Can You Get Social Security Disability For A Mental Illness?

Posted on: 3 February 2015

Social security disability is a benefit provided to many people in the United States, allowing you to earn monetary benefits if you are unable to work. The tricky part is providing that your disability warrants social security disability representation. One of the more difficult types of disabilities is a mental illness. There are some mental illnesses that are known to get in the way of working a regular job, while others will definitely need an attorney to get approval.

Here is what you should know about getting social security disability for a mental illness:

Social Security Disability Requirements

In general, you must be able to show that you have a disability keeping you from working a regular, full-time job. This would mean you can't keep a full-time job for a substantial period of time, which is usually around one year. The Social Security Administration also wants to look at how much you earn.

If you earn a decent wage from a part time job, they will most likely deny your request for social security disability. However, if because of your mental illness, you don't even make enough to support yourself, then you might be approved for benefits.

Types of Social Security

You also need to be aware of the difference between supplemental security income and social security disability insurance. For a mental illness, you will only qualify for one or the other. Social security disability insurance, or SSDI, is a type of benefit that is for people who have a good work history and have paid into this benefit.

When you get to a point where you can no longer work, you usually have a good chance at approval. Supplemental security income is for people who do not have a strong work history but still quality for social security disability benefits.

Mental Disorder Listings

A mental disorder listing is a condition that the SSA considers an illness that might get you social security disability coverage. While this is not a complete list, it includes many of the disorders that may get you this type of benefit:

  • Schizophrenia
  • Alzheimer's or other organic disorders
  • Personality disorders
  • Extreme anxiety
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Autism
  • Aspergers
  • Substance abuse disorder
  • Intellectual disability

The Importance of Medical Records

When you go to file a claim for social security disability, you must be able to prove your mental illness. This is done with medical records. If you have never seen a doctor for your mental illness, the SSA is not going to approve you for benefits. You should have medical records from a medical doctor, therapist or counselor, psychiatrist, psychologist, or from any time you were hospitalized or treated for your mental illness.