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Sunday, May 2, 2010

Applying For Disability

Question: what kind of physical exam and mental exams do the physicians do for disability?

Click on comments to see Laura's advice.


Eleventh Hour LLC said...

Dear MaryKay,
When my clients say they don't think they can work anymore, I go through an evaluation process with them in four categories of daily life. The impairments must be happening for at least a year to even start thinking about disability. But before that, I really want people to understand that they should think long-term. Often, people who don't work, don't have a life purpose, and they become more depressed or sick. Having a job gives people a daily purpose and gives your day some structure. People become so focused on obtaining the disability, that once they have it, they don't realize that they then have nothing to do...every day. I often see people who get worse because they have nothing to occupy their time. It is lonely and isolating to sit home everyday and essentially do nothing but household chores. So think long and hard before you decide to apply for disability. That being said, sometimes people are so impaired, they really can't work. If you are going for a mental disability, it is important to have your long-time psychiatrist write a letter for you. You would also need letters from family and coworkers addressing your deficits. If you have never been in long-term treatment on a regular basis, you most likely will not receive mental health disability. If you are applying for a medical or physical disability, your primary care nurse practitioner or doctor can write the letter. Most people use a lawyer as well. Here are the four criteria your nurse practitioner or doctor needs to address in their letter on your behalf:
1. Activities of daily living. You must be able to prove that you have deficiencies in this area. Examples include, showering and hygiene, getting chores done like dishes and keeping the house clean, shopping and cooking, and bill paying.
2. Social function. This involves proving that you have poor interpersonal skills. Examples include, being paranoid about other people, not being able to say the right things, isolating, being fearful of people around you, being unable to adequately and appropriately communicate with potential coworkers.
3. Concentration. Deficiencies in this area include, starting tasks and not finishing them, not being able to follow through on assignments, not being able to complete things in a timely manner, being unable to focus and correctly complete a task.
4. Decompensation. This involves having multiple set-backs. Things like crying episodes at work, emotional impairment, what I call "clamming up" and "blowing up," in other words, not being able to speak or yelling and becoming aggressive, being unable to control your emotions in a stressful situation.
So remember, having a job, no matter what kind of job it is, gives you purpose. Try working for a while, and if you really can't do it, then apply for the disability. Good luck and let us know how you are doing.