only so the therapist can help the patient manage the disorder, but also so that the patient's SSDI claim has a better chance of approval.
According to the Social Security Administration, these episodes of decompensation must occur at least three times a year, with each episode lasting about two weeks. If the frequency or the duration of a patient's decompensation episodes deviate from this, the patient can still qualify for SSDI benefits if documentation supports the patient's claim that the episodes limit the patient's ability to function. Contact a SSDI lawyer like Scott McNutt Attorney At Law for more information.
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