5 Mental Health Conditions That Qualify For Social Security Disability Benefits

Submitted by rsg on

There are many different mental health conditions that can qualify for Social Security disability benefits (SSD). If you are experiencing a mental illness that is keeping you from working for at least 12, then you may be able to qualify for SSD.

The SSA uses what is known as the ‘Blue Book’ to evaluate how specific conditions can qualify for disability benefits. There is an entire Blue Book section, 12.00, dedicated to Mental Disorders that are eligible for disability benefits.  Here are 5:

1. Depression

To qualify for disability benefits with depression, you must show you have at least 5 symptoms that match depressed mood, decreased interest in activities, poor sleep, poor appetite, difficulty thinking/concentrating, feelings of worthlessness/guilt, suicidal though, slow in physical reaction. You will also need to show a limitation in either understanding/remembering/applying information, interacting with others, maintaining pace performing tasks, or managing yourself. You will need ample documentation that your condition has occurred for at least 2 years.

2. Bipolar Disorder

To qualify for disability for bipolar disorder, your depressive episode must match the criteria outlined above for depression in the Blue Book section 12.04. Make sure to gather plenty of evidence that you support this Blue Book listing. 

3. Anxiety

Anxiety can qualify for disability benefits under a few different listings. Section 12.06 outlines how anxiety and obsessive-compulsion disorders can qualify for benefits. Similarly, if your anxiety is related to PTSD, or other trauma and stress related disorders, you may qualify under 12.15. To best determine how your anxiety qualifies for SSD, review the Blue Book with a doctor or psychiatrist.

4. Dementia

Various forms of dementia, like Lewy body dementia, early-onset Alzheimer’s disease, Frontotemporal dementia, and much more, qualify for disability benefits as a Compassionate Allowance (CAL). Under the CAL, those with dementia can quickly have their claims reviewed and likely approved for benefits, rather than waiting months for a decision.

5. Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia has its own Blue Book listing, 13.02. Under this listing you can qualify if you meet specific criteria. Some criteria includes documenting hallucinations, disorganized thinking/speech, and/or disorganized behavior as well as difficulty understanding, remembering, and applying information, interacting with others, maintaining pace, and managing oneself. You can also qualify if you have documentation over at least 2 years of seeking treatment, but symptoms till persist.

Applying for Social Security Disability Benefits With a Mental Health Disorder

You will need sufficient medical evidence to prove that you qualify for SSD with a mental health disorder. Many claims are denied because they lack the proof they need. A disability attorney may be able to help you gather the evidence needed to prove your claim.

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