May is National Mental Health Month. Mental Health America encourages Americans to use this as a time to find the tools you need to thrive and to work on breaking the stigma surrounding mental health disorders. Just because you can’t see a disability doesn’t mean it’s not there. Living with a mental health condition can be just as debilitating and difficult as living with a physical disability. In fact, a mental health disorder can qualify you to receive Social Security Disability. If you have been wondering how the process works, read on.

Types of Mental Health Disorders that Qualify for Social Security Disability Benefits

The Social Security Administration (SSA) recognizes that certain mental disorders automatically qualify individuals for social security disability benefits. However, this list is not exhaustive. If you or a loved one has a mental health disorder that makes it difficult or impossible to work, you may still qualify for benefits.

Some of the most common mental health conditions that people claim for Social Security Disability benefits are:

  • Severe anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorders
  • Developmental disorders
  • Neurocognitive disorders
  • Schizophrenia spectrum disorders
  • Bipolar or extreme depressive disorders

One thing to keep in mind is that even if you or a loved one shows symptoms of these disorders, a physician will need to be able to prove that the disability makes it impossible to either work with others or to handle routine tasks.

Social Security Disability Benefits Consultative Examination

Once you apply for Social Security Disability benefits, the SSA will likely require a mental consultative examination (CE). This examination will help to fill any holes your physician has left in your medical record. You can learn more about how the exam works here.

Your attorney may want you to take some paperwork or other information along with you. Make sure you discuss this with them before you go for your CE.

Qualifying for Social Security Disability for a mental health condition depends more on the symptoms you have than it does on the specific condition. The SSA evaluates how an individual interacts with other people and if they can handle living or working independently.

What to Expect From the Process

When you apply for disability for a mental health condition for yourself or a loved one, unless you meet the criteria for the SSA’s listed mental health conditions, the initial application will likely be denied – in fact, nearly 80% of claims are denied in the initial application round. If your claim has been denied and you need support with a disability claim for mental health, Disability Associates can help.

We’ve worked with thousands of applicants over the last 20 years to provide the help they need to get the benefits they deserve. Give us a call at 410.686.2227 or contact us on the website for more information.