August 4, 2011

Social Security Disability Benefits for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Indianapolis disability attorney Scott D. Lewis represents individuals with a variety of mental and/or physical disabling conditions.  Included in these impairments is those suffering with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD).  Indiana residents with OCD may find themselves qualifying for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits.  OCD is a disabling condition that may qualify for SSDI or SSI benefits under the Social Security Administrations “Listing of Impairments,” Section 12.00 Mental DisorderOCD is specifically identified under section 12.06 Anxiety-related disorders.  Refer to the SSA’s website for criteria requirements. 

What is Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)?  OCD is a mental disorder when an individual worries, doubts or superstitious beliefs become excessive.  OCD is a condition in which the brain cannot let go of a certain thought, and therefore, it makes the patient overly anxious or worried about even the most menial aspects of daily life.  OCD sufferers have difficulty in controlling his or her worries, anxieties, or urges. Many times patients with OCD do not recognize the severity of their condition until it is either too late to treat, deal with the condition as a minor inconvenience, and in many case simply don’t realize what is happening. Unfortunately, OCD may impair a person’s ability to concentrate or communicate with others. As a result, OCD may prevent an individual from being able to work at a reasonable level.

Some examples of OCD behavior may include, but is not limited to the following:

  • washing your hands for hours at a time to make sure they remove all germs
  • driving around the block over and over again to make sure an accident didn’t happen
  • turning on and off lights for long periods of time to ensure the lights are turned off

Since patients with OCD may either be obsessive and/or compulsive, it is imperative to understand difference. An ‘obsessive’ individual may think about germs too often, or needing to have things stay the same, or a strong desire to confess to others. A ‘compulsive’ individual may check on things more than normal or repeat an act far more than normal.  Some patients are both obsessive and compulsive.

Some OCD patients have found success with treatment.  Although, OCD is not curable, it may be manageable.  Many individuals find that therapy for OCD is a very good way to manage this illness. It is important for disability claimants with OCD to visit their treating physicians and therapists regarding their disabling condition.  As Attorney Scott Lewis prepares for the hearing for his client suffering with OCD, he or his staff will seek medical record evidence supporting the client’s disability claim.  Doctors and/or therapists’ are a credible sources of information, as well as witnesses for your case, and may help in getting the benefits you deserve.  Ultimately, the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) is the individual that needs to be convinced that your disorder prevents your from working.  He or she needs to believe that you can not perform the basic functions of work such as concentrating and interacting appropriately with people encountered in the workplace due to your condition.

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