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I Have a Mental Health Issue, Can I Get Social Security Benefits?

You have a mental health issue that makes it difficult to work, but you need to work in order to pay your bills. So what can you do?

Mental health issues are common and there are many classifications to describe mental illnesses. There are certain criteria you must meet to be considered eligible for SSD benefits under the Social Security Administration (SSA).

To begin with, your mental health condition must be severe, and it must:

  • Keep you from working full-time
  • Have lasted, or is expected to last, for at least one year
  • Be life-threatening (especially when diagnosed with other disorders or diseases)

However, meeting those three criteria doesn't mean you'll automatically be approved. Unfortunately, the SSA denies more than three-fourths of initial applications it receives.

When preparing to apply for SSD, you should have had your mental health condition diagnosed by a psychiatrist – preferably a specialist. You also should be undergoing treatment and see the specialist on a regular basis. Doing so will increase your chances of being approved for SSD or SSI benefits. And as with physical impairments, it may be helpful to obtain a concise and direct statement from your treating physician which specifically indicates all of your functional restrictions and the level of impairment that exists.

Some of the mental health conditions that may make you eligible for SSD benefits include:

  • Bipolar disorder
  • Post-traumatic stress
  • disorder (PTSD)
  • Schizophrenia
  • Depression
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Identity disorders
  • Mood disorders
  • Personality disorders
  • Psychotic disorders
  • Sleep disorders

The social security administration receives disability applications for practically every type of impairment known to exist. Mental impairments, conditions, or problems, are divided into two categories: those that are psychiatric and those that are psychological.

Psychological problems are those for which there may be an organic cause and for which psychological testing--such as IQ testing and memory scales--is often used to gauge the extent of the condition, such as autism, mental retardation, Alzheimer’s disease, borderline intellectual functioning, traumatic brain injury, and long and short term memory loss.

Psychiatric conditions include those problems that most people with think of in unison with counseling and medication such as: anxiety related disorders, affective disorders (depression and bipolar disorder), personality disorders, and schizophrenia, paranoid, and other psychotic disorders.

Let our experienced attorneys help

If you are considering applying for social security benefits, or if you’ve already been denied, it is best to consult with an experienced SSD attorney. We at Kalfus Nachman can assist with all aspects of the Social Security process. We can determine whether you qualify for Social Security Disability benefits, which are the most common, or if you qualify for the less common Supplemental Security Income benefits. Whether this is your first time applying for disability benefits or you are already appealing a previously denied claim, we can assist you in putting together your application. We have done this for numerous applicants like you over the years, successfully enabling them to receive the benefits they need and deserve. Your disability application may involve deadlines, so please don’t hesitate to talk to us as soon as possible. Your consultation with us is free.

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