Mental illness affects nearly 1 in 5 Americans. The National Institute of Mental Health reports that in 2020, 14.2 million adults in the United States experienced Serious Mental Illness (SMI). Mental illness can be an impairment to employment for many people; thus, mental disorders are one of the qualifying factors for Social Security assistance. But how does the Social Security Administration define mental disorders, and which disorders qualify someone for assistance?
What are the qualifications for assistance?
To qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits (SSDI), a person must have a medical impairment or combination of impairments that prohibits them for working for twelve months, or is expected to end in death. That individual must have also paid into the Social Security program for at least five of the past ten years.
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) has the same qualifying medical requirements as SSDI. But there is no work requirement for SSI. Rather, the individual must have very low income and assets (below $2000 for an unmarried person) to qualify.
What mental disorders qualify someone for assistance?
The Social Security Administration divides mental disorders into 11 categories. These disorders include, but are not limited to, neurocognitive, affective, anxiety, and intellectual disorders.
While the SSA’s comprehensive list includes a large list of conditions, the ability to receive assistance is contingent upon having medical documentation of the condition’s impact on an individual’s life. Since not all mental illness prevents people from working, only “serious and persistent” disorders that result in “marked” or “extreme” work-related limitations meet SSA’s disability criteria.
What happens when a claim is filed?
The SSA takes on average three to five months to process a claim, but if the claim is approved they will likely offer retroactive benefits dating relating back to the date of the claim or the onset of the disability.
If a claim is denied, an individual can appeal and, if denied a second time, request a hearing before an administrative judge. An appeal process can be long and complicated; an attorney or disability specialist can help simplify this process.
If you or someone you know needs help accessing disability support due to a mental illness, contact us. We offer free consultations to help you understand your options and find the best way to more forward with your disability application to get you the support you need.
The Roose & Ressler Team is located in Lorain, Toledo, and Wooster, Ohio. You can count on us as your local disability specialist to analyze your case thoroughly to determine what is necessary for you to receive benefits. We assess the best methods on how to prove the crucial facts of your case and gather the necessary evidence. Having 40+ years of experience serving Northern Ohioans, we know the ins and outs of the local disability process.