mental illness

Social Security Disability Benefits for Mental Illness

If you suffer from mental illness, you may be entitled to Social Security disability benefits. However, in order to qualify, you must meet guidelines established by the Social Security Administration (“SSA”). In this article, we review the requirements to qualify for Social Security disability benefits for mental illness. 

How to Qualify

The first thing you must do to qualify for Social Security disability benefits is proving that you suffer from:

  • an organic mental disorder
  • an affective disorder
  • an anxiety disorder
  • autism or a related disorder
  • mental retardation
  • a personality disorder
  • schizophrenia, paranoia, or some other psychotic disorder
  • a somatoform disorder
  • a substance addiction

The SSA evaluates each of the above mental disorders according to its own set of criteria. In order to qualify for benefits for any of the above conditions, you must be able to demonstrate that you meet these criteria.

Although the specific requirements to qualify for Social Security disability benefits vary depending on the type of disorder, you generally must have medical documentation demonstrating that your disorder affects your ability to function despite treatment. Specifically, you must be able to demonstrate that 

  • you have been in treatment for at least two years and can’t function outside of a supportive environment, or
  • your condition prevents you from reasonably being expected to function in a work environment

Other Qualifying Conditions

The following conditions may also qualify you for Social Security disability benefits:

  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
  • Dysthymia
  • Eating disorders
  • Hallucinations
  • Intellectual disability
  • Memory loss
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Panic attacks
  • Postpartum depression
  • Asperger’s syndrome
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Chronic insomnia
  • Depression
  • Drug addiction
  • Mood disorder
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Schizoaffective disorder
  • Social anxiety

Benefits for Adults with Mental Illness

The SSA provides disability benefits through the following two programs:

  • Social Security Disability Insurance (“SSDI”)
  • Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”)

SSDI is available to disabled adults who have paid into the Social Security program. SSI is only available to applicants who meet strict limitations on assets and income. If you have no work history, you can’t qualify for SSDI. And if you have financial support from family or friends, you may not be able to qualify for SSI. In order to explore your options, you should contact an attorney as soon as possible. 

Contact Our El Paso SSDI and SSI Attorney 

If you or a family member suffer from mental illness, you should contact a Texas SSDI and SSI attorney for assistance. When you choose attorney Jon Sipes to handle your SSDI or SSI claim, he will walk you through the SSDI or SSI application process and do everything in his power to ensure that your SSDI or SSI claim is successful. Jon Sipes regularly helps people who suffer from mental illness obtain SSDI and SSI, and he understands what it takes to obtain benefits under the SSDI and SSI programs. If you’re ready to get started, please contact us today to schedule a free consultation.