A mental health condition can significantly impair someone’s ability to work or even take care of themselves. While physical disabilities might be more visible, mental health conditions are equally valid when it comes to qualifying for Social Security Disability (SSDI) benefits.
In 2020, roughly 2.4 million people were receiving SSDI benefits due to mental health disorders. The conditions they have range from severe depression and anxiety disorders to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and schizophrenia, along with many others. Therefore, it’s possible to make a successful claim for SSDI with a psychiatric diagnosis.
How are mental health claims evaluated?
If you file an SSDI claim due to a mental health disorder, the Social Security Administration (SSA) has to follow the same procedure that they would follow for a physical disability. That means they will look at:
- The medical documentation: The more clearly your mental health struggles are documented, the easier it will be to prove your claim. Doctor’s notes, treatment records and psychiatric evaluations can help establish a diagnosis and show that you have made unsuccessful attempts to control your illness.
- How your condition impairs your ability to function: You have to show that your mental health problems are severe enough to prevent you from working. Failed attempts to work in the past, frequent disciplinary action from your employers or a string of terminations may lend weight to your claim.
- The length your condition has persisted: SSDI is only available for people who have a condition that is expected to be disabling for 12 months or longer (or end in death). Therefore, the more pervasive and long-standing your condition is, the more likely you are to be approved.
If you have a severe mental health condition that prevents you from working, don’t be intimidated by the SSDI application process. Getting legal guidance can help.