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Questionable Disability Denials Are Not Always About the Rules
Dr. Patricia A. Farrell -- Psychologist Dr. Patricia A. Farrell -- Psychologist
For Immediate Release:
Dateline: Tenafly, NJ
Sunday, May 12, 2024


The Social Security Administration has rules for obtaining disability benefits, but these rules do not always hold sway.

Photo by Alexander Grey on Unsplash

As disabled workers, disabled widows or widowers, or handicapped adult children, 9,243,999 persons were receiving Social Security disability benefits as of December 2021. 85.2 percent of the participants were disabled workers, 12.4 percent were adult children with disabilities, and 2.4 percent were widows or widowers with disabilities.

Here is a listing of all of the psychological claims categories currently found in the Social Security disability manuals. I have covered all of this in a book I wrote years ago that is available on Amazon in both e-book and paperback.

Many times, people approach Social Security Disability applications for psychological or mental problems with tremendous anxiety and concern because they see them as an arduous process. The worries I have encountered when talking to people I have advised to apply for benefits range from thinking they will face something more stressful than not having enough money to cover their everyday expenses to thinking they will be turned down (and humiliated) to a real fear of the examiner and what they will have to go through.

Some medical professionals perform benefits analyses for applicants where the evaluator has a personal or political agenda that they utilize in this work. This leads to many people being denied when they should have been allowed, and it is in everyone's best interest to ask for reconsideration or use other means to obtain their justifiable benefits.

I have seen this happen with many cases of women who had MS or persons with Lyme disease where the physician refused to recognize the disability of that individual. A major newspaper in California once contacted me to ask for an opinion on a physician doing evaluations who claimed he could do 60 in one hour. I think the only way he could have done that was to deny all of them without even reading the report carefully. Some medical consultants will deny benefits outright to increase their income in states where they are paid per case rather than per hour.

The current situation in Great Britain has raised how often denials of benefits for disabled people are made there. The UK government denies more than 40% of disability benefit requests from people with multiple sclerosis (MS), cerebral palsy, and arthritis. One in four applications from amputees is also turned down. Unfortunately, details on how many people with psychological disorders are turned down are not available. For these individuals, there is a group called Fightback4Justice.

In the United States, applicants must rely on reports from their medical professionals, reconsideration of their case, specialized attorneys, or their US Senator's office (called a "sensitive inquiry"). These offices have someone who will handle disability benefits cases for claimants who contact them. This is a means to have your case either reevaluated or not left to languish without a speedy response. Use it because it is there for you.

Your claim is not over after denial. As I've indicated above, you have options if your claim is turned down and what you can do if it seems to be taking a long time to resolve.

Regretfully, many people also think they are not disabled enough to get benefits or that they can’t handle the process. For some, having to acknowledge that they are incapacitated for whatever reason is a personal insult, or they feel shame. These people view psychiatrists and psychologists as unsettling professionals who will probe their thoughts and inflict even more suffering.

Anyone can have an evaluation from their own psychologist or psychiatrist who should never use the words "this person is permanently disabled" in their report. That sentence is meaningless to Social Security Disability and will be useless in any application process.

Basically, what disability wants to know is whether or not you can maintain something called PPC—pace, persistence, and concentration at a task without constant supervision. There are also stipulations about the amount of weight that someone may be able to lift or carry. Medical schools do not prepare anyone for this type of indication. Therefore, weight should be eliminated and can be refuted as a reason for denial.

Remember that people’s work histories and a fund they have contributed to have financed the benefits. Social Security is not an entitlement; it is something you pay for. Now, you might have to defend taking part of the benefits money early. This is not charity or a handout. Recall that always. Never forget, either, that you are to be treated with deference and politeness.

Disproving or proving claims of mental health impairments can be more challenging than those of physical impairments. For this reason, resolving the claim depends on being aware of the procedure, which emphasizes getting sufficient records from all healthcare professionals. This would speed up the process and maybe spare you from sitting for a Consultative Exam (CE).

Anyone administering a CE will use the Green Book for guidance. Remember that anyone performing a CE exam has never seen you before and is acting on that one meeting alone.

Once benefits are approved, an individual may be put on a schedule for reevaluation (one year, three years, seven years), or maybe "no medical improvement is expected."

There are also types of claims that will always be paid because of the nature of the impairment. For example, claims from people who have severe cognitive impairment due to Alzheimer’s, brain damage, head injuries, some genetic disorders that cause psychiatric disorders, and other conditions. People in hospitals or other supervised places will probably keep their pay status. However, people working at their facilities will need to provide reports to them.

Yes, applying for any type of disability benefit may seem stressful, but they can be applied for online now, and it's not always necessary to go to a specific Disability office. If you are disabled, either for a short time or more than one year, or have a terminal illness, please use the benefits to which you are entitled.

Website: www.drfarrell.net

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Attribution of this material is appreciated.

News Media Interview Contact
Name: Dr. Patricia A. Farrell, Ph.D.
Title: Licensed Psychologist
Group: Dr. Patricia A. Farrell, Ph.D., LLC
Dateline: Tenafly, NJ United States
Cell Phone: 201-417-1827
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