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Requirements for SSD benefits for a mental condition

Suffering a mental condition is a difficult and often challenging situation for New Jersey residents. This not only makes it problematic when holding down a job, but also makes it nearly impossible to enjoy life as they once did. Whether an individual has been suffering from a mental condition since childhood or were recently diagnosed as an adult, it is important to understand that there are government programs to help. Social Security Disability or SSD benefits are a real and reliable source that could help those living with a debilitating mental illness.

Although SSD benefits are helpful, an individual seeking these benefits must prove that they qualify for them. In order for the Social Security Administration (SSA) to make a proper assessment, there are certain evidentiary requirements for applicants. This typically means medical evidence. This includes any documentation that helps show that he or she has an impairment, as well as the severity of the impairment.

Acceptable medical sources are licensed physicians, licensed or certified psychologists, licenses optometrists, licensed podiatrists and qualified speech-language pathologists. Medical documents coming from these sources must prove the existence of a claimant's impairment, showing that they meet the SSA's definitions. Medical evidence can also come from treating sources and health facilities. These sources can provide a detailed longitudinal picture of an applicant's impairment.

Beyond medical evidence, which includes medical history, clinical findings, laboratory findings, diagnosis and treatment prescribed, applicants can include non-medical evidence to prove that he or she has a mental impairment. This includes sources, such as public or private agencies, schools, parents and caregivers, workers and employers and other practitioners, including naturopaths, chiropractors and audiologists.

Proving that one is suffering from a mental condition can be a difficult and lengthy process. However, it is doable. With the assistance of an experienced attorney, an applicant can obtain all necessary evidence, helping them with their initial claim or an appeal if they are denied benefits.

Source: SSA.gov, "Disability Evaluation Under Social Security," accessed on March 19, 2017

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