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What makes you ‘disabled’ for a mental condition?

Previously on this blog, we have discussed the concept of “residual functional capacity,” and how that may affect your application for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits. This week, we are going to take a very brief look at how functional capacity might apply to an application submitted by someone with a psychological disability.

“Residual” is a term that just means “left over.” To the Social Security Administration (SSA), it simply means that they are looking at your functional capacity after taking your disability into account. That is, how well you can “get along” while dealing with whatever disabling condition you have. When talking about mental disabilities, the question is, what is SSA going to look at?

SSA has a “blue book” that lists psychological disorders such as schizophrenia, anxiety, and some drug addictions as disabling. They are also going to take into account your capacity to function with the disorder. What this means is that they will look at evidence with regard to how you can deal with the chores of daily life. Can you keep track of your bills, go shopping, keep yourself and your environment relatively clean, cook, and so on? Basically, SSA will look to see how large an effect your psychological disability has on the essential activities of daily life. They may also take into account any effect it may have on your ability to function socially. Do you interact appropriately with other people, such as your family and friends, those you have to encounter at the store or on the bus? Because the ability to work depends upon at least some level of social functioning, this can also be an important part of your disability claim.

This information may seem overwhelming to you at this point; don’t worry. If you feel you need help, the SSA will aid you in filling out your application. If you think you need more personalized help, you may want to contact an Ohio disability attorney.

Source: socialsecurity.gov “§ 416.945. Your residual functional capacity,” accessed Dec. 2, 2014

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