Social Security disability benefits for mental conditions

by Feb 21, 2020Frequently Asked Questions

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Many people think that a person must be physically disabled in order to receive social security disability benefits. However, you can receive Social Security disability benefits for mental conditions as well. There are several mental conditions that qualify for disability benefits. Let’s take a look at some of the criteria that determine eligibility for benefits.

Mental conditions & Social Security disability benefits

An individual can be born with mental conditions or disabilities. They can also develop mental conditions later in life. Additionally, head trauma, such as what you would receive in a car accident, could lead to a mental condition that qualifies for social security disability benefits. There are many different types of mental conditions that can receive benefits. They must be severe enough to keep an individual from being able to work or function in a consistent capacity.

Types of Mental Conditions for SSD

Neurocognitive disorders

  • Complex attention;
  • Executive function;
  • Learning and memory;
  • Language;
  • Perceptual-motor; or
  • Social cognition.

In addition to these conditions, they must limit the individual from being able to understand, remember, and apply information. Another option is that the condition limits their ability to interact with others. Additionally, the condition may cause them to not be able to concentrate or adapt to situations. In essence, this completely hinders their ability to work with others or function in a work environment.

Schizophrenia spectrum & other psychotic disorders

Schizophrenia can be proven with medical documentation. These types of mental disorders can completely negate an individual’s ability to work or function with others. They may experience hallucinations, odd behavior, or they may even be catatonic. These conditions can often be treated, but can still hinder the person’s ability to work consistently. In addition, medical documentation can prove this condition and can lead to social security disability benefits.

Depressive, bipolar and related disorders

Someone with one of these mental disorders may be severely depressed on a regular basis. They will also be detached or disassociated with others, groups, or activities around them. They may not be able to eat or sleep consistently. They will also have constant negative thoughts, such as feeling worthless, sadness, or guilt, as well as thoughts of suicide. A person with bipolar disorder may show signs of extreme mood changes.

Intellectual disorder

A person with an intellectual disorder may have significantly subaverage intellectual functions. They may not be able to adapt to their surroundings well. They will not be able to handle day-to-day functions on their own and might be extremely dependent on others for regular tasks such as eating, dressing or bathing. There are tests available for this disorder and if their IQ score is 70-75 or below they may fall into this category.

Anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorders

People with anxiety disorders may be restless, easily fatigued or irritable. They may also have difficulty concentrating, tense muscles, or inability to sleep. They may also suffer from panic attacks. They may also have exaggerated anxiety levels for normal situations such as travel, being in crowds or being out in the open.

Someone with obsessive-compulsive disorder may have intruding, unwanted thoughts. They will also attempt to reduce their anxiety by performing rituals and repetitive tasks. They may do this with an inability to control themselves.

Personality and impulse-control disorders

Anyone with a personality or impulse-control disorder will exhibit abnormal behavior. They will be suspicious of the people around them and distrusting of others. They will also be detached from relationships with others. The will also violate other people’s rights and personal space. In doing so, we will also have no regard for other people’s boundaries.

They may be excessively needy and show signs of constantly feeling inadequate. They may also have aggressive outbursts for attention. This mental condition can make it very difficult to hold employment or work with others.

Autism spectrum disorder

A person with Autism may be insufficient in verbal and non-verbal communication. They may be deficient in social interactions as well. They may also exhibit repetitive behavior patterns. They may restrict themselves from specific behavior or actions as well.

Neurodevelopmental disorders

Neurodevelopment disorders can make it difficult for someone to stay still. They may have trouble focusing or paying attention. They may also be very hyperactive. They may also have learning difficulties.

Eating disorder

Someone with an eating disorder may drastically alter their eating habits. Their eating habits may be very abnormal. They may exhibit behavior such as eating large quantities of food, or not eating enough to sustain nourishment.

Trauma- and stressor-related disorders

A good example of this disorder would be PTSD. A person may have been exposed to actual life-threatening events. They may relive those events and involuntarily re-experience those events in dreams, thoughts or flashbacks. They may also have trouble sleeping, be easily startled, etc.

Mental Conditions for Social Security DIsability

All of these disorders can make it extremely difficult just to lead a normal life. It may be even more difficult to work with these types of conditions. It has to be safe for their co-workers to work with them, and they cannot be a liability to themselves or the companies they may work for. These types of conditions may make it nearly impossible for them to perform their daily job tasks. They may not even be able to perform their day-to-day tasks in order to live.

The Social security Administration (SSA) will need to determine if an individual qualifies for social security disability. They must have a certain number of factors in each condition, combined with the inability to work, work with others, learn, or adapt to their surroundings.

These conditions must be proven through documentation and medical records. They will be submitted to the SSA for review to determine eligibility for benefits.

Do you or someone you know have a mental disorder? Need help with filing for SSD?

We understand the process may be intimidating or scary. However, our experienced team of attorneys can help you apply for SSD. To get started, complete our online evaluation form and one of our team members will reach out to you. To speak to us directly, call us at (865) 566-0800.