Mental Health and Social Security Disability

Modern medicine has made great strides in the treatment of mental illness. Thanks to advancements made in pharmaceuticals, people with severe mental conditions are now able to function in society. While there has yet to be a cure for conditions like bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, there are at least ways to keep the symptoms at bay so those who suffer from these conditions are able to live relatively normal lives.

The treatment that is available now seems absolutely miraculous when compared to the ways in which mental illness was treated sixty years ago. From 1936 to about the mid-1950’s, a doctor named Walter Freeman was being lauded as “the Man who Cured Madness” due to his use of a procedure called a trans-orbital lobotomy. This incredibly barbaric and dangerous process involved using ice picks inserted under the eye to sever connections between the brain and pre-frontal cortex. While it could be said that the more difficult symptoms of mental illness in these patients had been removed, no one could say that the victims of this process were leading normal lives.

Fortunately for us, both perspectives and standards of medicine have changed. Walter Freeman is now a notorious rather than lauded name in medicine, and treatments that are based on pharmaceuticals have thankfully taken the place of invasive surgical procedures. But despite these new treatment options, there are still mental illnesses that are so severe that even the most advanced of pharmaceuticals are unable to allow a patient to be a functional member of society.

Mental illness quite often happens in degrees. People with mild cases of bipolar disorder or schizophrenia are often completely indistinguishable from people without mental illness if they are being treated properly. But with severe cases, people with mental illness essentially have two choices: they can go without treatment and live completely unmanageable lives, or they can take regular medication in doses that are incredibly high, which places other restrictions on their ability to live normal lives. To be sure, a life spent medicated is usually preferable to a life spent with a severe mental illness, but life under heavy medication has its share of disadvantages. One of them is being unable to hold regular employment.

Our government is mindful of the circumstances of people who live under these conditions, and have put Social Security Disability Insurance in place in order to help them have some form of income. But it is important to realize that the process of applying for SSDI benefits on the grounds of mental illness can be a very difficult process. Aside from the added difficulties of trying to cope with the mental illness itself, the standards for proving that you do in fact have a mental illness are quite stringent.

One of the main problems with mental illnesses is that they are not often immediately apparent. If you lose a leg in a car accident, anyone can see that you are missing it. If you have a severe case of schizophrenia, often the only way someone would notice is if they observed your behavior over a period of time.  Another problem with the mentally ill is that quite often they are completely unaware of their condition. It is not uncommon to find someone with mental illness who believes that they are the only sane one and everyone else around them is sick. These are only two of the obstacles that keep people who need the benefits from actually getting them.

A diagnosis of schizophrenia or bipolar disorder or any other diagnosis is simply not enough to qualify for Social Security Disability benefits. You have to also prove that this condition is keeping you from working.

The Social Security Administration is keenly aware that there are some unethical people who are shamming being mentally ill, or making their conditions seem worse than they really are in order to collect benefits that they do not really deserve. It’s because of this that the application process can be very difficult to go through without the help of an attorney who understands the process.

Greenberg and Bederman is a law firm based in Washington, D.C. Our attorneys have helped injury victims for twenty five years. We fully realize how badly the disabled need those Social Security Disability benefits, and put all of our efforts into achieving a successful outcome. We serve the disabled in Maryland, Washington DC, and Northern Virginia. Let us help you with the Social Security Disability process. If you or a loved one is attempting to apply for Social Security Disability, contact Greenberg and Bederman for a free legal consultation today.