Evaluating Severity of Mental Impairments in Social Security Disability Claims

By Disability Group


At each level of review of your claim the Social Security Administration(SSA) follows a specific technique to evaluate your mental impairment.  They evaluate how your impairment prevents you from working.

 SSA first looks at your symptoms and medical records to find a mental impairment. If they find one, they will specify the symptoms and/or records that prove it.

 SSA then decides how much your impairment limits you.  They use ALL relevant evidence to get an overall picture of how limited you are.  SSA wants to know whether you can function by yourself.  Do you need supervision or assistance?  They also want to know if you can function normally.  Does your condition limit where you can or cannot go?  Lastly SSA wants to know if you can function on a sustained basis.  Does your condition prevent you from standing or sitting for long periods of time, or from being out for long periods of time?

 SSA will look into a number of areas including your daily activities, how well you interact socially, how consistent your impairment is, and how often your condition goes from bad to worse.  Each area is rated on a four or five point scale, and the last point on the scale means you cannot work.

 If SSA finds your limitation is not severe based on their rating you must provide evidence that shows you cannot work.

 If your mental impairment is severe, then SSA will go through a process to find if it is a listed mental disorder to be awarded.

 If they find your impairment does not meet a listing, SSA determines how much work you can still do.