Are mental illnesses eligible for disability benefits?
Yes. Mental illness is a common reason for people to receive Social Security Disability benefits.
In fact, more than a third of all recipients of Social Security Disability Insurance in recent years qualified because of mental disorders, according to Social Security numbers.
That’s 3.6 million people.
Still, just like with so many other aspects of living with a mental illness, applying for disability benefits comes with unique challenges.
People have a harder time seeing and understanding mental health problems than they do physical illnesses.
This can include people looking at your disability case, like health care providers and Social Security claims examiners.
But with the right medical evidence and a strong application, you can improve your chances of winning benefits and regain some stability in your life after your health forced you from work.
Is my mental condition covered by Social Security Disability?
The Social Security Administration (SSA) maintains a list of impairments that qualify for disability benefits. It’s called their Listings of Impairments, or sometimes the “Blue Book.”
Many common mental health conditions are included:
- bi-polar disorders
- eating disorders
- obsessive-compulsive disorder
- personality disorders
- post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
If your specific diagnosis isn’t listed, don’t lose hope.
You still may be able to qualify for benefits under one of the broader categories in the blue book.
Also, your exact condition isn’t the only important factor in your case. The severity of your condition — how much it hinders your ability to work — is also a major decision point.
You can have a combination of different conditions. And if your individual symptoms are severe enough, that can qualify you for disability benefits.
Your case hinges on submitting strong evidence to Social Security.
A lot of people have no idea what it’s like to have a mental health problem that keeps you from working.
At Makris Law Firm, we understand. We work with people in this situation every day.
What kind of evidence do I need to provide?
You’ve heard us say more than once that evidence is key. For mental disorders, Social Security divides evidence into two types:
- Evidence from medical sources — such as test results from your doctor or other health care providers
- Evidence from non-medical sources — such as statements from people who know personally know you.
Social Security will look for “objective medical evidence,” which includes symptoms health care providers are able to observe and record, like how you function during examinations. This also includes the nature, severity and frequency of any inpatient hospitalizations in your medical records.
Medical evidence also can include your diagnosis, your medical and psychological history, information about medications you are taking and information about therapy you are receiving.
Non-medical evidence can come from family, friends, neighbors, clergy, case managers, social workers or other people in your community.
They can report what they’ve seen of your symptoms and how you function every day.
Social Security can also collect information from schools, training programs, your job and work-related activities — about the way your disorder influences your functioning.
This includes school report cards and educational disability or psychological evaluations that appear in school records.
If it’s available, Social Security will also want to see evidence of how your condition has affected you over time.
Claims examiners will review medical records of any physical conditions that make it difficult for you to work in combination with mental conditions.
And claims examiners may look at evidence on how you perform in unfamiliar situations and how you perform in supportive situations.
An experienced disability lawyer can help you gather, organize and present all this information to Social Security in a way that maximizes your chances of winning benefits.
You want someone who knows how the system works in Houston and Texas.
At Makris Law Firm, we charge no attorney’s fee unless you win. The most we ever charge is 25% of your past due benefits.
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