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Social Security disability benefits for mental conditions


Social Security disability benefits can provide financial relief to individuals suffering from medical conditions that include mental health conditions. For those who are unable to work on account of their disability, the SSD system can help them find the financial stability they need to focus on receiving adequate medical treatment and continue to live a normal life without fear of falling into deep poverty.

To qualify for SSD benefits, an applicant must meet work history and disability requirements. The Social Security Administration (SSA) uses its own definitions and criteria to diagnose disabilities, which may differ from medical definitions. This can be troublesome, particularly with mental health claims for Social Security disability benefits. These claims may include bipolar disorder, autism, or depression. Claims for benefits are not reviewed by professionals in the mental health field and individuals reviewing claims are not always well versed in mental health conditions.

It is important for an applicant to include evidence of his or her mental health condition and understand the qualifications for benefits eligibility. Those considering seeking benefits can consult the SSA's website to see how they may qualify as disabled under the agency's regulations, but they will likely have to submit medical reports of some sort. Clarity of the process may be obtained by discussing the matter with an experienced attorney.

A little over 35 percent of individuals that receive SSD benefits as of 2013 qualify for disability as a result of a mental health condition. Additional options, such as Supplemental Security Income, may be available to individuals that do not meet certain requirements to qualify for SSD benefits for mental health conditions, such as having a work history that is too short. Because of the important nature of disability benefits to individuals struggling with disabilities, it is helpful to understand the options available and how to qualify for SSD benefits. Therefore, speaking with a legal professional may be a great first step in the process of seeking these benefits.

Source: National Alliance on Mental Illness, "Social Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)," accessed Dec. 27, 2015

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