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Mental disorders can qualify for benefits

For many Americans, a mental disorder is just as challenging as a physical condition. Both can make daily life or maintaining a career a struggle. Fortunately, the Social Security Administration (SSA) recognizes numerous mental conditions as well as physical ones. It is possible to apply for Social Security Disability benefits based on a wide range of physical and mental conditions.

When people hear the phrase Social Security Disability, the often think of physical injuries or conditions that prevent work. Section 12 of the SSA's Blue Book establishes guidelines for mental disorders that can also qualify for disability benefits. Each of the nine types of disorders is evaluated according to criteria established for that specific category. To qualify for benefits, an individual must show that he or she meets the criteria for that condition and is receiving treatment.

There are nine categories of mental disorders listed in the SSA's Blue Book:

  • Affective disorders
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Autism and related disorders
  • Mental retardation
  • Organic mental disorders
  • Personality disorders
  • Schizophrenia, paranoia and psychotic disorders
  • Somatoform disorders
  • Substance addiction

Each category of disorders has its own criteria. For example, psychotic disorders are typified by delusions, catatonia, disorganized behavior and illogical thinking among other conditions that severely impact an individual's ability to function in a work or social environment.

For all of the mental disorders, an individual must be able to prove that he or she is receiving and complying with the necessary treatment. If you or a loved one is struggling with a mental disorder that affects his or her ability to maintain a job, contact an experienced attorney who can explain your legal options for government benefits.

Source: Social Security Disability Help. "Mental Disorders and Social Security Disability," Access 2/3/2015

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