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Social Security Benefits and Mental Disabilities

What are the qualifications?

If you or a loved one has a mental disability, you may be eligible for Social Security Disability Benefits. Mental illness and disability - like any physical ailment - can be debilitating. Just like individuals with severe physical illness or disability, persons with serious mental illness or disability may qualify for Social Security Benefits as well. Do you or a loved one suffer from a severe obsessive-compulsive disorder, bipolar disorder or manic depression? These brain disorders may entitle you to benefits.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), most Social Security payments amount to approximately $900 every month. In many states, benefits are coupled with Medicare and Supplemental Security Income with Medicaid. However, the specific programs may vary from state to state. Many times, qualifying for Social Security Disability benefits is highly beneficial - if not imperative - in order to obtain benefits from other local programs. If you or a loved one suffers from a disabling mental illness, you may be eligible to receive benefits.

According to NAMI, millions of people across the United States receive Social Security Benefits every year and approximately 2.5 million new applications are filed annually. The Social Security Administration accepts or rejects applications based on the applicant's ability to work. For instance, you or a loved one has a disability that does not affect your ability to obtain or maintain a job, you may not qualify for benefits. On the other hand, if your disability keeps you from obtaining working or keeping a job, you may be eligible.

Other Considerations

If you or your loved one suffers from a clear mental illness, you will not automatically qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). According to NAMI, the Social Security Administration takes for variables into consideration when considering your application:

  • Earnings - First, the Social Security Administration will take your monthly income into consideration. If you are able to make $900 a month, your application will probably not qualify. Remember: SSDI benefits are determined by your ability to work, not you actual disability. If you are disabled but hold a steady job, the Social Security Administration probably won't accept your application.
  • Degree of Disability - The Social Security Administration will also consider the severity of your mental illness. For instance, if your ability interferes with work, and basic activates, you may be eligible for benefits. If your illness does not keep you from completing basic, work-related tasks, your application will probably be denied.
  • Medical Criteria - If your medical conditions meet the medical criteria for SSDI (as determined by the Social Security Administration), your application may be accepted. Depending on the complexity of your medical conditions, the SSDI may be able to decide your case relatively quickly. Other cases take more time.
  • Work - If you are unable to participate in the same type of work that you were able to achieve in the past 15 years, the Social Security Administration will take into consideration whether or not you are able to work in another vocation. If you are unable to sustain any type of job, your application is more likely to be accepted.

Disability Programs

There are a variety of Social Security programs available to individuals in the United States. Sometimes, disabled individuals are eligible to receive payment from multiple Social Security programs. For instance, you may be eligible to receive benefits from Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social SSDI. Generally speaking, SSI is designed to help people who are disabled, unable to work and financially challenged; SSDI targets people who cannot work because of a disability but were able to work in the past. For instance, if you or a loved one held a steady job, developed a mental illness and became unable to work, SSDI may be appropriate. Generally speaking, SSDI payments are larger than SSI benefits. The amount of money you are eligible to receive depends on several variables, including your work history and other factors.

Types of Mental Disorders

According to the Social Security Administration, there are a multitude of mental illnesses and disorders that may allow you the receive SSDI. Organic mental disorders involve abnormalities (behavioral or psychological) that are caused by a problem in the brain. These types of disorders can be attributed to an organic problem. Many times, organic mental disorders result in disorientation, personality change, mood swings, and lost cognitive abilities.

Schizophrenic and paranoid disorders, also called psychotic disorders, are characterized by psychosis. For instance, individual suffering from this type of disorder may experience delusions or hallucinations. Additionally, they may be grossly disorganized, catatonic, incoherent, and think illogically. Many people suffering psychotic disorders are impaired by their social skills, too. For instance, they may speak bluntly, flatly or inappropriately. Additionally, psychotic mental disorders may cause emotional withdrawal.

Affective disorders involve mood swings and manic depressive behavior. Generally speaking, the individual's entire physic life is disrupted by extended periods of depression or other strong emotions. Affective disorders may be characterized by a pervasive loss of interest in normal activates, change in weight, loss of appetite, inability to sleep, decreased energy, extreme feelings of guilt, suicidal thoughts, hyperactivity, distractibility or inflated self-esteem.

Zendeh Del Law Firm, PLLC

Our firm is dedicated to helping people with mental illnesses and disabilities get the benefits they need and deserve. If you or a loved one suffers forma debilitating illness and is unable to work, talk to a lawyer from the firm today. If you have already applied but been denied benefits, a lawyer form the firm may be able to help you ask for a reconsideration, administrative hearing or appeal. Contact us today and see how a lawyer from the firm can help.

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Practice Areas
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Am I Eligible for Benefits?
Amount of Monthly Benefits
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Dire Needs Claim
Do’s and Don’t's
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Expediting Your Hearing
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Social Security and Mental Illness
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SSDI and Mental Illness
SSDI Over 50 Years Old
Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
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