Many people who suffer from serious mental health disorders seek psychotherapy treatment as a method of coping with their condition. When those people file for Social Security disability benefits, they may feel particularly insecure and uncertain about allowing their psychologist to release session notes that contain their innermost secrets and private thoughts.
Is there any way to provide the Social Security Administration (SSA) with the information that it needs to approve your claim without turning over all your most personal information?
Discuss the issue with your psychologist or psychotherapist.
Most mental health practitioners are aware of the criteria that Social Security uses to determine whether or not someone is disabled due to a mental disorder. They're also dually aware of the need to protect their patient from unnecessary exposure.
Fortunately, there's a middle ground between simply turning over everything in a patient's file and refusing to turn over anything in order to protect patient privacy. Notes from therapy sessions can, by law, be redacted or withheld when sending SSA the remaining information, including prescription plans, and counseling attendance records (which indicates that the patient is doing his or her best to improve or is at least genuinely troubled enough to keep going to therapy.
Other information that can be released without exposing your innermost thoughts and worries include your diagnosis, treatment plans, your array of symptoms, the long-term prognosis you've been given, and your progress up to this point.
Make use of other forms of documentation.
There are other documents that your psychotherapist or counselor can use to provide SSA the information that it needs. Talk to your mental health professional to see if he or she is willing to fill out a residual functional capacity (RFC) assessment for mental health. The RFC is often completed by the psychologist at SSA's disability determination service, but your mental health professional can also complete one.
It will give your mental health professional the ability to explain how your concentration and attention span are affected by your disorder and provide a better picture of how you function while handling simple, repetitive tasks.
If your mental health professional is so inclined, he or she can also simply write SSA a letter that includes the same information and illustrative examples that he or she has observed.
The key to getting your disability claim approved for a mental health condition is showing SSA that your symptoms are fairly pervasive, limiting, and ongoing despite your efforts at treatment. For more information, talk to an attorney like those at http://www.socialsecurityesq.com who can help you with a denied SSA claim.