Q I am applying for SSDI for a mental illness and have been asked to see a psychologist for a mental examination. What should I do to prepare?
To approve your application for SSDI, the Social Security Administration must be able to show that you have a disability and that the disability is preventing you from being able to work for pay. If your medical records are incomplete or there just isn’t enough information about your disability in your medical record, the SSA will send you to an independent doctor for additional testing.
You know that you have a problem. You may have listed the symptoms of your mental illness on your application, but you need medical documentation. Whether you saw a doctor in the past but it’s been more than 60 days since you’ve sought treatment, or you never had treatment because of a lack of insurance, the purpose of the examination is to obtain the medical documentation necessary to determine whether you have a disability and to inform the Social Security Administration about your current mental state. Without a recent medical evaluation, your case cannot be decided.
A mental examination is a one-time visit with a psychologist or psychiatrist. There is no cost to you. The SSA pays all expenses related to the examination.
There are three possible types of examinations:
- IQ testing or memory testing: This type of testing is used for learning disabilities, organic brain disorders, brain injuries, and mental retardation.
- Psychiatric testing: Psychiatric testing is often used to evaluate an applicant for personality and mood disorders, including schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
- Mental status examination: This test is used to evaluate the mental condition of those suffering from depression, anxiety, or panic attacks.
During the examination, be honest and give the test your best effort. If you are dishonest or try to fake a disability, the doctor is required report his suspicions to the SSA.
After the examination, the doctor who performed the test will have 10 days to send the results to the SSA. The doctor’s report will contain information about your ability to follow directions and remember instructions and your ability to deal with coworkers, supervisors, and the stress of work.
Do you have additional questions about applying for SSDI for a mental disability? Request a free copy of disability attorney John Keefe’s book, The Five Most Frequently Asked Questions About Social Security Disability or contact Keefe Disability Law at 888-904-6847.