When a mental disability qualifies for Social Security Disability

In our previous post we discussed mental conditions that may qualify Portland residents for Social Security Disability benefits. Portland residents applying for Social Security Disability benefits as the result of mental disorders must be able to demonstrate limitations to gainful activity in order to have a successful application. The Social Security Administration will assess evidence presented as to the severity of the limitations and how they affect normal activities.

The Social Security Administration typically questions whether a disability is “marked.” A disability with a “marked” level of severity means more than moderate, but less than extreme. A marked limitation may be determined when one or more functions are impaired to the degree that they interfere with the person’s ability to function normally and without assistance.

The Social Security Administration looks at several areas of an applicant’s life to determine whether a disability has a marked impact. One of these areas is the applicant’s activities of daily living. These activities include cleaning, shopping, cooking, using public transportation, paying bills, caring for a home, grooming and personal hygiene, and the ability to use the telephone and the post office. An applicant is assessed based on their ability to perform these daily activities routinely, consistently and in a useful fashion without undue interruptions or distractions and without direct supervision.

Another area considered to determine whether a disability is marked is a person’s social functioning. Social functioning includes the ability to interact with others such as family members, friends, neighbors, and employers. Impaired social function can be shown by a history of fighting, evictions, employment terminations, fear of strangers, an absence of interpersonal relationships and being isolated from social situations.

In our next post we will discuss other important areas considered in the disability determination process for mental conditions.

Source: Social Security Administration, “Disability Evaluation Under Social Security Mental Disorders – Adult.”

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