Social Security Disability – Severity of Mental Claims

In Social Security Disability and SSI claims involving mental conditions, the claimant must show that through evidence that the conditions are severe and disabling (click here for information on evaluation of mental claims in general). In its regulations, the Social Security Administration describes various types of evidence it considers when determining these factors. The SSA looks for evidence from:

  1. Acceptable medical sources showing a medically determinable impairment, including doctors, psychologists, and hospitals.Whenever possible, and appropriate, medical source evidence should reflect the medical source’s considerations of information from you and other concerned persons who are aware of your activities of daily living; social functioning; concentration, persistence, or pace; or episodes of decompensation. Also, in accordance with standard clinical practice, any medical source assessment of your mental functioning should take into account any sensory, motor, or communication abnormalities, as well as your cultural and ethnic background.
  2. Information from the individual. Individuals with mental impairments can often provide accurate descriptions of their limitations. The presence of a mental impairment does not automatically rule the claimant out as a reliable source of information about her own functional limitations.
  3. Other information. Other professional health care providers (e.g., psychiatric nurse, psychiatric social worker) can normally provide valuable functional information, which should be obtained when available and needed. If necessary, information should also be obtained from nonmedical sources, such as family members and others who know the claimant, to supplement the record of functioning in order to establish the consistency of the medical evidence and longitudinally of impairment severity.

The SSA also looks for:

  • Longitudinal history to determine the waxing and waning of symptoms;
  • Work attempts;
  • Mental Status Examinations;
  • Psychological Testing;
  • Intelligence Testing;
  • Personality Testing; and
  • Neuropsychological Testing.


If you need more information about a Social Security Disability/SSI, personal injury, EEOICPA, long or short-term disability, VA disability, Railroad Retirement Board disability, or a workers compensation matter, please contact the Law Offices of Tony Farmer and John Dreiser for a free case evaluation. We can be reached at (865) 584-1211 or (800) 806-4611 or through our website. Our office handles claims throughout East Tennessee, including Knoxville, Chattanooga, Kingsport, Bristol, Johnson City, Morristown, Maryville, Rogersville, Dandridge, Tazewell, New Tazewell, Jefferson City, Strawberry Plains, Sevierville, Gatlinburg, Loudon, Kingston, Halls, Maynardville, Crossville, Cookeville, Jamestown, Sweetwater, Lenoir City, Athens, Oak Ridge, Clinton, LaFollette, Lake City, Jacksboro, Bean Station, Cosby, Newport, White Pine, Mosheim, Wartburg, Sunbright, Pigeon Forge, Greeneville, Harriman, Dayton, Spring City, and Deer Lodge.




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