What mental disorders qualify for Social Security disability?

Mental disorders qualifying someone to receive Social Security disability benefits not only include serious mental illnesses like schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and general psychosis but also severe depression, anxiety, phobias and obsessive-compulsive disorder. The SSA may approve a claim for a mental disorder if the applicant proves they cannot engage in “gainful” employment, cannot be trained sufficiently enough to maintain employment and has suffered from the mental disorder for at least one year.

What Categories of Mental Disorders are found in the SSA Blue Book?

Medical and clinical information needed to be approved for Social Security disability is the same for both SSI and SSDI benefits. A disabling mental disorder should fall into one or more of the following categories:

  • Psychotic disorders: schizophrenia, schizo-affective, paranoid delusions and psychosis may qualify an applicant for a Compassionate Allowance. This type of benefit allows applicants to begin receiving SSA payments almost immediately.
  • Organic disorders: dementia, Alzheimer’s disease and other conditions affecting the brain physically typically qualify for SSI or SSDI benefits.
  • Anxiety and depression: major depression, panic disorder, phobias and generalized anxiety disorder may prevent someone from earning a living. However, applicants must demonstrate unequivocally that their anxiety and/or depression has not responded to treatment and continues interfere significantly with an applicant’s quality of life.
  • Personality disorders: applicants diagnosed with severe personality disorders such as schizoid, paranoid, schizotypal, obsessive-compulsive or antisocial may qualify for Social Security disability.

Is Getting Approved by the SSA Difficult for People with a Mental Disorder?

It could be. Diagnosing mental health issues is, in some cases, a subjective call since most mental disorders do not involve physical abnormalities affecting the brain. When determining whether an applicant is indeed disabled by a mental disorder, the SSA will also take a person’s ability to perform daily activities and household tasks into account before approving or denying the application. Not including the appropriate documentation written by psychiatrists, psychologists, physicians and counselors could delay processing of an SSI or SSDI benefits application.

For assistance with compiling an application for a mental disorder, call Decker Law Office today to schedule a consultation with an experienced disability lawyer.