It can very difficult to prove you are suffering from a mental illness that entitles you to Social Security Disability benefits. Many people who apply for benefits for a mental illness are often denied.

Below, learn more about some of the common reasons mental illness claims are denied by the Social Security Administration (SSA). For assistance with your disability claim, request a free, no obligation consultation with our Social Security Disability attorneys in Phoenix today.

No Specific Diagnosis

The SSA requires proof of the illnesses you have been diagnosed with. If your psychiatric records do not indicate a specific diagnosis, your claim may be denied. It does not matter if you have been receiving psychiatric treatment on a regular basis.

Unfortunately, it can be difficult to determine a specific diagnosis for some mental illnesses. For example, some people are suffering from symptoms that could be anxiety or depression. Maybe the doctor does not have enough information to make a specific diagnosis. If this is similar to your situation, it may be difficult to prove you qualify for benefits.

Duration of Condition

For your mental illness disability claim to be valid, your condition must have either lasted one year or be expected to last a year. If your condition has not lasted that long, or it is not expected to last that long, your claim will likely be denied. This requirement makes it difficult to obtain benefits if your claim is based on a condition that improves with regularity, such as bipolar disorder.

Lack of Treatment History

The SSA reviews your treatment records to see what has been done in attempts to improve your condition, and what the outcomes of treatments were. The SSA looks at your specific symptoms and how they impair your ability to perform work.

If you have not undergone treatment for mental illness or have received inconsistent or minimal treatment, your claim may be denied. Medical evidence is critical in proving your disability claim for mental illness, and you must show you have received adequate treatment for your condition. If you are unable to afford mental health care, look for reduced fee or free mental health care providers near you.

Noncompliance with Treatment

If your medical records show that you have been prescribed medication for your diagnosed condition, but you have failed to take it, your claim may be denied. The SSA looks at what you are able to do regardless of the limitations you suffer, and this cannot be measured if you are not compliant with the doctor’s request to take a certain medication.

The SSA is only concerned with whether or not you are taking prescribed medication, which can be problematic for those who cannot afford it. If you are unable to afford medication prescribed for your mental health condition, inform the SSA. Being unable to afford prescribed medications is typically an acceptable nonmedical excuse for noncompliance.

However, if the SSA is able to help you by providing free medication, you can no longer use your inability to pay for the medication as a nonmedical excuse for noncompliance.


When you file a disability claim for a mental illness, the SSA evaluates whether or not you are able to perform any type of work, not just your former jobs. Even though your medical records may state you are unable to go back to work at your previous job, you may have the mental residual functional capacity to perform other work. Especially in the case of younger applicants, the SSA typically considers younger individuals capable of undergoing training for another kind of job.

Recent unemployment also makes it difficult to prove your claim. If you lost your job recently, it may be difficult to prove it was because of your mental illness and not something else.

Avoid these issues by submitting applicable medical records as well as evidence showing how you cannot perform all work-related tasks, not only those that apply to your former job.

Contact an Attorney for Help

Dayes Law Firm PC can provide representation throughout the disability claim process, including through any appeals. We work hard to build a strong claim for disability due to your mental illness, gathering the necessary evidence that supports your diagnosis and inability to work.

Request a free, no obligation consultation today and learn what legal options are available to help you access the benefits you need. There are no upfront fees and you only pay us if we recover compensation in your case.

Call 1-800-503-2000 or complete our Free Case Review form now.