Abromson & Carey, Attorneys at Law
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Disability benefits claim for mental illness can be hard to prove

Newark residents may be eligible for Social Security disability benefits or Social Security Supplemental Income if injuries or illnesses prevent them from holding down employment. The process of obtaining these benefits is arduous, though, and in many instances applicants for such benefits must provide extensive evidence regarding their ailments before they may be approved. When individuals base their claims for benefits or supplemental income on mental conditions or illnesses the challenges of providing proof can be even more significant.

The Social Security Administration recognizes a host of mental illnesses that it categorizes as inherently disabling and the included list covers autism, anxiety, depression, and several other mental conditions. Individuals applying for benefits sometimes struggle to accurately present the truths of their illnesses in their applications because the illnesses on which their requests are based prevent them from having the capacity to do so. Others fail to convince benefits reviewers of the severity of their conditions because the symptoms of their mental health challenges are inconsistent.

In some cases a benefits reviewer will have an applicant assessed by a medical professional to gain more information about the applicant's condition. The medical professional will generate a report and that information may be used to either approve or deny the request for benefits or supplemental income.

As an applicant's claim is assessed the severity of their mental impairment can be categorized into one of four levels of residual functional capacity (RFC). While the levels "not significantly limited" and "moderately limited" suggest that the applicant may be able to hold down some type of work, the level "markedly limited" suggests that the applicant cannot work and therefore may be granted benefits. The fourth category, "insufficient evidence" occurs when a review cannot make a decision based on the data and evidence provided.

Therefore, even if an applicant is unable to work they may be denied Social Security benefits because they are unable to accurately portray the severity of their mental illness. Because of these and many other application-related challenges, some individuals who wish to pursue Social Security benefits choose to use the services of attorneys who work in the Social Security benefits field.

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