Jeannie suffered from depression. From the time she was a teenager, she struggled with it, along with ADHD and anxiety. Her conditioned worsened at one point, and she was unable to continue working. However, she still needed an income and started looking into Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income. Jeannie wondered if it was going to be hard to prove that her mental illness is a disability.
Mental Disorders That May Qualify
The Social Security Administration (SSA) maintains a list of impairments that might qualify as disabilities. Section 12.00, Mental Disorders, contains information about a number of conditions, including:
- Neurocognitive disorders may affect memory, decision making, judgment, language, and speech.
- Schizophrenia and psychotic disorders may cause hallucinations, social withdrawal, and paranoia.
- Depressive, bipolar, and related disorders affect moods, cause loss of interests or pleasure in activities, and suicidal ideation.
- Intellectual disorders refer to below-average intellectual functioning.
- Anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder symptoms may cause excessive anxiety, worry, fear, avoidance, restlessness, and panic attacks.
- Somatic symptom and related disorders may be difficult to provide. Some of the symptoms relate to physical conditions like fatigue, gastrointestinal problems, and so on.
- Personality and impulse-control disorders may include distrust, social detachment, and impulsivity.
We’re not able to list every mental illness in this article. However, it is obvious that some mental disorders qualify as disabilities under the SSA’s definition of disability. The problem is proving that mental illness is a disability.
Evidence That Mental Illness Is a Disability
Several conditions must be met for any medical condition to be considered a disability. You may be considered disabled if:
- You cannot perform the work that you did before becoming disabled;
- You cannot perform any other substantial gainful activity due to your disability; and
- The disability caused by your condition has lasted one year, is expected to last for one year, or is expected to cause your death.
The SSA will need medical evidence of your mental illness. This is where it becomes hard to prove that mental illness is a disability. Necessary medical evidence includes:
- “objective medical evidence from an acceptable medical source;”
- Reported symptoms;
- Your medical, psychiatric, and psychological history;
- Results of examinations and interviews;
- Types of medication and therapy used;
- Side effects of medication that might prevent you from functioning at work; and
- How long your ability to function will be affected.
There are many moving parts to an SSDI claim that involves mental illness, from diagnosis to treatment to the question of disability.
It’s Not Always Easy to Prove That Mental Illness Is a Disability
The attorneys at The Law Offices of Martin Taller have helped many clients receive the disability benefits they deserve. For a free consultation, call us at 714-385-8100. Though our office is located in Anaheim, we assist clients throughout Southern California.