Social security disability
Anthony M. Tarescavage, PhD
Social security disability evaluations are used to establish the need for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). Anyone meeting certain federal poverty guidelines can receive SSI at a maximum benefit amount set by the Social Security Administration. Only individuals who have earned sufficient work credits qualify for SSDI, and their maximum benefit is set according to their average lifetime earnings. In either case, the purpose of a social security disability evaluation is to examine for the presence of a mental illness that results in marked to extreme functional impairment. Dr. Tarescavage has published peer-reviewed research on individuals undergoing disability evaluations. The Social Security Administration (SSA) has more details on the claims process.
Prior to their Social Security Disability Evaluation with Dr. Tarescavage, the evaluee will complete a brief history questionnaire. They will be encouraged to gather relevant medical records (if possible) to bring with them to their appointment as well as to identify a short list of people who know them well and could provide information on their recent functioning. The in-person component of the evaluation lasts approximately 2.5 hours and begins with an overview of the purpose of the evaluation as well as a review of the limitations on confidentiality. After introductions, the evaluee typically completes one-hour of psychological testing. This testing generally includes the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory-3 (MMPI-3), a widely-used and well-validated psychological test. While the evaluee is completing testing, Dr. Tarescavage will review available treatment records and attempt to contact others who know the evaluee well (with their permission). This testing, record review, and collateral information provides a comprehensive and objective foundation for a well-informed and impartial diagnostic interview. After testing and record review is completed, Dr. Tarescavage conducts the clinical interview. The first part of the interview involves the collection of background information (family, educational, medical, employment, military, legal, and substance use). The second part of the interview is the diagnostic assessment. This is by far the most comprehensive area of inquiry during the interview. Dr. Tarescavage will assess the evaluee’s symptoms, the course of their problems, and functional impairment. Finally, Dr. Tarescavage gives the evaluee preliminary feedback on their assessment results. However, Dr. Tarescavage will never give feedback on his opinion regarding whether or not the the evaluee qualifies for SSI/SSDI during the clinical interview. After the in-person evaluation is completed, Dr. Tarescavage will finish the record review and collateral contact process (if applicable) and write a 6 to 8 page report detailing his findings and opinions. The referral source will receive the report within three business days of the evaluation (assuming additional records do not need to be requested).
These evaluations are disability evaluations similar to VA Compensation and Pension, Personal Injury, and Workers Compensation.