Winning a disability claim due to a Mental Illness takes skills. A lot of skills. Not just from the attorney representing you but also the medical professionals in charge of your treatment.
A doctor learns what it takes to treat patients and tries his best to control a person’s mental illness. At times, the treatment doesn’t work. Patients give up.
Having said all that, here is what you will need to win a Social Security claim due to a mental illness: The key is treatment!
What kind of treatment is required to win a disability claim due to a mental illness?
While the various mental impairments require different types of treatments, let’s focus on the most common mental illnesses out there because they all have a common type of treatment. I’m talking about Depression, Anxiety, PTSD, Bipolar Disorders (still within the depression realm).
The most common treatment for these medical conditions is medication and counseling. Sounds like a no-brainer (pun intended). But you would be surprised by how many people don’t follow their treatment.
When potential clients call me inquiring about applying for disability due to a mental illness I see that most have something in common: They tell me that their primary physician is prescribing their depression/anxiety medication and that’s it! Or that they tried counseling and because it didn’t work they decided to stop going.
If you could read my mind at that time you would hear “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! Just no!”. This claimant just did EXACTLY what he/she shouldn’t be doing: that is, stop going for treatment.
This saddens me to my core.
First, because I continuously see that doctors are not helping their patients. Either out of ego (like deciding that pills alone will take care of the problem). Or plain lack of care for patients (by not referring them to specialists nor insisting that their patient goes to one). Second, because that person just shot herself in the foot during the most crucial point of her life.
So why do you need treatment that you already know it didn’t work?
Claimants (or potential claimants) don’t realize that this is the essence of filing a disability claim due to a mental illness. Or any illness for that matter. That is, you are filing for disability because the medical treatment failed!
Let’s think this through: You want to file for disability because despite all efforts you are not cured of the impairment that prevents you from doing your job, right? And you gave up going to the doctor because the treatment wasn’t working. Now you want to file for disability despite not going to the right doctors.
That’s the biggest mistake claimants make. You DO NOT want to stop that treatment. Even if it didn’t work.
Especially if it didn’t work!
The purpose of continuing the treatment in this particular case is not to cure you since we already know it didn’t.
The purpose of continuing the treatment is to provide proof that the treatment is not working.
That’s why YOU WANT to continue the treatment. To show that the treatment is NOT working. You can’t prove that the treatment didn’t work without some kind of evidence. And your words are not the “best” evidence for that.
Sure, your testimony is important. But there are a lot of claimants out there lying about their medical conditions and because of that the “decision makers” became more picky about what they need to see to convince them you are disabled.
Lack of medical records is the biggest reason claims get denied. Because for the “decision maker”, not going to the doctor and getting treatment means that your impairment “is not that bad”. That is, in their minds if you were really sick you would be trying to get help. You would not be giving up treatment no matter how useless it has been so far.
In my post about the importance of medical records, I explain that in detail. But if you have seen enough “lawyer shows” you know that even in fiction it’s all about the “evidence“. Lack of evidence means that you do not have what it takes to support your claim.
Even negative evidence is helpful
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In the case of mental illness, YOU WANT to have a psychologist and not a primary doctor prescribing your medication. And YOU WANT to see a counselor frequently. It can be bi-weekly sessions, twice a month, whatever your psychiatrist thinks it’s best for your situation but go! The counselor may not be there to cure you. But he will write notes describing how you are feeling that day; if you are not focused, how you are dressed, how you are behaving that day.
If you continue going to these treatments you will see that in 6 months or a year, your medical notes will show an overall “big picture”
That big picture will reveal the following: severity of your mental impairment if you can pay attention or not during the counseling session (this can translate into an inability to pay attention at work). If you appear angry at the consult, then that can demonstrate you would not do well with co-workers. If you have hospitalizations here and there, it can demonstrate that you may be a danger to self and others.
All of these examples show that continuous treatment allows the “decision maker” to “see” how bad things really are. He will rely on professionals who are trained to make these assessments over months and possibly years. The decision maker will know that if you went to all these treatment sessions and you still have symptoms, you cannot work.
With this type of evidence, it is soooo much easier to win your disability claim due to a mental illness. It’s not a guarantee but it’s a great step towards success!
- Ask your primary physician to refer you to a psychiatrist (a specialist) to manage your prescriptions;
- DO NOT stop going to counseling even if it didn’t work in the past. If you stopped, start going ASAP
- Follow your treatment and gather copies of your medical records so you can see what the doctor is writing about you and your condition.
- And finally, Here’s a gift from me to you:
To help you with your medical records gathering I have prepared a form you can download and use to monitor your medical treatment and records. Simply sign up below and you will not only receive this form but you will be signing up to receive updates, latest posts and any other news about filing for disability. How cool is that?
Courses by Realtactics4disabilityClaims
You just learned some tips and tricks on how to win a disability claims due to a mental illness, but do you know how to read your medical records to see if they are actually supporting your disability?
Learn how to read and how to improve your medical records like a pro with my new course “Medical Records Reading 101 for Disability Claimants”. Stop wasting time “hoping for the best” with your current records. The course also includes a Checklist and Worksheet so you can keep track of your treatment to make sure you don’t have any “gaps” that could jeopardize your claim. Take a quick “free sneak peek” before you purchase the course and learn the ins and outs of improving your medical records with actionable instructions from Yours Truly (Yes, Me!).
If you are looking to file for disability and don’t know where to start, I created a course called the “5 Day File your Disability Claim” Guide where I teach you every step you should take to file your claim.
Simply click on the image below and it will take you directly to the course page. Take a “free sneak peek” of the first lesson to see if this course is for you.
You know the blog, now you can take one step further and learn the process of preparing and filing your claim.
Also, If you were denied disability and you are looking to appeal with “better” evidence, I created a course about using a Residual Functional Capacity Report to add to your medical records. This is a form you can take to your doctor to complete in support of your claim. The course includes forms for physical or mental impairments and instructions on how to ask your doctor to complete them. You can take a “free sneak peek” to see if this course is for you. Click on the image below and you will be directed to the course page:
Oh! Don’t forget to follow me on my Facebook page and Pinterest for news and updates. You can also sign up for email updates below and you will receive my nifty Medical Records tracking form as a thank you.
Until next time