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Which mental health disorders can qualify for SSDI?

Mental health issues are difficult to cope with, and when one causes you to have to stop working, you may be wondering about Social Security Disability or SSDI. Mental health conditions do qualify for SSDI, but you have to qualify under the SSA's definition of disability. The National Alliance on Mental Illness reports that about 35.2 percent of all SSDI recipients receive it because of a mental health condition. SSDI requires not only a disability but also a past work requirement to qualify. Another type of assistance is called SSI, which is based on disability and financial need. 

The SSA lists 11 different categories of mental disorders. To have your application approved for SSDI, you must demonstrate medical criteria that you have the disorder and provide documentation on how the mental disorder limits your functioning in a work setting that meets the SSA guidelines. It can be a very complex part of your application. Here are some of the disorders that the SSA does evaluate as part of your claim:

  • Neurocognitive disorders, which can include dementia, traumatic brain injury and Parkinson's disease
  • Schizophrenia spectrum, including schizophrenia
  • Depressive and bipolar disorders
  • Anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorders
  • Personality and impulse-control disorders, including borderline, paranoid and intermittent explosive disorder
  • Autism spectrum disorders
  • Neurodevelopmental disorders, such as borderline intellectual functioning
  • Eating disorders
  • Trauma- and stressor-related disorders, such as PTSD 

Currently, substance abuse is not considered a valid disability, nor can a substance abuse issue contribute to your disability. 

The evidence required to demonstrate the issue and the disability is quite extensive. When you work with an SSDI lawyer, you can present a stronger case because you are relying on the knowledge of someone who has experience in the system. If you have paid into Social Security and become disabled, you should take advantage of the benefits due to you. Reduce your stress over the complex application process by working with someone who understands the process. 

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