SSD and requirements for limitations in mental functioning

One of the biggest factors for Missouri residents with mental illness getting Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits for mental conditions is how their mental disorder is evaluated. The evaluation assesses the person’s ability to function in various circumstances, including daily activities and at work settings. For those whose issues prevent them from being able to function sufficiently to work, this can be an important factor in meeting the requirements to be approved for SSD benefits.

The Social Security Administration will use medical and non-medical evidence to come to an evaluation. It will look at the signs and symptoms, the limitations in the person’s daily activities and help that is needed to function. Descriptive terms, such as “mild” or “moderate,” will be used. With daily activities, the four basic mental functions are part of the process. They are understanding, remembering and applying information; interacting with others; concentrating, persisting or maintaining pace; and adapting or managing oneself. If the person struggles in one or more of these areas, this can be important when the decision is made as to whether the mental condition is of sufficient severity to warrant benefits.

In work settings, a person’s difficulty in functioning at home can also affect them at work. However, there might be some jobs at which the person’s mental illness is mitigated because they are able to handle the requirements of the job without facing the same issues they have at home when handling several different tasks. The overall effect of the limitations refers to how much the mental problems interfere with the area of mental functioning. There is no single factor that determines whether a mental disorder will be deemed severe enough to get benefits.

Some people can benefit from a supportive structure, supervision and other assistance when at home or at work. This will be part of the assessment to see if the person’s limitations will make SSD benefits necessary. Since most jobs require portions of the four basic mental functions, a person who has a mental disorder has a good chance of meeting the qualifying mental conditions to get Social Security disability benefits. A lawyer is crucial when pursuing benefits as these issues can be explained and assistance can be provided throughout the process.

Source:, “12.00 Mental Disorders — Adult — 3. Rating the limitations of your areas of mental functioning.,” accessed on Jan. 23, 2018

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