Very often, an individual will have mental symptoms as a result of physical problems. The physical problems can be all kinds of things. It may be a painful back. It may be a painful neck. There may be neuropathy, lupus or gastrointestinal issues. These physical problems cause chronic pain. Chronic pain can affect the ability to concentrate. It can affect the ability to remember things in the recent past. It can  make you depressed, irritable or even anxious. Even if you do not treat for these mental or psychiatric issues, you should consider what kinds of problems you are having when you make a Social Security disability claim or SSI claim. Preferably, you should determine what kinds of limitations or problems you have before you apply. A limitation is not being able to do what you used to do. So, for example, you may not be able to lift as much or sit as long as you once could. However, you should also consider how your mind is affected by these physical problems. Are you thinking about these problems all of the time? Does it make you unhappy? Does it make you anxious? Do you forget things you used to remember? Do you forget to take your medication or do you forget and leave things on the stove? When you try to focus on the task, does the pain make it difficult?

Even if you’re not treating for these problems, you should tell Social Security. Very often, they will have you evaluated by a psychologist or psychiatrist. That evaluation may result in some limitations in your ability to work that you were unaware of. It can help your case. When you come in to see me or speak to me on the phone, think about what mental limitations or mental problems you have. You should make a list of all the things that bother you. Some of them may not be that important in trying to work. Some of them may not be treated and it may be difficult to prove. However, it is important for the lawyer and for the Social Security Administration to know what it is that is bothering you.