Dear Annie: Please say “Ready to die” that she can receive disability benefits because she has a mental health problem. The problem is, people tell disability examiners how bad they feel. But it is not the examiner’s job to assess. They want to know how dysfunctional your daily life is.
I am writing to offer suggestions to her and others who suffer from mental health issues but do not know how to get disability benefits.
For example, take depression and how it might answer the examiner’s questions: can you drive yourself to the doctor? No, I can’t drive. Do you keep your house clean? Yes, but it takes me two weeks to vacuum the floor. The dishes pile up until they smell bad, so I only use paper plates and plastic silverware. Do you do the grocery shopping? No, but a neighbor takes what I need. I do not eat a lot.
Here are some examples of how she might handle the manic phases: Can you drive? Sometimes, but I speed up and can’t focus on safety. Do you clean your house? Yes, but I stay awake for three days and then I fall back into lethargy. Do you dress? Yes, but I throw whatever is on the floor. Sometimes people laugh at me because of my dress.
People with mental illness need someone to practice with them before they are examined. They are focused on their suffering, for good reason.
Find a disability lawyer. They can often help you prepare for an examiner interview. Some lawyers can be shady, but there are also good, dedicated lawyers. Your case will advance much faster, even if it seems long. Remember that when you have Social Security disability insurance, they will pay from the date of application, not the date of approval.
Ask a case manager or someone to help you through this process. Any psychiatric record is useful. Don’t say you drink, or anything, to heal yourself. The way you should phrase it is to explain that you have an addiction problem.
So many people are not getting the benefits they are entitled to because even most therapists or psychiatrists do not understand how this system works. – Ph.D.
Dear doctor: I always love it when professionals give me advice, including the next letter on finding a psychiatrist and lawyer.
Dear Annie: This is the unfortunate person with severe, treatment-resistant depression who will definitely be eligible for total and permanent disability.
She should see a competent psychiatrist as soon as possible, and they will help her with the most modern and effective management of depression.
In addition, they will be able to write appropriate letters to the Social Security Administration and other agencies so that she receives a total permanent medical disability, which she well deserves. – Right to a lawyer
Dear Right: Thanks for sharing your tips. Hope it helps all readers who are suffering from depression and so far have not been able to get disability benefits.
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