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Evidence from schools and acquaintances in a disability case

For a North Carolina resident who is suffering from mental illness to be approved for Social Security disability benefits, there must be evidence presented to the Social Security Administration to show that he or she meets certain federal requirements. There are multiple forms of evidence that are acceptable to the SSA, but many applicants are unaware that people who know them - friends, relatives, acquaintances - can provide this evidence to help prove the case. Schools and vocational programs can also provide records to indicate that the applicant filing for disability benefits has certain issues that warrant an approval for disability benefits.

The SSA will consider evidence from people who know the claimant and how the mental problems affect their daily functioning. These people will be asked about the symptoms, how it affects the claimant's daily ability to function, and what medical treatment the claimant is receiving. Third-parties can provide this information, but the applicant must give them permission to share it. People who fall into this category include relatives, friends, religious advisors, social workers, case managers, and anyone who has contact or is aware of the applicant's problems. The statements they give will be examined for consistency with medical and other forms of evidence.

For those attending school or who have attended school recently, information from these sources can be used to prove how the mental disorder factors in with the person's functional abilities. Evaluation reports, reports from school therapists, and progress reports from teachers can be used in this instance. For those receiving vocational training, as well as those who are working or are involved in a work-related program, information from the employer or overseers of the program can be provided to help the administrative law judge come to a decision. This information can include work evaluations, training, duties, work schedule, and any special accommodations. Whether an individual is working through a support program will also be considered.

Medical evidence is often not the only factor that is used when the SSA decides whether a person meets the requirements to receive disability for a mental illness. Having as much evidence as possible can only strengthen a case. Understanding the various forms of evidence that can be used when seeking Social Security disability benefits for mental conditions can be achieved with assistance from an experienced legal professional.

Source: Social Security Administration, "12.00 Mental Disorders -- Adult -- C. What evidence do we need to evaluate your mental disorder -- 3, 4," accessed on Aug. 15, 2017

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