Social Security Disability is often presumed to be only for physical limitations. However, there is a set of afflictions that are not easily noticeable but equally limiting to those suffering from them. Their manual – better known as The Blue Book – lists mental disorders as potentially qualifying to secure Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income.
The book also lists autism, developmental and intellectual disabilities, and dementia. While not officially considered mental health conditions, suffering from these disabling afflictions could lead to diagnoses of depression or other mental illnesses that often result.
Seven mental health disorders are listed and include:
- Schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders
- Depressive and bipolar disorders
- Anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorders
- Somatic symptom and related disorders
- Personality and impulse-control disorders
- Eating disorders
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Criteria for qualification are similar to physical illnesses or injuries in that it requires a disorder that prevents someone from working at least 12 months or could cause their death. Evidence of extreme or marked limitations can take the form of:
- Reviewing medical records and treatment history
- First-hand accounts from friends, loved ones, and employers
- Possible access to services for support and treatment
Those suffering from schizophrenia, depression, and PTSD must be found to have a “serious and persistent” condition that lasted for two years in place of the above-listed limitations.
Regardless of the nature of the disability, the application process can be lengthy, frustrating, and discouraging. Initial denials seem to be the rule, not the exception. A powerful bureaucracy combined with a complex process practically mandates an attorney’s help possessing the necessary skills, experience, and – equally as important – compassion.