There are three hundred mental illnesses listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition. Whether one of these diagnosed mental illnesses qualifies an individual for Social Security Disability benefits depends on whether the symptoms are severe enough to seriously limit day to day life activities.
Some of the most common debilitating mental health conditions include depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, and obsessive compulsive disorder. However, there are many other mental health conditions listed as potentially qualifying conditions by the Social Security Administration in its Blue Book. The Social Security Administration will consider an individual disabled due to a mental condition if:
- You cannot perform the work that you previously performed;
- You cannot adjust to other work because of your medical condition(s); and
- Your disability is expected to last or has lasted for at least one year or to result in death.
If you are not working and seek qualification for disability benefits, your application is sent to Disability Determination Services to make a determination as to whether your condition significantly limits your ability to do basic work such as lifting, sitting, standing, walking, and remembering, for at least twelve months. Mental disorders are listed in Section 12.00 of the Social Security Administration Blue Book as qualifying for disability benefits if certain criteria are met. Disability Determination Services makes a decision on the degree to which your medically determinable impairment affects the four areas of mental functioning: understanding, interacting, concentrating, and managing oneself.
To qualify for benefits, the mental condition must result in an extreme limitation on two of the four areas of mental functioning. The mental condition must be severe and persistent, typically occurring over at least a two year period, and it must be documented in your detailed medical records. If the Disability Determination Services find the mental condition qualifies you as disabled and you are unable to work in any of your past areas of employment as well as any other areas in the future, you will qualify for disability benefits.
A seasoned disability benefits professional at Cook and Associates can help you apply for disability benefits or walk you through the appeal process if the need arises. Contact one of our disability lawyers today for a free consultation to determine your chances for a successful disability benefits claim.