Similar to disability benefits for disabilities caused by a physical health condition, Social Security disability or SSD benefits may also be available for disabilities caused by a mental health condition. Additionally, Supplemental Security Income may also be available for disabled individuals who may not qualify for SSD benefits because they lack the necessary work history required to be eligible. When a mental disorder prevents the disabled individual from working, they may be able to claim SSD benefits.
SSD claims are generally based on a physical or mental medical condition that is so severe it prevents the disabled individual from working. Additional requirements, such as the requirement that the medical conditions is expected to last 12 months or longer or result in death, are also required to receive disability benefits. While mental health conditions may be more challenging to prove than physical health conditions causing disability, applicants should not give up for that reason.
The Social Security Administration maintains a list of mental health conditions they consider inherently disabling. Even if the mental health condition an applicant suffers from is not on the list, they can still prove their mental health condition through their medical records submitted as part of their application and claim for benefits. Mental health conditions included on the SSA's list include schizophrenia, autism disorders, mental retardation and depression, anxiety and bipolar disorder.
The process of proving a mental health condition according to the SSA's process can be complex and challenging, which is why trained guidance can be useful during the process. At the very least, the disabled individual should understand the application process and what will be required for them to successfully complete the application process for disability benefits.
Source: Socialsecurity.findlaw.com, "Mental Health Disability Claims," Accessed April 25, 2017