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What evidence will support an SSDI claim for mental conditions?

Many people in the Houston area suffer from mental conditions that may support a claim for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits, but they are afraid to make a claim because they do not know what kind of evidence they must provide or, worse, they are afraid that proving the claim will require them to disclose personal information that they consider to be extremely embarrassing. Proving a claim for disability benefits based on a mental condition can be far less traumatic than most people imagine.

The SSDI regulations recognize many mental conditions as adequate grounds for awarding disability benefits. The conditions include neurocognitive disorders, schizophrenia, depression and bipolar disorder, anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorders and many others. Regardless of the specific disorder, the evidentiary requirements are similar. Most importantly, the applicant must provide evidence that he or she suffers from a medically provable disorder. The evidence must be provided by an acceptable medical source and cannot be limited to the claimant's own subjective experiences.

Many mental conditions cannot be diagnosed or verified by an objective medical test, such as an x-ray, CT scan or laboratory analysis. This fact makes proof very difficult and requires a detailed level of evidence, including clinical observations, mental status exams and use of medications. The medical evidence must cover a meaningful length of time, usually a few months at minimum. Testimony from friends and family members will also be considered.

Anyone who is considering seeking SSDI benefits for him or herself or for a loved one may wish to consult an attorney who is experienced in handling SSDI claims. A knowledgeable attorney can provide advice on the types of evidence that will be necessary and assist in the organization and presentation of the evidence. In the unhappy event that the initial application is denied, an experienced lawyer can also provide assistance in appealing the decision.

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