How Including Mental Health Can Help Your Disability Application (Sometimes!)


Robin Mead

If you have Lyme, ME, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, POTs, Fibromyalgia, or mold and chemical sensitivities, you may be asking yourself:

💕 Should I include depression or anxiety in my Social Security disability application?

💕 Should I start seeing a mental health doctor?

💕 Why am I being sent by Social Security to a mental health exam?

Many people with these conditions hate being labeled as having a psychiatric illness and try hard to prove that their condition is physical not mental. Doing this may make you feel better emotionally, but it may also cause you to lose your disability case.

Most people are approved for a combination of conditions and for many people mental health can be very important in their case. Sometimes this is the difference between getting approved and getting denied.

How Important is a Mental Health Diagnosis?

We asked readers with Lyme disease what they got approved for. You may find the answers interesting: What Diagnosis Helped You Get Approved For Disability?

How Do I Document Mental Health?

While including mental health in any way may be helpful, for Social Security disability the strongest mental health documentation comes from having regular visits with a psychiatrist or psychologist and following their treatment recommendations. Learn more here: How to Document Mental Health for a Disability Application

How Do I Document Problems with Memory, Focus or Concentration?

Many people find it helpful to have neuropsychological testing. Our readers reported that this was the number one most helpful test for their disability application.

Social Security Mental Exams

If mental health is mentioned anywhere in any way in your records, you are very likely to be sent for an exam with a Social Security doctor. How To Hang with the Social Security Doctor

Warning: Private Disability & Long Term Disability

If you are applying for LTD (disability through your employer), please read your policy. Most policies put a cap on mental health claims, so they are automatically terminated after two years.

Many people get into epic battles with their insurance companies, trying to prove their condition is physical, while the insurance company insists that it is mental. Learn more about How to Protect Yourself If You Are Applying for Disability through Your Employer

Strange but true: Some people wind up getting approved for mental health by Social Security and for physical health by LTD. That’s what happened to Dahlia: Dahlia’s Story.

You may also find it helpful to look at this page on: How Neuropsychological Testing Can Help (or hurt) Your LTD

Trying to prove your condition is only physical can be very expensive and very time consuming and very exhausting. It is not necessary or helpful to do for Social Security.

The Future

If mental health is part of your approval, Social Security will expect you to stay in some kind of treatment for your mental health condition. This is a bit ironic, because sometimes people feel less depressed and anxious after they get approved.

Updated April 2018. Please comment below with stories, ideas, questions or suggestions. Please let us know if any links on this page stop working. If you found this page helpful, please share it with others by pressing one of these magic little buttons: 

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