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Mental health patients struggle to qualify for Social Security

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), over 9 million Americans currently receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). As of 2013, 35.2 percent of those who received benefits were listed as having disabling mental health conditions. While some understand that the Social Security Administration (SSA) has its own list of disabling conditions, many aren't aware of where mental illness falls on that list.

If you ask anyone who has applied for SSDI for their mental health concern, then they'll likely tell you that it's not easy to qualify to receive benefits.

The truth is that many of the reviewers who are entrusted with looking over applicant files and deciding whether they qualify for benefits aren't mental health practitioners. If they're physicians, then they may have completed a short stint in the psychiatry ward of the hospital, but nothing more.

Oftentimes individuals perceive themselves to have a debilitating mental health condition that they think will be on the SSA's List of Impairments but it's not.

Keep in mind that the only individuals who qualify to receive SSDI are those who are deemed to have a terminal illness or disabling condition that prohibits them from working in any capacity. A condition must also be expected to last more than 12 months. If your mental illness affects your ability to perform one job, it may not affect your ability to do well in another one. Your application for SSDI may be denied because of this.

If your current diagnosis doesn't qualify you to receive benefits, then NAMI recommends for you to see if other disabilities that you have will.

Your mental illness must be diagnosed and demonstrated to qualify for benefits in Missouri. An attorney may be able to point you in the right direction of a doctor in St. Louis who can do just that.

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