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Can People With Mental Illnesses Receive Social Security Disability?

 Posted on June 11, 2021 in Social Security Disability

Dallas SSDI attorneysThere are a variety of conditions that can affect a person’s ability to maintain employment and earn enough income to support themselves. Fortunately, Social Security disability benefits, including Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI), are available for those who suffer from debilitating conditions.

In addition to serious physical conditions that limit the types of work-related activities a person can perform, there are multiple types of mental illnesses that may allow a person to qualify for disability benefits. However, proving that a person’s condition is severe enough to be considered a disability can often be a complex process, and those who are applying for Social Security disability benefits will want to work with an experienced attorney to ensure that they provide the correct information to demonstrate the need for financial assistance.

Mental Health Conditions That May Qualify for Disability Benefits

To be considered a disability, a person’s condition must prevent them from participating in substantial gainful activity (SGA), and it must have lasted or be expected to last for at least one year. The Social Security Administration’s “Blue Book” lists several categories of mental disorders that may cause a person to be disabled.

These include:

  • Neurocognitive disorders - These conditions affect a person’s memory, judgment, speech and language, as well as their ability to reason, make plans and decisions, and pay attention to tasks. Conditions in this category include dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Psychotic disorders - These conditions involve hallucinations, delusions, and disorganized speech and behavior. Conditions in this category include schizophrenia.
  • Depressive and bipolar disorders - These conditions may involve depression, irritability, elevated mood, loss of interest in activities, hopelessness, suicidal thoughts, sleep disorders, problems with impulse control, and withdrawal from social activities.
  • Intellectual disorders - These conditions involve intellectual functioning that is below average, affecting a person’s conceptual, practical, and social skills.
  • Anxiety disorders - These conditions involve excessive worry and fear that may cause a person to avoid certain people, places, or activities, as well as difficulty concentrating, fatigue, obsessions, and panic attacks. Conditions in this category include generalized anxiety disorder, agoraphobia, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.
  • Personality disorders - These conditions involve inflexibility, distrust of others, social detachment, hypersensitivity to criticism, perfectionism, difficulty making decisions, and excessive anger. 
  • Autism spectrum disorders - These conditions involve issues with social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication, repetitive behavior, hyperactivity, impulsiveness, short attention spans, behavioral problems, and difficulties with sensory stimuli.
  • Neurodevelopmental disorders - These conditions involve difficulties with learning, visual perception, memory, impulse control, tolerating frustration, organization, and social skills. Conditions in this category include learning disorders and Tourette syndrome.
  • Eating disorders - These conditions involve problems with eating behavior and obsession with one’s weight and body, which may lead to mood disorders, social withdrawal, and cardiac issues. Conditions in this category include anorexia, bulimia, and binge-eating disorder.
  • Trauma-related disorders - After experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event, a person may experience distressing memories, flashbacks, troubling dreams, loss of interest in activities, anxiety, irritability, and difficulty concentrating. Conditions in this category include post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Contact Our Plano Social Security Disability Attorneys

While mental health issues can be just as disabling as physical conditions, it can sometimes be difficult to prove that these types of conditions are severe enough to be considered disabilities. At the Law Offices of Coats & Todd, we can help you apply for disability benefits and ensure that you provide the correct information to show that you are disabled, and we can also help you appeal a denied claim. Contact our Dallas Social Security disability lawyers today at 972-671-9922 to schedule a free case evaluation and learn how we can help you receive the benefits you deserve.



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