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Can you get SSD benefits with a mental health disorder?

Proving you have a mental health disorder and providing evidence to the Social Security Administration (SSA) can be a difficult task. This process can be a little more difficult than proving you have a physical impairment. Because diagnosing mental disorders is more subjective, it can be difficult to show the SSA that your mental impairment has disabled you completely.

However, the SSA does recognize numerous mental conditions that can leave you unable to work. Keeping track of how your mental disorder affects your daily life can show the impact it has on you. This will also provide objective evidence to the SSA. To qualify for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits you must have a doctor diagnose your condition and meet the necessary criteria to qualify, such as:

  • Your mental impairment must prevent you from doing any work you have done in the past
  • Your mental disorder must leave you unable to be trained for other work
  • Your mental disorder must be chronic or expected to last more than 12 months

Common mental illnesses covered

The SSA does recognize a lot of mental disorders that could meet the criteria to receive disability benefits. The following are some of the most common mental health disorders that may be eligible for benefits:

  • Organic mental disorders (e.g. dementia, Alzheimer’s)
  • Schizophrenia
  • Depression and bipolar disorder
  • General anxiety disorders
  • Personality disorders
  • Developmental disorders

There is no reason to worry if your mental impairment is not in the list above. If your diagnosed mental disorder is chronic and leaves you unable to work, you may qualify for SSD benefits still.

Even though mental impairments can be just as debilitating as physical ones, they are usually more difficult to prove due to the lack of physical evidence. If you have any questions about the application and filing process speaking with an experienced disability lawyer may help.