Home » My Disability Tactics » How to Win a Social Security Claim Due to a Mental Illness

How to Win a Social Security Claim Due to a Mental Illness

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.

To Win a Disability For a Mental Illness

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.

Makes sense?

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

This post contains affiliate links. I may make a commission from any purchases you make through these links without any extra cost to you. This is how I make sure this blog is available to help you in your claim journey

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!

To Recap:

  1. Ask your primary physician to refer you to a psychiatrist (a specialist) to manage your prescriptions;
  2. DO NOT stop going to counseling even if it didn’t work in the past. If you stopped, start going ASAP
  3. Follow your treatment and gather copies of your medical records so you can see what the doctor is writing about you and your condition.
  4. 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?

Books By Realtactics4DisabilityClaims

Learn the ins and outs of filing your Social Security Disability Claim with Real Tactics For Filing Your Disability Claim. This book was written by Yours Truly and it was created for those claimants who wish to learn more about the process in language they can understand.

You will also learn how to read your medical records so you can see if they are supporting your claim, and learn how to organize your file so you never lose track of your treatment.

Finally, I offer an exclusive Facebook group just for the book where you can ask questions about the concepts you learned in the book.

My book is available on Amazon Kindle and paperback. Simply click on the image below and grab your copy today!


10 best book about filing for social security disability

Buy Your Copy Here button real tactics for filing your disability claim bok (2)

Courses by Realtactics4disabilityClaims


It is finally here!!!


The Ultimate Adult Function Report Tutorial

After months and months of careful preparation, I have created The Ultimate Adult Function Report Tutorial that will teach you step-by-step how to complete one of the trickiest forms Social Security requires you to complete.

You will learn why this form is so tricky and how to phrase your answers in a way that will make it very clear to Social Security how difficult things are for you.

This is the same method I use with my own clients to help them complete the form properly. The wrong answers CAN and WILL be used against you if Social Security wants to deny your claim.

Take a quick “free sneak peek” before you purchase the course and learn why it is so important to complete this form the correct way!

Simply click on the image below to sign up for the course. It is priced very reasonably so you can learn to complete this form without breaking the bank!


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!).

Copy of Medical Records Reading for Disability Claimants Banner Course Card for site


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.


5 Day File Your Disability Claim Course


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:

course card RFC Intro Doc buy button (1)



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

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  1. Jazz says:

    The problem I have is my therapist was NOT putting in the computer when I saw her and the notes that she took. If she had done that, this could have helped my case. I even told lawyers and they agreed. She left and they gave me a sorry excuse for a ‘doctor’ who invalidates me, think my problems don’t matter etc. That did literally nothing but made me worse. The place I was going has no more doctors and I have state insurance which hardly anyone takes and of course being unemployed due to my mental illness I have no money to see my old doctor who stopped taking my insurance.

    • Tatiana says:

      That is, unfortunately, more common than we would like. As to entities, some charities run mental health programs either for free or extremely low cost. Check if there are programs like that in your state. I hope you find treatment soon. 🙂

  2. Christy says:

    I cannot begin to tell you how much you have helped me. Anytime I’ve posted a question I’m always amazed at how quickly you reply. I’ve learned so much from your book and your website and from you personally. Not many lawyers would take the time to do what you are doing and I appreciate it so much. Thank you.

    • Tatiana says:

      I am so glad to be helping claimants find their way around this convoluted and frustrating system. I hope the book and what you have learned helps you win your claim. Keep us posted!

  3. Fiona says:

    Thank you for writing this helpful post. There is so much information here including the free download, great work and I’m sure it will help lots of people.

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