Can mental illness be considered a disability?

Mental illness can be considered a disability by the Social Security Administration. That said, not every type of mental illness is considered a disability by the SSA for the purposes of receiving disability benefits.

At Morgan & Morgan, we understand how mental illness can ruin your quality of life. However, Social Security disability benefits could play a significant role in getting your life back together. That is why our attorneys are here to help.

More answers to commonly asked questions

Social Security disability includes anxiety and anxiety-related disorders, depression, autism, intellectual disability, learning disabilities, and ADHD. In addition, the SSA might also consider other mental problems emanating from traumatic brain injuries, certain types of dementia, Alzheimer’s, and age-related memory problems.

Other covered conditions include but are not limited to schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

To qualify for Social Security disability benefits based on anxiety disorder, you must provide medical evidence that proves that you have at least one of the following:

  • You experience constant irrational fear
  • You have recurring unpredictable panic attacks that occur at least weekly
  • You have recurring compulsions and obsessions that lead to significant distress
  • You have persistence anxiety with symptoms such as apprehensive expectations, motor tension, etc

To qualify for social security disability benefits based on intellectual disability, you or your loved one must provide medical records showing any of the following conditions:

  • You need help with certain personal needs, such as using the bathroom, eating, and bathing
  • You have an IQ of less than 60
  • You have an IQ less than 70 combined with other mental or physical conditions limiting your ability to function in a work environment, activities of daily living, or social environments

Yes, you might be able to qualify for Social Security benefits based on personality disorders if you can prove that the conditions prevent you from adapting to social or work situations and that the condition has caused you long-term problems. In addition, the disorder must have caused at least one of the following symptoms:

  • Dependence
  • Passiveness
  • Autistic thinking
  • Inappropriate hostility
  • Aggressiveness
  • Impulsive, damaging behavior
  • Regular mood disturbances
  • Odd thoughts or behavior

The SSA will need different types of evidence to evaluate a mental disorder. First, they’ll need objective medical evidence from an acceptable medical source to prove that you have a medically determinable mental disorder. Secondly, they will need evidence to assess just how severe your mental illness is. To make this determination, the SSA will review the facts of your specific mental illness.

Typically, the SSA will accept evidence from medical sources such as your physician, psychologist, physician assistant, psychiatric nurse practitioners, clinical mental health counselors, licensed clinical social workers, etc.

In addition, they might also consider evidence from you and people who know you. With your permission, the agency may contact your family, friends, neighbors, caregivers, social workers, case managers, etc., to learn more about your mental illness.

The amount you should expect from the SSA as compensation for your mental illness will depend on several factors. To begin with, to qualify as a child, you must have a disability that has lasted or is expected to last no less than 12 months. On the other hand, to qualify as an adult, you must have a disability that prevents you from working a regular job for a prolonged period.

This amount also varies depending on certain economic factors, such as the cost of living for that particular year. For example, in 2022, the maximum monthly payment is as follows:

  • $841 for a qualifying individual
  • $1261 for a qualifying couple (meaning both couples have a disability)
  • $421 for an essential individual, mostly a caregiver

That said, the SSA will also review your assets. For instance, to qualify for social security benefits based on mental illness, you cannot have assets exceeding $2000 in value if you’re single and $3000 if married. However, it is important to note that these assets do not include things like your primary car, wedding rings, home, etc.

It can take anywhere between three to five months to approve a disability based on mental illness. However, due to government backlogs and other unavoidable circumstances, the waiting time could be longer than usual. In addition, mistakes in your application or failure to provide enough information to prove your disability could delay your benefits. For this reason, it is always advisable to consult an experienced social security disability attorney before submitting your application.

Because the Social Security application process is complex, an experienced attorney can help review your specific circumstances and provide the best possible legal advice and assistance you need to proceed. Statistically, having a Social Security disability attorney significantly increases your chances of obtaining a favorable outcome from the SSA. Such an attorney can help fill out the application on your behalf, review it for mistakes, and communicate directly with the SSA to ensure the best possible outcome.

If the SSA rejects your application, an experienced attorney can file an appeal on your behalf and build an even stronger case to prove your disability.

At Morgan and Morgan, our social security disability attorneys can fight for you or your loved one to obtain the benefits you need. The best part of working with us is that we have powerful legal resources and the experience to fight for you. All you need to do is fill out our free case evaluation form to get started.