Monthly Disability Benefits | Social Security Disability Benefits for Mental Illness | SSD | SSDI | SSI
If you suffer from a mental illness such as schizophrenia, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder or an anxiety disorder, you may be entitled to benefits from the Social Security Administration. A Social Security attorney or Social Security law firm can help you make your case to help you get the Social Security Disability benefits that you deserve.
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Mental illness can be just as disabling as a physical illness. People who suffer from a serious mental illness are entitled to disability benefits from the Social Security Administration, just like someone with a physical disability would be.
A number of different mental disorders may qualify you for Social Security Disability benefits. All conditions must be evaluated by a licensed mental health professional or physician, who must determine if your mental disorder is so severe that it will prevent a you from working and persist for more than 12 months. The presence of one or more of these disorders does not mean you will automatically be classified as disabled by the Social Security Administration.
When evaluating an individual for disability on the basis of a mental disorder, an applicant may have to provide information from the following sources, including medical evidence, psychiatric information, evidence of work attempts, mental status examination, psychological testing, intelligence testing, personality testing, neuropsychological assessments and evidence of treatment. Other specific tests may be ordered for cases of traumatic brain injury, anxiety disorders and eating disorders.
The Social Security Administration currently arranges mental disorders into the following categories. More information about each specific disorder can be found on its own page.
1. Paranoid schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders
• Characterized by the onset of psychotic features with deterioration from a previous level of functioning.
2. Manic depression and other affective disorders
• Characterized by a disturbance of mood, accompanied by a full or partial manic or depressive syndrome. Mood refers to a prolonged emotion that colors the whole psychic life; it generally involves either depression or elation.
3. Anxiety-related disorders
• These include both anxiety disorders and obsessive-compulsive disorder.
• In these disorders, anxiety is either the predominant disturbance or it is experienced if the individual attempts to master symptoms; for example, confronting the dreaded object or situation in a phobic disorder or resisting the obsessions or compulsions in obsessive compulsive disorders.
4. Body dysmorphism and hypochondria
• Both of these are somatoform disorders: Physical symptoms for which there are no demonstrable organic findings or known physiological mechanisms.
5. Personality disorders
• A personality disorder exists when personality traits are inflexible and maladaptive and cause either significant impairment in social or occupational functioning or subjective distress. These traits are typical of the individual’s behavior over time.
6. Mental retardation
• Mental retardation refers to significantly below average general intellectual functioning with deficits in adaptive functioning initially manifested during the developmental period; i.e., the evidence demonstrates or supports onset of the impairment before age 22.
7. Autistic disorder and other pervasive developmental disorders
• Characterized by qualitative deficits in the development of reciprocal social interaction, in the development of verbal and nonverbal communication skills, and in imaginative activity. Often, there is a markedly restricted repertoire of activities and interests, which frequently are stereotyped and repetitive.
For more information about mental disorders, visit the Social Security Administration’s website.
Applying for Social Security with both mental and physical disabilities
A large percentage of applicants for disability list both mental and physical disabilities on their applications. For example, applicants who claim to have cancer may also list depression or anxiety disorders as among their chronic ailments.
Those people who only claim a mental disability should know that mental and physical disabilities are given equal weight by the SSA. Disability Determination Services evaluates both mental and physical claims to make a determination of a person’s status. A Social Security attorney can help smooth the application process for you when you are applying for SSDI or SSI claiming both mental and physical disabilities.