Most people think of disabilities as physical struggles — missing limbs, long-term illnesses, and other chronic mobility problems that make daily life difficult. However, in my years working with Social Security and VA disability claims, I’ve seen that mental and emotional battles can be just as crippling and just as worthy of disability benefits.
I’d estimate that 75% of the clients I work with have mental or emotional struggles that are part of their disability claims. Depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and PTSD are all common, particularly among veterans dealing with the fallout of returning to civilian life. Often, these struggles go hand in hand with physical problems. When a person develops back pain or diabetes, for example, it will affect their quality of life, keeping them from doing things they love until depression eventually sets in.
In cases like those, the mental struggle can quickly become more disabling than the physical one. Unfortunately, I’ve noticed that my clients are prone to dismissing their mental and emotional problems, sweeping them under the rug and hiding them from their loved ones and even themselves! To be honest, I think our society is to blame for this mindset. We’re taught to be embarrassed about mental health issues, and soldiers in particular are told to look at emotions as weaknesses. They’re trained to be tough, to deal with things alone, and to keep quiet about what’s going on in their heads. I’ve noticed that many of the men and women I work with hang onto that mindset even after leaving the military. The same is often true for my clients filing for Social Security disability benefits — they keep their problems to themselves because they’re afraid of looking old, feeble, or helpless.
Seeking Treatment for Mental Health May Help Your Disability Claim
Here’s the truth: Mental and emotional struggles are nothing to be ashamed of. And if you’re dealing with them, pushing your feelings aside is actually the worst thing you can do, both for your health and your claim. In my experience, both the VA and the Social Security Administration are much more likely to take your disability claim for depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, or PTSD seriously if you’re in treatment specifically tailored to tackle those issues. That means the smart thing to do is to start seeing a psychiatrist or psychologist. You might also want to consider seeing a counselor. If you’re taking your battles seriously, the organization you’re appealing to will, too. The claims of people getting consistent, specialized treatment and regular counseling are taken very seriously, and, in my experience, are much more likely to be approved for benefits. The reverse is true, too!
If you’re dealing with depression, anxiety, or another mental health roadblock and don’t know where to start, turn to your lawyer. It’s vital that you’re transparent with your lawyer about these struggles. Not only can they help you craft the strongest possible claim, but a good attorney can also even recommend a path for treatment. Here at The Injury and Disability Law Center, we have a host of contacts in the mental health field who we send clients to for help, and we consider that list just as important as the roster of chiropractors, physicians, and physical therapists we keep on hand for clients with physical injuries. When I have a client battling PTSD or something similar, I constantly touch base with them, working to see they get the treatment needed to get better and to prove their problems are serious.
Our Attorneys Can Evaluate Your Disability Claim
If you’re sitting at home right now wondering whether your own struggle would qualify you for disability benefits, please give me a call. In just a few minutes, my team and I can talk you through your potential claim and let you know if it’s viable. You might be surprised how strong your case is! Dial 575-300-4000 to find out.