Each year, 1 in 5 U.S. adults experience mental illness. Out of these 1 in 25 U.S. adults live with serious mental illness (SMI).
"Mental health" and "behavioral health" refer to the cognitive, behavioral, and emotional well-being of people. It all comes down to how people think, feel, and act. Whereas, health practitioners use the term "serious mental illness" (SMI) to designate the most severe mental health problems. One or more major living activities are considerably hampered or limited by these disorders affecting the residual functional capacity of the affected.
Mental health disorders can include various types of impairments including substance abuse and addiction, eating disorders, anxiety and panic disorders, depression, schizophrenia, Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), bipolar disorder, postpartum depression, and so on.
How Does Mental Impairment Qualify for SSDI
Mental illness, according to the American Psychiatric Association, is a health condition characterised by "changes in emotion, thinking, or behavior—or a mix of these."
Mental diseases can have a significant influence on daily life if left untreated, affecting your ability to work, care for your family, and relate to and interact with others. There is no shame in having a mental illness, just as there is no guilt in having diabetes or heart disease. Support and treatment are accessible.
Meeting Disability Requirements by SSA for Mental Health Impairments
The Social Security Administration has listed the following in eligible conditions for mental health disorders:
- - Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), anxiety and other psychotic disorders
- - Bipolar Disorder, depression, and other related disorders
- - Schizophrenia
- - Neurocognitive disorders
- - Autism spectrum disorders
- - Personality and impulsive control disorders
- - Intellectual development disorders
- - Somatic symptoms and other related disorders
- - Neuro-developmental disorders
- - Trauma (such as PTSD) and stressor-related disorders
By reading your statements on the application, mental health professionals' clinical notes, third-party questionnaires (friends are contacted and asked about the applicant's condition and normal daily routine), and an ADL (activities of daily living) questionnaire, disability examiners determine whether an applicant meets the requirements for a mental listing.
To improve your chances of qualifying for mental illnesses such as Schizophrenia, OCD, bipolar disorder, anxiety, etc, it is important that you prove to the SSA that these conditions impair your ability to perform daily functional activities. You can do so by
- - Seeing a health professional regularly (preferably psychiatrists or psychologists) and have all medical records with you to show to your disability examiner (DE),
- - Letting your doctor know how your condition affects your daily functioning abilities and testify to it,
- - Taking the medicine the doctor prescribed to you
(*If the SSA finds out that you haven't been following your doctor's prescriptions due to which your condition worsened, you may be denied your SSDI application now and even later).
What to do if you don't meet the SSDI requirements for Mental Health?
You may be qualified for disability even if your condition isn't as severe as the SSA's blue book listing for your mental health condition requires, but you've been diagnosed with a chronic mental illness that prevents you from working.
Depending on your mental limitations, age, education level, and job skills, you may be eligible for a "medical-vocational allowance" if your mental RFC (residual functional capacity) reveals that you have intellectual, social, or functional limitations that affect your productivity or ability to sustain full-time skilled work, semi-skilled, or unskilled work.
If you or your loved one is suffering from any of the major mental health conditions and are not sure how to proceed with your SSDI application, you may consult our expert disability attorneys for legal guidance.