In 2017, the Social Security Administration added 11 separate categories of mental disorders to what is known as the “blue book.” The blue book is the guide by which an Administrative Law Judge determines whether a claimant has a qualifying medical disability that meets or equals a listing and is not expected to improve within the next 12 months, or that will result in death.
Mental disorder listings can be found under section 12.00. The 11 categories listed are personality and impulse-control, autism spectrum, trauma and stressor related, neurocognitive, eating disorders, schizophrenia spectrum, depressive/bipolar, intellectual, anxiety and obsessive-compulsive or somatic and related. These encompass a wide array of disorders that must be diagnosed, monitored and treated by a licensed medical professional. If a claimant is unwilling to participate in any type of treatment for a disorder, it is likely that a disability claim filed on the basis of a mental disorder alone will be denied.
As with any other medical condition claimed by a Social Security Disability claimant, there must be objective medical evidence to support the claim. For example, a person should not expect to walk into a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge and have benefits awarded by simply stating he has anxiety. There must be medical records and an official diagnosis to back the claim up. If a claimant has been unable to seek out medical attention for financial reasons, the court may elect to send him for a consultative evaluation by a medical professional. This will provide a medical opinion by which a judge can make a ruling.