Magazine article Developments in Mental Health Law
Mental Disability Evaluation Training Project
The Institute of Law, Psychiatry and Public Policy, in cooperation with the Virginia Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation, the Department of Social Services, and the Department of Rehabilitative Services, will soon provide training to clinicians and advocates in the Social Security mental disability process. The training, which will be directed by C. Cooper Geraty, LL.M., is in response to the recent improper denials for terminations of Social Security benefits to mentally disabled Virginians. Because many of these improper denials or terminations are the result of clinicians' providing inadequate data to the decisionmakers, the training primarily will be directed at ensuring that comprehensive, accurate, and legally appropriate information is contained in the applicant's treatment records. Further, because the receipt of these benefits has been recognized as an important sector in the success of community placement of mentally disabled persons, it is expected that the training will promote such appropriate placement.
A four-day course in mental disability evaluation training for clinicians will be offered on seven occasions from November through March to psychiatrists, physicians, clinical psychologists, and social workers, who can thereafter serve as members of a disability evaluation team in state and local facilities. The course will provide intensive didactic and clinical training in the process and framework of the Social Security benefit programs, in the relevant federal statutory and case law, in evaluating each of the four major mental disability categories recognized by Social Security, and in disability report writing and expert testimony. The course is expected to improve the capacity of state and local mental health and mental retardation professionals to perform skilled clinical evaluations of mental disability. …