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Health Forum Online    The Psychologist's Source for C.E. Credits Online

Adult Mental Health Social Security Disability (SSD) Report Writing: Guiding Health Professionals through the Maze

by Patricia A. Farrell, PhD 3 CE Credits

This course provides health professionals with a fuller understanding of how mental health Social Security Disability (SSD) determinations are made, the associated language and acronyms, the regulations governing mental health disability and how to write effective reports that meet these regulatory standards of SSD. The salient components of the four most commonly alleged adult Disability impairments (Organic Disorders, Schizophrenic, Paranoid and Other Psychotic Disorders, Affective Disorders and Anxiety-Related Disorders) is discussed. Emphasis will be placed on defining the requisite training/licensure required for submitting Disability reports and providing the necessary guidance on acceptable reports, terms and practitioners and how failure to observe the rules and regulations may have a negative impact on applications for Disability benefits. In addition, which psychological/psychiatric tests are acceptable is covered, as well as the importance of behavioral indicators within reports and how to best phrase these. Lastly, the course reviews the forms used and links to important Social Security websites.

Continuing education for this online course is offered through the following approvals:


  • HealthForum is approved by the American Psychological Association (APA) to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. HealthForum maintains responsibility for this program and its content.
  • HealthForum (ACE Provider #1156) is approved as a provider for social work continuing education by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) www.aswb.org, through the Approved Continuing Education (ACE) Program. HealthForum maintains responsibility for the program. ASWB Approval Period: (6/20/2017 to 6/20/2020). Social workers should contact their regulatory board to determine course approval for continuing education credits. Social workers participating in this course will receive 3 Clinical continuing education clock hours.
  • HealthForumOnline, LLC, SW CPE is recognized by the New York State Education Department's State Board for Social Work as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed social workers #0355
  • HealthForum has been approved by NBCC as an Approved Continuing Education Provider, ACEP No. 6216.  Programs that do not qualify for NBCC credit are clearly identified. HealthForum is solely responsible for all aspects of the programs.
Course Sections/Outline:
  • Introduction to Mental Health Social Security Disability Claims
  • The Five-Step Sequential Evaluation
  • Medical Evidence (MER): Sources, Confidentiality, and “Controlling Weight”
  • Basic Elements of a Mental Health Report for SSD
  • Additional Important Elements: Maximizing the Effectiveness of the Report You Prepare
  • What Happens After the Initial SSD Report Has Been Submitted?
  • Final Thoughts on a Successful Report
  • Glossary of Terms
  • References

Learning Objectives:

After completing this course, health professionals will be able to:
  • Discuss the Five-Step Sequential Evaluation Process and the underlying premise of pace, persistence and concentration (PPC)
  • Define the four primary sources of medical evidence and the related concept of “controlling weight”
  • Identify the fourteen basic components of a Disability report for a mental health allegation, at least three psychological tests acceptable for evaluation and the five sections of SSD’s Medical Source Statement of Ability to do Work-Related Activities (Mental) Form
  • List five strategies to maximize report effectiveness                           
  • Articulate at least five post-report scenarios