St. Louis residents who are suffering from mental illness and are considering seeking Social Security disability benefits must be aware of the manner in which these issues are defined and diagnosed. The severity of the issue is a key factor in awarding such benefits. With regards to the severity of a mental illness, there are four factors that a person must have issues with: activities of daily living; social functioning; concentration, persistence or pace; and episodes of decompensation.
For activities of daily living, the basic functions of cooking, cleaning, shopping, taking public transportation, maintaining a home, using a telephone, grooming oneself and other similar aspects are included. The Social Security Administration will contextualize these issues based on the individual’s situation. The ability to behave independently, appropriately, effectively and in a sustainable manner will all be considered as to whether they can be done without direction or supervision. With social functioning, the individual’s ability to interact with others in an independent, appropriate, effective and sustained manner are factored in with the ability to get along with others such as neighbors, people in stores and bus drivers, to name a few. Having altercations, getting fired from jobs, evicted from apartments and avoiding interpersonal relationships are examples of problems within this facet of life.
Concentration, persistence and pace is sustaining attention and focus for a sufficient period to complete tasks in work circumstances. Limitations with this can be seen while the person is at work, but it can also be seen in other situations. Clinical exams and psychological tests can show this as well. Decompensation is an exacerbation or brief increase in the symptoms and signals that come along with the loss of adaptive functioning and being unable to complete basic tasks of daily living. Medical records that show a change in medication dosage or documentation in a structured environment like a hospital or directing household. Repeated episodes are in reference to a period of time. Three episodes in one year or an average of one every four months and lasting for a minimum of two weeks falls into “repeated.”
People who are suffering from mental illness and are not able to perform the basic tasks of daily life may seek disability benefits. The above-listed issues are important factors. A legal professional experienced in Social Security disability claims will understand qualifying mental conditions and be able to assist with a case.
Source: ssa.gov, “12.00 Mental Disorders — 1. Activities of daily living, 2. Social functioning, 3. Concentration, 4. Episodes of decompensation,” accessed on Dec. 5, 2016