Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Mental Illness

Those struggling with a mental illness may be eligible for SSDI

In the United States alone, millions of people suffer daily from mental illnesses that make functioning in a normal work environment next to impossible. Those affected by mental illness are just as likely to be eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits, as people with a physical condition. If you have a mental illness that prevents you from working, you may qualify to receive SSDI benefits.

Almost 45 percent of all SSDI recipients have a mental health condition as one of several medical problems, and in more than 25 percent of all cases, the most serious issue presented is related to mental health (According to Abbott Global Health and Medical Research). While these may be encouraging statistics, simply having a mental illness often is not enough to receive SSDI. The Social Security Administration (SSA) requires you to provide proof that your mental illness prevents you from working. This proven inability to work must last for at least 12 consecutive months or more in order to meet the Social Security Administration’s (SSA’s) SSDI qualifications.

Your inability to work due to a mental illness is carefully considered. The criteria for evaluating most mental disorders tends to be more subjective than objective, and there are few tests to evaluate the severity of an individual’s mental state. Government disability examiners must base their decisions on a variety of components, including clinical notes from mental health professionals, third party questionnaires, and an activities of daily living (ADL) questionnaire, which is required of all SSDI applicants. Certain mental conditions, such as mental retardation, can be proven objectively by testing such as the WAIS-III, and are therefore easier to document.

The SSA has a very detailed listing of mental impairments that may qualify you for disability, including bipolar disorder, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD),,and schizophrenia, among others. Unfortunately, it is very difficult for individuals who apply for disability based upon a mental condition to receive SSDI at the initial claims level. Most applicants find themselves pursuing SSDI through several steps in the disability appeals process in order to receive their SSDI benefits.

While one in six adults suffers from brain-related illnesses, there remains a pervasive social stigma attached to mental illness, According to National Alliance on Mental Illness If you have a mental illness that prevents you from working, it is imperative that the nature of your mental impairment is reflected in your application for SSDI. It is imperative you see a qualified mental health-care professional such as a psychiatrist or psychologist to not only treat your condition but to provide valuable medical documentation that will assist you in securing SSDI benefits. Additionally, evidence from licensed clinical social workers, counselors, and therapists is considered in evaluating your claim for SSDI benefits. With help from an SSDI expert, you can ensure your mental health impairments are properly considered and evaluated.