Social Security Disability Mental Health Criteria
Disability Benefits For Mental Health Issues
Disability takes many forms. Some people are physically disabled, suffering from injuries or deformities. Some people have pain and discomfort. Many people suffer from dangerous or potentially deadly physical conditions. These problems can vary widely.
However, physical disabilities are only one type of disability. There are also mental disabilities. Mental health disabilities are disorders of the mind and the brain. These disabling conditions affect the way people think, feel and behave.
Fortunately, the Social Security Administration (SSA) covers these types of disabilities as well. The SSA is a federal agency that provides many benefits to millions of people. People receive retirement and survivor’s benefits. Many people also receive Social Security Disability Mental Health benefits. In some cases, family members of the disabled also receive benefits.
Mental health benefits are regular, monthly payments.
Social Security Mental Disability Benefits
To receive these disability benefits from the SSA, a person must first apply. The SSA offers two types of social security disability (SSD). The first program is Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). The second program is Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
SSDI and SSI are different in important ways. SSDI is for disabled people who struggle to work full-time jobs. To qualify for SSDI, these individuals must have a work history, marked by work credits. An applicant can receive a maximum of four work credits for every year.
SSI is different. SSI does not require a work history of work credits. Rather, SSI requires that applicants are of limited means. To qualify, you cannot exceed a certain level of income and assets. Although SSI does not require that you are disabled, many applicants are disabled. To receive SSI Mental Disability benefits, you must prove your disabling condition.
Both SSI and SSDI use the same definition of disability. Mental Health Disability is included in this definition.
The Social Security Administration (SSA) will always look for total disability. In fact, the SSA only awards benefits for people with total disabilities. These disabilities must have lasted, or be expected to last, for at least 12 months. If the disability is expected to lead to death, that disability may also qualify. The condition must also prevent the individual from working normally.
If you can work a normal job, you probably won’t qualify. People with short-term or partial disabilities will be rejected. If your disability is not total, you should not apply for disability benefits.
The SSA is very specific about Mental Health Disorders. The disorder or condition must be “medically determinable.” In other words, the condition is proven by a doctor.
The SSA may sometimes ask for more proof. This evidence is used to make your disability claim stronger. It is a good idea to have all of your information ready. Gather as much evidence as you can, from personal doctors, specialists and more. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
When you are ready to apply, you have options. You can Apply For Mental Disability online. You can also apply by phone. You can even visit your local social security office. If you choose to apply by phone, you can call 1-800-772-1213.
However, there are important things you should know before applying. You may need to provide a lot of employment and work information. Again, you need to show that you are struggling to work. If you are able to work normally, you likely won’t qualify. Talk to your place of employment about receiving documentation. It is a good idea to have your W2s, pay stubs, and other proof of income and work capacity.
You can always go online to the SSA website. The SSA will tell you everything you need to have.
Determining Your Mental Disability Benefits
Remember, normal emotions and feelings are not the same as a mental disability. You may feel ‘depressed’ at times, but that does not necessarily mean you suffer from clinical depression. A mental disability is more severe and lasting than normal feelings and emotions.
The SSA may even require you to undergo a “consultative examination (CE).” This examination is often done by your own doctor(s). Sometimes, the SSA will consult an outside medical expert.
Your medical doctor may choose not to perform the exam. Some doctors simply don’t have the equipment the SSA requires. Sometimes, your doctor cannot do a certain test. In other cases, your medical files may have conflicts or errors.
If your personal doctor does not meet certain criteria, the SSA will require an outside exam.
Do not delay or avoid these important steps. A CE may provide the evidence you need to finally receive Mental Health Disability Benefits.
Your lawyer can counsel you in pursuing the necessary steps. Many lawyers understand the SSA’s rules and demands, and the reasons applicants are denied. Some lawyers even once worked for the SSA. These legal experts can help you through the entire application process. If need be, your attorney can also help you appeal a decision.
Typically, your mental health disability must match a listing in the SSA’s “blue book.” This book is used to show that you have a qualifying condition. In some cases, you may not meet a listing. In these cases, a disability attorney can help you prove that your condition ‘equals’ a listed condition. If your condition ‘equals,’ it is considered the same as a listed condition.
What Mental Disorders Qualify For Social Security Disability?
If you have a listed mental disability, you may be quickly approved for disability benefits. The SSA evaluates your mental disorder or disability based on the following 11 categories:
- Neurocognitive disorders
- Schizophrenia spectrum and other psychotic disorders
- Depressive, bipolar and related disorders
- Intellectual disorder
- Anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorders
- Somatic symptom and related disorders
- Personality and impulse-control disorders
- Autism spectrum disorder
- Neurodevelopmental disorders
- Eating disorders
- Trauma- and stressor-related disorders
Each category of mental disorders has different criteria. Symptoms may vary. Different types of medical evidence may be necessary. Sometimes, you will have to undergo multiple tests, from multiple medical specialists. You may even need vocational experts to show how your condition affects your work capacity.
Don’t be discouraged by this. If you are unsure, contact a lawyer. Consult the experts of Khattar Law, LLC today. Our attorneys are ready to help.