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Mental health conditions and disabilities deserve proper care

In less serious manifestations, mental health issues like anxiety, dementia, post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, obsessive compulsive disorders and other conditions may be managed with treatment and counseling. In more serious cases, however, mental disabilities may interfere with a person’s ability to work or lifestyle.

Unfortunately, the potentially serious nature of mental disabilities may not always be respected, if a local story is any indication. The psychiatric facility in question, a boarding home in Newark, was current in its state safety inspections. However, it did not fare as well during a surprise visit from state Sen. Richard Cody and Newark Mayor Luis Quintana. The officials saw a rodent infestation, unattended medicine and faulty electrical wiring. 

After reporting their observation, the city shut down the home and required the owner to relocate all 35 residents to alternate accommodations. The owner will have to get approval from the city planning board before reopening the facility.

Fortunately, several federal disability benefits programs do take mental disabilities more seriously. The Social Security Administration, for example, recognizes that disabling mental conditions may give rise to eligibility for Social Security disability insurance benefits. 

Yet the steps between a medical diagnosis and filing an initial application may not be easy. The difficulty of submitting a successful SSDI application is in the numbers: The Social Security Administration approves only around one-third of initial claims. 

Deserving applicants who have paid into the system and acquired work credits, yet are unable to continue working because of a disability, may have their persistence rewarded if they appeal an initial denial. Those additional steps may include appearing before an administrative law judge, appealing to the Appeals Council, and even a federal court filing.

Source: The Star-Ledger, “Newark boarding home shut down after senator, mayor make surprise visit,” Susan K. Livio, March 28, 2014

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  • Fax: 973-364-1348
  • Phone: 973-200-6629
  • Toll Free: 877-892-0197
  • Phone: 609-207-7905