Invest Wisely

Understand: Department of Social Security Disability Benefits

by Mark Sander5 min read
Department of Social Security Disability

When a person’s disease or condition makes it impossible for him or her to continue working, he or she is qualified to receive benefits under through the Department of Social Security Disability.

Severe physical injuries, disease and disability can qualify you for disability benefits so long as it interrupts a person’s work life. But what about mental health issues?

If a person suffers from mental health problems and can no longer work temporarily or permanently, where is he or she supposed to get money to pay the bills, buy food and other financial needs?

Disability Definition

The Department of Social Security Disability benefit is just a little over $1000. It may not be much, but for someone who can no longer work or support their family- this meager amount means a lot.

However, the SSA defines the word”disability”rather strictly. The condition must be expected to last at least a year or cause death. It must be debilitating that the person can no longer perform their work or take on any other work based on past work experience and other factors like age and education.

So does mental health conditions qualify as a disability? In some forms, yes.


 Disability and Mental Health Problems

It is very important that we monitor our mental health and undergo check ups every once in a while. Recognizing the illness at its early onset is our best chance to cure it right away. You would probably be surprised to know that one out of twenty Americans have a serious mental illness from bipolor disorders to schizophrenia and severe depression.

27% of those with severe mental health illnessesreceive Department of Social Security Disability benefits.

If you are worried for a family memberwho you think might be suffering from a mental condition, encourage them to see a physician or psychotherapist as soon as they can.

Since the SSA defines disability based on their capacity to function or perform their work and mental illnesses can definitely affect it, it is part of the definition of disability.

However, you should know that not all mental health symptoms or diagnosis qualify as a disability. Disability approval is based on mental impairment and the SSA looks at it the same way they do with physical impairments. it’s not the diagnosis per se, but the person’s functional capacity that is focused on.

The Department of Social Security Disability uses a wide variety of information to evaluate mental impairments. A person’s functionality in social and work environments are taken into consideration as well as medical information about the disability application’s day to day activities.

However, the Department of Social Security Disability actually has a disability handbook or ‘blue book’ as it is commonly called, that lists down criteria for mental disorders that falls under their definition of disability. Some illnesses listed are:

  • Organic mental disorders
  • Schizophrenia,
  • Mental retardation
  • Anxiety-related disorders
  • Somatoform disorders
  • Severe depression and bipolar disorders
  • Substance addiction
  • Autism

Should a disability applicant’s mental health problem meet the criteria for one of these illnesses, he or she can quality and be approved for disability benefits.


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