Disabling medical conditions come in many forms. The average person would recognize degenerative conditions and severe injuries like tetraplegia as disabilities. When it comes to mental health issues, things become a little less clear.
Although there are specific diagnostic criteria for mental health conditions, people sometimes don’t think of them as truly disabling the way that physical conditions are. However, those who have struggled with post-traumatic stress disorders or severe depression know just how extreme the impact of these conditions can be.
In cases where a mental health condition affects your ability to work or live on your own, you might potentially qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits. What kind of mental health conditions qualify?
The SSA recognizes many mental health conditions as disabling
The Social Security Administration (SSA) approaches disability claims in two ways. First, they have a list of specific diagnoses that typically qualifies someone for benefits. Beyond that, they have a basic standard for conditions that may qualify.
The SSA lists 11 distinct categories of mental health conditions that could potentially qualify someone for benefits. These categories include schizoaffective disorders, anxiety disorders, depressive disorders, somatic disorders, intellectual disorders, neurocognitive disorders, autism spectrum disorders and personality disorders, among others.
How can you tell if your condition qualifies?
Those with a diagnosis of a significant mental health disorder can potentially qualify. However, they will need documentation about the severity of their condition and how long it will likely persist. As with any other disabling condition, a mental health issue needs to last for at least a year or life to qualify someone for benefits.
The more severe it is and the more medical documentation there is validating the issue, the easier it will be to qualify. Hospitalization for mental health conditions can sometimes help show the severity of a mental health issue if the diagnosis alone isn’t compelling.
Don’t let your doubts hold you back
The SSA is notorious for denying benefits even to people with serious conditions. Tenacity and patience are often necessary to get benefits. Unfortunately, those with significant mental health issues may struggle to continue advocating for themselves during the often protracted disability application process.
Connecting with the right support and information can make it easier for you to claim disability benefits when you need them.