Richard A. Gutstadt, P.C.
Northern California SSI & SSDI Appeals

Oakland Social Security Disability Law Blog

What are the main categories for SSD mental disorders?

Many Social Security Disability (SSD) claims revolve around physical injuries. You may have a brain injury or a spinal cord injury that makes it impossible for you to work, for instance. However, though these cases are common, it's important not to assume that only physical injuries qualify. You may also qualify if you have a mental disorder that you're dealing with, which can certainly keep you out of the workforce just like a physical injury or disability.

To sort these disorders and determine who qualifies, the Social Security Administration (SSA) divides most of the disorders into 11 main categories. They are as follows:

  1. Personality and impulse-control disorders
  2. Neurocognitive disorders
  3. Intellectual disorder
  4. Schizophrenia spectrum and other psychotic disorders
  5. Somatic symptom and related disorders
  6. Eating disorders
  7. Neurodevelopmental disorders
  8. Depressive, bipolar and related disorders
  9. Autism spectrum disorder
  10. Anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorders
  11. Trauma- and stressor-related disorders

Common questions about Supplemental Security Income

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a program that is in place across the country with the intent to help those in financial need. SSI is available for those with very limited assets and resources.

If you are someone you know is struggling to cope financially because of their inability to earn a meaningful income, it is important that the benefits and eligibility requirements of SSI are fully understood. The following are some common questions about SSI benefits.

Don't die waiting on Social Security Disability benefits

If you have a debilitating illness or injury that prevents you from working, then you should submit your application for Social Security Disability (SSD) quickly. No, the program isn't going away or running out of funds. The Social Security Administration (SSA) is notorious for denying applications though. Data released by the federal agency last month shows that many people are dying while waiting to find out if they'll get benefits too.

Most Americans are required to make contributions to the SSA every pay period, so they'll be eligible for benefits later in life. Employees become eligible for SSD based on time working as well. We're supposed to be able to draw from the fund if we ever become too hurt or sick that we can't work. Many people don't realize until they need these benefits just how hard it is to qualify for them though.

Most people get denied for Social Security Disability benefits

You put in your application for Social Security Disability benefits. You know that you can't work. You have a note from your doctor that backs up your position. You feel like it's a guarantee that you will get approved.

Then you get denied. It's stunning. It feels like a massive setback. You're not sure if you have any options left.

Veterans can also qualify for Social Security Disability benefits

If the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has classified you as disabled, then you may wonder if you qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). You might be able to receive both if your disabling condition prevents you from working in any capacity for any employer.

The VA has a different set of criteria that they use to determine if you're disabled from what the Social Security Administration (SSA) uses. The former simply looks at your military records. They'll review them to see what diseases or injuries you acquired while on active duty. They'll then assign you a disability rating from 0 to 100 depending on how disabled they perceive you to be. The benefits that you receive from the VA depends on your percent score.

Your right to appear at a Social Security Disability hearing

You have a legal right to appear in person to present your case for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits directly to the administrative law judge (ALJ). Most claimants wisely choose to get an attorney to represent them if they've reached this level of appeal -- so, is it better to just let your attorney handle the whole thing and skip the hearing? After all, there's plenty of evidence in your file that supports your claim.

Definitely not. The hearing in front of the ALJ is probably the most important event in your case -- and your presence could be the one major deciding factor that leads to approval.

Tests for Social Security Disability should be job-related

A report titled "Functional Assessment for Adults with Disabilities" was published by researchers at The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine on May 9. Its authors concluded that too little focus is placed on assessing an applicant's work-related functional abilities when making Social Security disability determinations.

The report's authors found that doctors hired to evaluate Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) recipients perform far too little mental and physical health testing. They note that it's important for them to take a more holistic approach when assessing how well they can function on the job.

Leading causes of traumatic brain injuries

When looking at disabilities in the United States, you'll find that brain injuries are one of the top reasons people cite. This is because brain injuries do not always heal, and the ramifications often last for life. While physical injuries may heal, people could still deal with mental and cogitative ramifications from the brain injury itself.

With these types of drastic changes to a person's life, it is wise to know what risk factors to watch out for, and that starts with understanding how serious brain injuries happen. The leading causes are:

  • Falls
  • Being struck by an object
  • Being struck against an object
  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Intentional self-harm and suicide attempts

Are you eligible to receive Social Security Disability benefits?

There may come a point when you find that you're unable to work as the result of a disability. This should lead you to consider every available option for receiving compensation, including disability benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA).

The SSA takes many factors into consideration when determining if you're eligible for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • The definition of disability: The SSA defines a disability as an illness or injury that has lasted 12 months or longer, is expected by reasonable medical standards to last for 12 or more months or is expected to result in death.
  • Job responsibilities: The Social Security Administration (SSA) will determine if you are unable to work your current position, as well as any other type of employment.
  • Severity of the impairment: The medical impairment, physical or mental, should be backed up by medical evidence. The SSA will determine if the impairment prohibits you from performing work activities, such as communicating with others, sitting, standing and using your best judgment.

Could your social media posts cost you a disability approval?

There are people who are thoroughly convinced that thousands of people defraud the Social Security Administration (SSA) every year by claiming benefits they aren't entitled to receive.

This is despite the fact that it has become more difficult than ever to qualify for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits. As of 2016, the last year for which data is available, only 22.8 percent of disability applicants could expect their claims to be approved without filing an appeal. Only a paltry 7.1 percent were approved on appeal at the reconsideration level.