Does mental illness “count” as a disability for SSDI benefits?

On Behalf of | Sep 1, 2021 | Social Security Benefits

Perhaps you assumed that qualifying for SSDI (Social Security Disability) or SSI (Supplemental Security Income) meant solely that you could not perform work associated with a job because of a physical limitation. But what about mental illness?

Mental illness can be just as disabling as any physical condition, making it difficult or impossible for people who suffer from certain conditions to keep a schedule, remember new information, perform their work in a timely manner or successfully interact with customers and colleagues.

Mental illness most certainly can qualify as a disability for Social Security benefits

According to the American Association of Retired People (AARP), “The Blue Book, Social Security’s manual for evaluating disability claims, lists 11 types of what it calls “mental disorders” among the conditions that medically qualify adults to receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI).”

Among the mental issues that might qualify you for SSDI or SSI are anxiety, eating disorders, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and obsessive-compulsive disorders. It’s important to remember, however, that even if you don’t have a “listed” condition, that you can still qualify for benefits. (Having your condition listed in the Blue Book may simply make it easier to get approved, that’s all.)

The factors SSA considers when they make a decision on disability claims

As the AARP states, Social Security defines disability as “an impairment that prevents you from working for at least 12 months or likely will result in death.”  Social Security personnel may look at the following to make a ruling on your claim:

  • Whether anything can mitigate your condition enough for you to be employed
  • Comments from your doctor and others who know you
  • Any treatment(s) you have gotten for your condition 
  • Medical documentation you submit

Filing a claim for SSDI or SSI can be a complex, lengthy, detailed process. If you don’t have the know-how to get it done on your own, reach out for professional guidance, especially if you need to file an appeal.