Does Your Mental Illness Qualify For Social Security Disability?

Woman sitting in a dark corner suffering from a mental illness.Living with a mental illness can be challenging, especially if it affects your ability to maintain employment.

Fortunately, the Social Security Administration (SSA) recognizes the impact mental health conditions can have on individuals’ lives and provides benefits to those who qualify.

Below, we discuss how individuals with a mental illness may be able to receive Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits.

If you need help with your application, our Social Security Disability attorneys in Green Bay are prepared to help. We do not charge you any upfront fees. You only pay us when you receive your benefits.

What Mental Illnesses May Qualify For Disability?

There are specific mental illnesses that may qualify for SSD benefits. That said, applicants must provide detailed evidence that shows they meet the criteria set by the SSA Blue Book:

Psychotic Disorders

Psychotic disorders are severe mental health conditions characterized by a loss of touch with reality.

Schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder are examples of psychotic disorders. Individuals with these disorders may experience the following:

  • Hallucinations
  • Delusions
  • Disorganized thinking
  • Social withdrawal

Individuals suffering from this condition have a difficult time functioning and maintaining employment.

Mood Disorders

Mood disorders, such as major depressive disorder and bipolar disorder, are illustrated by significant changes in mood, energy levels and behavior. These conditions can severely affect an individual’s ability to function and maintain employment.

Major depressive disorder often involves persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness and a loss of interest in activities. Bipolar disorder involves alternating episodes of depression and mania.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorders

Obsessive-compulsive disorders (OCD) are mental health conditions that generally encompass intrusive thoughts (obsessions) and repetitive behaviors (compulsions).

OCD can significantly interfere with daily activities, including work responsibilities. Individuals with OCD may experience excessive worries, fears and a strong need to perform rituals or repetitive behaviors to alleviate anxiety.

Personality Disorders

Personality disorders are chronic mental health conditions that affect an individual’s thoughts, emotions and behaviors.

Borderline personality disorder and antisocial personality disorder are examples of personality disorders that can impair an individual’s ability to interact with others and maintain stable employment. These disorders can cause significant difficulties in relationships, emotional instability, impulsivity and challenges in regulating emotions.

Impulse-Control Disorders

Impulse-control disorders refer to conditions characterized by a failure to resist impulses, leading to disruptive or harmful behaviors. Conditions such as kleptomania (compulsive stealing) or pyromania (compulsive fire-setting) fall under this category.

These disorders can have a detrimental impact on an individual’s ability to function and maintain employment due to the impulsive and potentially illegal nature of the behaviors.

Eating Disorders

Eating disorders, including anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge-eating disorder, can have severe physical and mental consequences.

These disorders significantly impact an individual’s physical well-being, including weight loss or gain, malnutrition and potential organ damage.

The psychological effects, such as distorted body image, intense fear of gaining weight and unhealthy eating behaviors, can also greatly impact an individual’s ability to function and work.

Trauma or Stressor-Related Disorders

Trauma or stressor-related disorders are a result of experiencing or witnessing traumatic events.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is one of the most common conditions in this category. Symptoms may include the following:

  • Avoidance of triggers associated with the traumatic event
  • Intrusive thoughts
  • Nightmares
  • Flashbacks
  • Hypervigilance

PTSD can occur after experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event and can significantly impact an individual’s ability to function in everyday life, including employment.

What Are the Challenges of Proving a Mental Illness?

Mental illnesses often involve symptoms that are subjective and may not have visible physical manifestations.

Unlike a physical disability that can be proven through medical tests or imaging, mental health conditions heavily rely on self-reporting and the assessment of healthcare professionals. This subjectivity can make it hard to provide objective evidence to support your claim.

To establish your eligibility for SSD benefits based on a mental illness, it is crucial to provide comprehensive medical documentation from qualified healthcare professionals. This documentation should include a formal diagnosis, treatment history and explanation of the impact of the mental illness on your daily life and ability to work.

However, obtaining and organizing all necessary medical records can be challenging, especially if you have seen multiple healthcare providers or have had gaps in treatment.

Inconsistencies or gaps in mental health treatment can raise questions about the severity or impact of your condition. The SSA may question why treatment was not consistently pursued or why certain recommended treatments were not followed. It is important to seek regular and consistent mental health treatment, follow your healthcare provider’s recommendations and maintain a record of your treatment history.

Call Sigman Janssen Today to Discuss Your Application

It is difficult to secure SSD benefits for a mental health condition. That is why it may be in your best interest to work with an experienced attorney who may be able to gather the necessary evidence to get you approved for benefits.

Our lawyers have decades of experience helping individuals with disabilities obtain benefits. We offer a free consultation and there are no fees while we work on your case.

Call (877) 888-5201 to get started.