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Can a mental health disorder qualify for SSDI benefits?

On Behalf of | Jun 17, 2023 | Psychological Impairments And SSD

Those who have never experienced a mental health issue may not understand how debilitating such challenges can be. Mental illnesses are largely invisible, which means that other people cannot immediately perceive evidence of someone’s struggles at a glance. Depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder can all significantly affect someone’s quality of life despite being hard for other people to notice in some cases.

Some mental health disorders respond to treatment, while other people may have a harder time managing their symptoms. In severe cases, people may struggle to interact appropriately with others or to even leave their homes. Is it possible for those with severe mental health challenges to qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits because they cannot work?

Yes, some mental health disorders render an individual eligible for benefits

The Social Security Administration (SSA) provides both basic guidelines about what qualifies as a disabling medical condition and also a very thorough list of specific medical conditions and types of impairments that could qualify someone for benefits. There are numerous mental health disorders included in that list.

The SSA may grant benefits for disorders including:

  • schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders
  • depressive disorders
  • personality disorders
  • struggles related to severe anxiety
  • post-traumatic stress disorder
  • autism and other developmental disabilities
  • somatic disorders

Simply having a diagnosis of one of these conditions isn’t enough for someone to get benefits. They will need medical evidence affirming their claim that the condition prevents them from securing or maintaining gainful employment. Records from attempts at therapy, hospital records and even documents related to someone’s involuntary stay at a mental health facility can all help demonstrate how significant someone’s mental health challenges are. Those records will generally need to support the idea that their issues prevent them from working at all and that the problem will persist for at least another 12 months, if not longer.

Those with mental health challenges often need outside help

One of the most difficult challenges about getting SSDI benefits when living with a mental health disorder may be how someone’s condition makes the benefits process more challenging. People with depression or anxiety are more likely to give up or second guess themselves. Others may have issues with executive functioning that make it hard for them to stay organized.

Those who believe that they have a mental health concern that may qualify them for SSDI benefits will often require an attorney’s support so that the limitations caused by their condition – on top of all of the inherent challenges associated with the application process – don’t prevent them from getting the benefits they require. Realizing that SSDI benefits are sometimes available for those with mental health challenges may inspire some people to look into finally applying for this kind of support.