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Receiving Social Security Disability for your mental illness

Did you know that Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) covers mental illness? Disabling conditions can be physical or mental, something the Social Security Administration (SSA) recognizes. If you have a debilitating cognitive or psychological condition that impacts your ability to work, SSDI may be available to help sustain you and your family.

By knowing that you can receive life-sustaining benefits, you may shift your focus from work-related money problems to receiving proper treatment for your mental illness.

Identifying your illness and its severity

To receive government benefits, the SSA will request various information to determine the exact level of severity of your illness. Generally, the SSA seeks to determine:

  1. Whether you have a medically determinable impairment
  2. Whether your condition is severe and likely to last 12 months or longer
  3. Whether your condition is severe enough to meet or equal a listing in the List of Impairments.

The SSA has 11 categories for mental health coverage. These categories include:

  • Neurocognitive disorders
  • Schizophrenia spectrum and other psychotic disorders
  • Depressive, bipolar and related disorders
  • Somatic symptom and related disorders
  • Personality and impulse-control disorders
  • Autism spectrum disorder
  • Neurodevelopmental disorders
  • Eating disorders
  • Trauma- and stressor-related disorders

Evidence and determinations

To determine whether you qualify for disability benefits in the United States, the SSA looks at multiple categories. The government may request information from:

  1. Your medical team, including your reported symptoms, medical history, examination results, diagnosis and current medications
  2. You and people who know you
  3. Your school, vocational training, work and work-related programs
  4. Your ability to function in unfamiliar situations

If the evidence of your disabling mental condition proves significant and meets the above-stated criteria, you may qualify for Social Security Disability. Remember that the government put this act in place to aid you in both recovery of your illness and to focus on adapting to various life changes. Should you suffer from a mental illness, an attorney can help you gather all the necessary elements for your application so you can receive the best benefits for your disability.

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