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What aspects of mental functioning are assessed for SSD benefits?

The ability to work largely hinges on the brain's functionality. Ohio workers who suffer a brain injury or have some other neurological issue should be aware of the various factors that are considered by the Social Security Administration when determining if the applicant has sufficient mental functioning to be able to work.

There are four different areas of mental functioning that the SSA will consider when deciding if a person is disabled. These areas are understanding, remembering and applying information; interacting with others; concentrating, persisting or maintaining pace; and adapting or managing oneself. When seeking SSD benefits because of neurological issues, the applicant should know how they fit into these categories.

With understanding, remembering and applying information, the person's capabilities with learning, recalling and utilizing information to work will be considered. For example, if the person cannot grasp terms or follow instructions, they are unlikely to be able to do most jobs. Interacting with others is a necessity in most jobs. Working with supervisors, colleagues and the public will be vital to be able to function in the job. The inability to cooperate, deal with conflict, express a perspective, maintain a conversation, and other factors can severely hinder one's ability to work.

Concentration, persistence and maintenance of pace refers to one's ability to focus on the task at hand for a necessary amount of time. If there is a project that requires focus and a time limit to complete it and the person cannot ignore distractions, do the task, maintain the process and other factors inherent to the job, then there will be a problem with this area and it will negatively impact the applicant's work.

Adapting and managing oneself is related to emotional regulation, behavior control and maintaining well-being at work. An inability to respond to demands, adapt to changes, know the difference in work performance of what is acceptable and unacceptable, maintaining hygiene, dressing appropriately and much more must be adhered to. If the person cannot do that, it could be viewed as an example of an inability to function.

When a person has a brain injury or neurological issue, it can severely harm their ability to work to the point that they may be able to receive SSD benefits. For assistance with seeking benefits, a lawyer who is experienced in helping clients who have disabling conditions can provide guidance.

Source: ssa.gov, "Disability Evaluation Under Social Security," accessed on March 27, 2018

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