Understanding the Medical Evidence Required to Obtain Disability Benefits for Mental Illness

While not always immediately obvious from the exterior, mental illness can wreak havoc on your well-being. It may become difficult or even impossible to carry out basic activities of daily living. This may include the ability to work in order to support yourself and your family. Fortunately for sufferers, if you can show that your mental health condition is so severe that you are not able to work, you may qualify for Social Security disability benefits.

How to Prove the Extent of Your Illness

In order to be eligible for disability benefits, you must present the following types of medical evidence:

  1. The results of all psychiatric, neurological, or psychological tests.
  2. Copies of treatment notes from your various health care providers. This may include everyone from your primary care physician at the Methodist Family Health Center in Cedar Hill to a mental health specialist located in Duncanville. Ideally, these notes should include important information such as the diagnosis, symptoms, treatment plan, prognosis, and history of the condition and treatment, including how well you responded.  It is important to note, however, that the Social Security Administration will not review psychotherapy notes taken by a counselor or therapist during a therapy session.
  3. Copies of medical provider notes that show how your mental illness is making it impossible for you to work.
  4. A residual functional capacity assessment form completed by your physician.

While this may seem like a lot of information to gather, you do not have to navigate the disability benefits process alone. We are here to help, at any time that is convenient for you. We encourage you to request our free book, Social Security Disability: What You Need to Know, and to reach out in the manner that best suits your needs—by email, phone, or online chat!

Carl M. Weisbrod
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Managing Partner of Morgan & Weisbrod, Board Certified in Social Security Disability Law