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Assistance options for psychiatric disabilities may be limited

Readers may assume that individuals suffering from mental health conditions have multiple sources of assistance available to them. Unfortunately, a disability benefits attorney knows that assumption to be false in many instances.

In the case of Medicaid, reimbursement may not be available to psychiatric hospitals that provided short-term care. In addition, larger psychiatric facilities -- those with over 16 beds -- may not qualify for Medicaid funding for most of their adult patients. As a result, many such facilities have closed, leaving individuals suffering from a mental illness without treatment options. 

Fortunately, the Social Security Administration recognizes many mental health conditions as potentially qualifying for Social Security disability insurance benefits, depending on the severity of the condition and the degree to which it presents a long-term impairment to an individual’s ability to work. 

A disability attorney who has helped workers apply for SSDI benefits on the basis of a mental condition likely understands the disabling effect of such impairments. Yet many Americans -- and perhaps even disability examiners hired by the Social Security Administration to evaluate SSDI applications -- may not appreciate the potential severity of mental health afflictions. For that reason, anyone with questions about whether mental health impairments might qualify for SSDI benefits should consult with a disability benefits attorney.

An attorney can help an SSDI applicant prepare evidence in much the same way that an application on the basis of a physical impairment might be approved. There are many mental conditions that could give rise to SSDI eligibility, and an attorney can help deserving individuals explore all of their options. 

Source: USA Today, “Congressmen introduce competing mental health bills,” Liz Szabo, May 8, 2014

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