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Mental Illness

Mental Disorder Disability Benefits

Per the Social Security Administration (SSA), individuals suffering from certain mental disorders may qualify for Social Security disability benefits if it can be medically proven that the disorder limits the individual's ability to engage in gainful employment and that it will likely last for at least 12 months.

Categories of Mental Disorders

Organic mental disorders involve abnormalities (behavioral or psychological) that are caused by a problem in the brain. These types of disorders can be attributed to an organic problem.

Often, organic mental disorders result in the following:

  • Disorientation
  • Personality Change
  • Mood Swings
  • Lost Cognitive Abilities

There are 9 categories of mental disorders or impairments that qualify for benefits:

  1. Organic Mental Disorders
  2. Mental Retardation
  3. Disorders Related to Anxiety
  4. Autism
  5. Personality Disorders
  6. Somatoform Disorders
  7. Psychotic Disorders
  8. Affective Disorders

Schizophrenic and paranoid disorders, also called psychotic disorders, are characterized by psychosis. For instance, individual suffering from this type of disorder may experience delusions or hallucinations. Additionally, they may be grossly disorganized, catatonic, and incoherent. Many people suffering psychotic disorders are also impaired by their social skills. For instance, they may speak bluntly. Additionally, psychotic mental disorders may cause emotional withdrawal.

Affective disorders involve mood swings and manic depressive behavior. Generally speaking, the individual's entire life is disrupted by extended periods of depression or other strong emotions. Affective disorders may be characterized by a pervasive loss of interest in normal activates, change in weight, loss of appetite, inability to sleep, decreased energy, extreme feelings of guilt, suicidal thoughts, hyperactivity, distractibility or inflated self-esteem.

Who Can Receive SSDI?

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), millions of individuals in the United States receive SSDI ever year. Additionally, approximately 2.5 million new applications are filed every year. If an individual has been unable to work for a year, he/she may qualify for benefits. According to NAMI, the average social SSDI monthly payment is $900. Sometimes, individual are able to claim multiple social security benefits. Additionally, local programs may be used to supplement your SSDI income. Usually, when your claim for SSDI is accepted, you are more likely to receive benefits from local programs.

Factors to Consider

Even if you have a clear mental illness, your claim will not be automatically accepted. SSDI eligibility is determined by your ability to work and your ability to obtain and hold a steady job. If you or a loved one have a clear mental illness or disability but are still able to work, your claim will probably not be accepted.

When you apply, the SSA will take several factors into consideration.

  • Earnings - First, the Social Security Administration will take your monthly income into consideration. If you are able to make $900 a month, your application will probably not qualify. Remember: SSDI benefits are determined by your ability to work, not your actual disability. If you are disabled, but you hold a steady job, the Social Security Administration probably will not approve your application.
  • Degree of Disability - The Social Security Administration will also consider the severity of your mental illness. For instance, if your ability interferes with work, and basic activities, you may be eligible for benefits. If your illness does not keep you from completing basic, work-related tasks, your application will probably be denied.
  • Medical Criteria - If your medical conditions meet the medical criteria for SSDI (as determined by the Social Security Administration), your application may be accepted. Depending on the complexity of your medical conditions, the SSDI may be able to decide your case relatively quickly. Other cases take more time.
  • Work - If you are unable to participate in the same type of work that you were able to achieve in the past 15 years, the Social Security Administration will take into consideration whether or not you are able to work in another vocation. If you are unable to sustain any type of job, your application is more likely to be accepted.

    Disability Programs

    There are a variety of Social Security programs available to individuals in the United States. Sometimes, disabled individuals are eligible to receive payment from multiple Social Security programs. For instance, you may be eligible to receive benefits from Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social SSDI. Generally speaking, SSI is designed to help people who are disabled, unable to work and financially challenged; SSDI targets people who have been able to work in the past, but are currently unable to work due to a disability. For instance, if you or a loved one held a steady job, developed a mental illness and became unable to work, SSDI may be appropriate. Generally speaking, SSDI payments are larger than SSI benefits. The amount of money that you are eligible to receive depends on several variables, including your work history and other factors.

    Contact The Zendeh Del Law Firm, PLLC today!

    In order to qualify for SSDI benefits for your mental disorder, you must be able to substantiate the claim by providing medical proof of the disorder's existence. This proof may be demonstrated by submitting diagnoses or other assessments from a medical professional, as well as medical reports, test results, and lab findings. A knowledgeable attorney can provide you with help in preparing your claim by obtaining all documents and evidence necessary to substantiate the claim on your behalf.

    The Zendeh Del Law Firm, PLLC is dedicated to helping people receive the SSDI benefits that they need and deserve. If you or a loved one is unable to obtain or sustain work, filing a SSDI claim may be your best option. If you have been denied benefits in the past, please contact The Zendeh Del Law Firm, PLLC. We can help you understand your unique circumstances, legal options, and rights.

    If you suffer from a mental disorder and are seeking Social Security disability benefits due to being unable to work, contact a Social Security disability lawyer who can assist you!