Let Our Baltimore Social Security Disability Attorney Help You Obtain Disability Benefits for Mental Illness
Mental health disorders can be challenging to live with and are sometimes difficult to diagnose. Some individuals living with a serious mental health condition struggle with handling basic functions in life such as working, interacting with others, handling stress, processing information, and making decisions, among other basic functions. For some, their mental health condition is or becomes so severe that they cannot maintain stable employment to provide for themselves. Many people do not realize that the federal government provides some help and financial assistance to those with certain mental health conditions. There are two federal programs administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA) that provide monthly financial assistance (and, in some cases, health insurance) to people unable to work because of a mental illness –Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
Mental Health Disorders and SSDI
The SSA sometimes recognizes a mental disorder as a “disability” that may qualify an applicant for benefits. There are 11 different categories of mental disorders that the SSA looks at including:
- Neurocognitive disorders
- Schizophrenia spectrum and other psychotic disorders
- Depression, bipolar, and related disorders
- Intellectual disorders
- Anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorders
- Somatic symptom and related disorders
- Personality and impulse-control disorders
- Autism spectrum disorder
- Neurodevelopmental disorders
- Eating disorders
- PTSD, trauma- and stressor-related disorders
When an SSD examiner is reviewing an application for disability and considering whether a mental condition is a disability, he or she will look at certain requirements. First, mental disorders must typically include certain medical criteria. Additionally, each disorder must provide evidence of issues with mental functioning in at least two areas, such as the ability to understand, remember, or apply information; interact with others; concentrate; persist or maintain pace;, and adopt or manage oneself. Some disorders must also also be serious and persistent over a period of time to be considered a disability.
Mental Disorders That Could Qualify for SSD and SSDI Benefits
There are a variety of different types and categories of mental disorders that could qualify an applicant for SSD or SSDI benefits. Below are just a small sampling of examples:
- Neurocognitive disorders are characterized by a clinically significant decline in the ability to function on a cognitive level. Symptoms may include disturbances in memory, issues with visual-spatial functioning, and insensitivity to social standards, among other issues. Examples of disorders that would fit into this category include dementia of the Alzheimer type, Parkinsonian syndrome, Huntington disease, or traumatic brain injury, among others.
- Autism spectrum disorders are characterized by the SSA as “qualitative deficits in the development of reciprocal social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication skills, and symbolic or imaginative activity; restricted repetitive and stereotyped patterns of behavior, interests, and activities; and stagnation of development or loss of acquired skills early in life.” Examples of symptoms include, but are not limited to, abnormalities and unevenness in the development of cognitive skills, short attention span, impulsivity, and self-injurious actions, among other symptoms. Some types of Autism include Asperger’s Disorder, Autistic Disorder, Childhood Disintegrative Disorder, Rett’s Disorder, and Pervasive Developmental Disorder.
SSD and SSI Benefits for Mental Disorders
To qualify for SSDI, an applicant must have an impairment that prevents the individual from working (or engaging in substantial gainful activity as defined by the SSA) for at least 12 months. Applicants for SSDI must also have worked for at least 5 of the last 10 years, paid into the Social Security program, and earned enough work credits to qualify. SSI will pay benefits to an individual who has a qualifying disability and also has limited income and resources. SSI focuses more on the financial need of disabled applicants and considers their assets.
When you or a loved one suffers from a mental illness, completing the disability application can be stressful and feel impossible. Your main focus should be getting the treatment you or your loved one needs to get better, not handling extensive paperwork that the government needs to process your disability benefits claim. An experienced Baltimore Social Security disability attorney at the Law Office of Emmett B. Irwin can help you or your family member with the disability application process. Our team can help with completing the actual application as well as the process of gathering all of the necessary evidence you need to support your disability claim. Our experienced SSD attorneys can represent you through the entire process, from the very beginning with the initial application all the way to appeals, if necessary.
Next Steps: Contact a Baltimore Social Security Attorney at The Law Office of Emmett B. Irwin Now for a Free Consultation
Do you or a loved one have a mental health disorder that interferes with working and carrying out basic life functions? If so, contact a Baltimore disability attorney at the Law Office of Emmett B. Irwin. Our team is here to help you with your disability claim. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation to discuss your disability case. We work with clients throughout Maryland and surrounding states.