If you have a mental or psychological disorder that keeps you from working, you may qualify for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits.
The medical records associated with your impairment will be important additions to the claim you submit to the Social Security Administration (SSA).
Qualifying for benefits
There are many mental or psychological disabilities the SSA will consider with regard to approving benefits. These include depression, panic disorder, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), personality disorder, autistic disorder, traumatic brain injury (TBI) and mental retardation, among others.
Collecting medical records
With your permission, the SSA can gather medical records and other documents related to your mental or psychological disorder on your behalf. However, it will likely take months for hospitals, clinics and healthcare professionals to respond. It is much faster for you to collect and submit these documents yourself. There should be no charge if you can pick them up in person. Otherwise, you may have to pay a small fee for a professional to copy notes or records and mail them to you.
Understanding the RFC form
If you apply for SSD benefits due to mental impairment, your psychiatrist, psychologist, therapist or counselor must sign a Mental Residual Functional Capacity or RFC form, which may include:
– psychiatric evaluations or neuropsychological tests
– letters from caregivers, disability programs or nonprofits that would benefit your SSD claim
– files from a vocational rehabilitation program
– caseworker or social worker assessments related to your ability to function
Gathering documents and completing the paperwork the SSA requires may seem confusing. However, with the appropriate legal guidance, you can avoid making any missteps that would delay a review of your claim for SSD benefits.