The Social Security Administration (SSA) provides long-term disability benefits for workers who have been rendered disabled by physical and/or mental impairments. This article provides an overview of SSA’s disability determination process and descriptions of the three mutually exclusive roles that psychologists may play in this process. These include (1) performing formal psychological evaluations of applicants, which are oriented to SSA’s disability program and (2) performing in-house reviews of applicants’ medical records, which will steer the disability decisions made about them. The third role is an incidental one: a psychologist had been providing mental health services to someone who subsequently applies for disability and lists the psychologist as a treating source on the disability. The article concludes with a suggested format for treatment providers to use when conveying clinical information to SSA about their clients.
- Demonstrate a proper psychological evaluation of workers who have been rendered disabled by physical and/or mental impairments.
- Explain considerations to take when performing in-house reviews of applicants’ medical records for disability.
- Compile patient notes into the suggested format to convey relevant clinical information to SSA on behalf of your patient.
Kuhlman, T.L. (2020). Determining Psychological Disability for the Social Security Administration. Journal of Health Service Psychology, 46(4). https://doi.org/10.1007/s42843-020-00019-w