Social Security Disability and Psychological and Mental Conditions

By Douglas I. Friedman of Friedman Law Firm, P.C.

How do you convince someone that your anxiety, depression, bipolar disease, or other mental condition keeps you from working? These are not conditions that show up in tests such as an MRI or in your blood. Instead, the diagnosis is made by a psychiatrist or psychologist based in large part on your description of symptoms. That means when you apply for Social Security disability, someone there has to decide if they believe you. This is very hard to do at the initial application level when the decisions are all based on paper.

When you file an initial application, the person that you speak with at the Social Security office is not the person who decides if your are disabled. Someone else who has more expertise in your disease makes that decision. However, claims involving psychological and mental conditions may not be clear cut based on the medical records alone.

Since mental conditions are often not a clear decision, a hearing is often necessary. This allows a Social Security Disability Judge, called an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ), to speak directly to you and to see you. The ALJ is the first person you may get to speak with who has the authority to decide your case.

However, the difficulty in proving disability due to certain mental conditions also may mean that your social security disability case may take longer to resolve than that for a broken back or other physical injury that can clearly been seen on medical tests.

For more information on Social Security Disability in Alabama, click here.