Harlan Still & Koch

Understanding how to apply for disability with a mental condition

Social Security disability benefits can be important for individuals suffering with a disability that results from a mental health condition. As is true when a disabled individual is suffering from a physical health condition, disabled individuals who are unable to work because of their mental condition may also be able to obtain Social Security disability benefits to help them with their daily needs.

Because the Social Security disability application process can be challenging, especially for those suffering from a mental health disability, it is important for disabled individuals and those suffering from a mental health condition to be familiar with the process. The Social Security Administration maintains a list of mental impairments that are considered inherently disabling. In turn, it is presumed that sufferers are unable to perform substantial gainful activity.

The Social Security Administration determines if the applicant's symptoms meet the criteria established for the particular mental impairment noted in its official listing. The Social Security Administration lists several mental conditions in its list of impairments and some of those included on the list are schizophrenia, autism disorders, mental retardation, depression, anxiety and bipolar disorder. To qualify for SSD benefits, the applicant must also have the necessary work history to be eligible for benefits.

Even if the applicant's mental condition is not on the list or does not meet specific criteria, it may still be possible to obtain benefits based on establishing that the applicant suffers from a mental condition that prevents them from working and is expected to last 12 months or longer or result in death. Knowing how to establish disability for purposes of a Social Security disability application can be essential for disabled individuals badly in need of benefits which is why they should be as familiar as possible with the process.

Source: SocialSecurity.findlaw.com, "Mental Health Disability Claims," Accessed April 10, 2017

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