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How are limitations evaluated with SSD due to mental illness?

New Jersey residents who suffer from mental illness are able to receive Social Security disability benefits for mental conditions. The key with an approval from the Social Security Administration often hinges on how the limitations the person has because of the mental illness hinders their mental functioning. There are four categories of mental functioning: the ability to understand, remember or apply information; the ability to interact with others; the ability to concentrate, persist or maintain pace; and the ability to adapt and manage oneself.

Regarding information, the mental functioning involves the person's ability to recall, use and learn information in the interest of performing work activities. Examples include the ability to follow instructions, adhere to procedures, understand and learn terms, ask and answer questions, recognize and correct mistakes, sequence activities with multiple steps, and use reason and judgment to make decisions related to work. With interactions, it revolves around relating to and working with supervisors, coworkers and the public; showing cooperation; requesting help if necessary; dealing with conflict; stating a point of view; maintaining conversation; and grasping social cues.

Concentration, persistence and pace revolves around focusing attention on activities related to work and maintaining the ability to remain on the topic at a sustainable rate. Examples are moving forward with and performing the task that is understand with the person able to do it; working at a consistent and appropriate rate; completing work assignments in a timely fashion; avoiding or ignoring distractions; keeping to an ordinary routine; and attending work regularly. To adapt and manage oneself, it has to do with regulating emotions, controlling behavior, and keeping well-being at work. This includes responding to requests, being able to adapt to changes, working independently, and keeping one's hygiene up to acceptable standards.

For those who are suffering from mental illness and considering filing for disability benefits, the above factors need to be understood when the SSA is deciding whether or not the problems meet the criteria for qualifying mental conditions. This can be the key when seeking benefits for mental illness disability. With these matters, a legal professional can be of assistance.

Source:, "11.00 Neurological Disorders -- G. How do we evaluate limitations in physical and mental functioning under these listings? -- b. Mental functioning," accessed on Dec. 13, 2016

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