A severe mental disorder can affect an individual's ability to work in many ways. However, having a definitive diagnosis of a mental disorder is not automatically grounds for receiving Social Security Disability benefits. As with all claims for disability benefits through the Social Security Administration (SSA), the burden of proving disability is on the applicant, and proof requires strong objective and/or clinical medical evidence.
As you may have heard or read in the news lately, getting Social Security Disability benefits can be a long and arduous process - and the burden of proof is on the applicant. To evaluate and make a determination of disability, the Social Security Administration uses a "5 Step Sequential Evaluation Process". Although the 5 step process may look simple at first glance, there can be enormous complexity at each step of the evaluation.
The Social Security Administration's Five-Step Sequential Evaluation Process
One of the most rewarding parts of my practice is working with United States military veterans. Veterans make incredible sacrifices during their service years, including not only being apart from their families, but also facing the constant threat of serious physical and psychological injury. While physical injuries are often readily apparent and undeniable, the serious psychological effects of military service on veterans are not always as easy to identify.
NOSSCR Conference Review (2012)