Many people with mental impairments do not seek Social Security Disability (“SSD”) benefits because they have been told that it is too hard to show that their condition renders them unable to work. It is true that there are few diagnostic tests to establish the severity of a mental impairment, and it is also true that the Social Security Administration (“SSA”) is more reluctant to approve claims that based upon subjective evidence. However, obtaining a “listing” opinion can help
overcome those problems.
In pursuing SSD benefits, it is very beneficial to submit the opinion of a treating psychologist or psychiatrist regarding what is known as a “Listing”. If a claimant meets the criteria of a “Listing,” then the claimant is considered presumptively disabled and entitled to receive disability benefits. Even if the SSA rejects the listing opinion, which can provide procedural bases for reversal, the opinion increases the likelihood that the claimant will be found disabled for lacking the mental residual functional capacity (“RFC”) to work.
I represent a 53 year former advertising sales representative afflicted with depression and obsessive compulsion disorder, who applied for SSD benefits over five years ago. The claimant retained me shortly before his hearing. I was able to secure a listing opinion cosigned by the claimant’s psychiatrist and psychologist.
The SSA found claimant disabled based upon his RFC not listing. However, both the hearing and decision were relatively brief, which leads me to believe that the listing opinion served its purpose.