If you pursue Social Security disability benefits for a mental health condition, the Social Security Administration may include a Psychiatric Review Technique Form (PRTF) when evaluating your disability eligibility claim.

The Purpose of a Psychiatric Review Technique Form

Psychiatric Review PaperworkThe Psychiatric Review Technique Form provides a guideline for the Social Security Administration to evaluate mental health claims.

The Social Security Administration will appoint a doctor to complete the form to determine if you meet a listing in the Social Security Administration’s Blue Book Listing of Impairments. Section 12 of the Blue Book describes mental health conditions. You may qualify for benefits if you meet the requirements in the listings for conditions such as:

  • Neurocognitive disorders such as cognitive decline from conditions like dementia, brain tumors, brain injuries, and other illnesses and injuries
  • Schizophrenia spectrum and other psychotic disorders
  • Depression, bipolar, and related disorders
  • Intellectual disorders
  • Anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorders
  • Somatic symptom and related disorders such as illness anxiety disorder and conversion disorder
  • Personality and impulse-control disorder
  • Autism spectrum disorders
  • Neurodevelopmental disorders, including specific learning disorders
  • Eating disorders
  • Trauma-related disorders

Alternatively, you may qualify for disability benefits in other ways.

What’s Included on a Psychiatric Review Technique Form?

The PRTF is divided into four sections, including:

Medical Summary

The doctor completing the form has eight options in the medical summary section. The doctor may find one of the following:

  • No medically determinable impairment. This finding will result in a denial of Social Security disability benefits.
  • An impairment, but not a severe impairment. This finding also results in a denial of Social Security disability benefits.
  • A severe impairment, but an impairment that is not expected to last for at least 12 months. Like the previous two options, this finding will result in a denial of disability benefits.
  • An impairment that meets a specific Blue Book listing. Unlike the three options above, this finding will result in an approval of disability benefits.
  • An impairment that is equal in severity to another listing. This finding will also make you eligible for disability benefits.
  • A Residual Functional Capacity Assessment is necessary. In this case, the Social Security Administration must gather more information about your residual functional capacity before deciding eligibility.
  • A co-existing non-mental impairment exists and a referral to another medical specialty is needed. The Social Security Administration needs information about your other physical condition before making a disability determination.
  • Insufficient evidence to make a decision. A doctor will make this selection if your application is incomplete.

Documentation of Factors that Evidence the Disorder

Here, the doctor will list all of the symptoms of your condition. There must be evidence of your mental health symptoms to support a disability finding.

Rating of Functional Limitations

The doctor will evaluate how your condition:

  • Restricts your activities of daily living
  • Impacts your social functioning
  • Affects your ability to concentrate and maintain pace
  • Results in episodes of decompensation, or the times when your symptoms are disabling

Each of these things may be considered mild, moderate, severe, or extreme.

Consultant Notes

In this area, the doctor may include any other thoughts, observations, or concerns.

After a doctor completes the form, a second doctor needs to review it. That doctor may agree or disagree with the findings. The reasons for any disagreement must be noted.

How to Get Help With Your Social Security Disability Claim for a Mental Health Condition

Mental health conditions may impact your ability to work, just as physical health conditions impact your ability to work. If you suffer from a disabling mental health condition that is expected to last 12 months or more, we encourage you to contact our experienced Massachusetts Social Security disability lawyers for a free and confidential consultation.

Whether you are filing an initial claim or your claim has already been denied, our attorneys can provide you with the assistance that you need to be treated fairly by the Social Security Administration. Please call us, start a live chat with us, or complete our contact form to have us contact you as soon as possible.

Are You Looking for a Social Security Disability Attorney in Boston, MA?

If you are looking to apply for social security disability, you need to speak with an experienced social security disability lawyer as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our Natick Office directly at 508.283.5500 to schedule your free consultation.


John L. Keefe
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Founding Attorney, Massachusetts Social Security Disability Lawyer