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In 1996 slightly less than half of all Social Security disability claims were approved. Of the claims that were approved approximately 28% of them were for mental disorders. Every year there is an increasing number of SSDI psychiatric claims. The problem is because few psychiatrists feel competent in making a determination to render a professional opinion. Many try to avoid this complex task.

Few residency training programs fail to include disability assessment in their curriculum. When faced with making an assessment the resident may feel anxious, frustrated, and inadequately supported. This inadequacy may translate into a feeling of resentment or hostility.

An article published by Academic Psychiatry, 09/1999, reviews available disability programs, disability petition procedures, criteria and difficulties in disability assessment, characterization of disability petitioners, and references.