Can you receive disability benefits for a mental health condition?

On Behalf of | Sep 7, 2023 | SSDI

Living with a mental health condition can impact various aspects of your life, including your ability to work. Fortunately, there are disability benefits available to provide financial support to individuals living with mental health conditions.

Understanding eligibility requirements and accepted health conditions is the first step to gaining the necessary financial support. Here are a few facts you should know.

Eligibility criteria

To qualify for disability benefits based on a mental condition, you must meet eligibility criteria set by the Social Security Administration. The SSA evaluates mental conditions based on severity, duration and evidence.

For example, mental conditions must significantly affect a person’s ability to perform basic work activities, meaning the condition causes severe effects. As for duration, qualifying health conditions must last for at least 12 months or result in death. Finally, relevant medical evidence must substantiate the existence and severity of a condition.

Accepted mental conditions

Depression and anxiety are common mental illnesses that can impact one’s ability to interact with others or induce bouts of panic that severely impede daily functioning. There is also bipolar disorder, which causes alternating episodes of depression and mania. With schizophrenia, a person may experience substantial impairment in the ability to work and maintain relationships.

Application process

The application process for disability benefits involves lots of information:

  • Medical records – You must provide comprehensive medical records that demonstrate the diagnosis, treatment and effects of your condition
  • Work history – Document your work history, including job descriptions and limitations caused by your mental health issue
  • Consultative examination – In some cases, the SSA may require you to undergo a medical examination by an appointed doctor

If the SSA approves your application, you will receive monthly disability payments. The amount depends on factors like your work history and prior earnings. However, if the SSA denies your initial application, you have the right to appeal.

As reported by the National Alliance on Mental Illness, 5% of American adults deal with a significant mental health condition on a yearly basis. These individuals can use disability benefits to support themselves and their families while receiving important treatment, which offers significant peace of mind.