Due to advances in scientific understanding, and greater understanding by society, people with mental illness no longer feel the need to hide their conditions. Rather than being ashamed for being sick, people with mental disorders can speak openly about their conditions and seek treatment options that allow them to live their lives.

This is not to say that living with a mental illness is easy. Many people spend years trying various treatment options until they find one that works. Until they do, daily tasks most of us take for granted may be impossible. For instance, it may not be possible to hold a job and earn an income, just when the person needs money to pay for expensive medications and therapy.

The Social Security Administration recognizes the impact of mental illness, and will award Social Security Disability benefits to people whose condition is so severe that they are unable to continue working. Among the disorders for which SSD benefits may be awarded are:

  • Bipolar disorder
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder, also known as PTSD
  • Schizophrenia
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder, also known as OCD
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Depression

This list covers many, but not all mental health conditions that the SSA recognizes as disabling.

Despite increased sensitivity around the subject, proving that you have a mental illness can be more difficult than showing, for instance, that you have become paralyzed. Many of the symptoms cannot be easily observed. Thus, someone applying for SSD, or appealing a rejected application, might benefit from the help of an experienced attorney to demonstrate how his or her disorder affects his or her life.