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Can you get disability for a mental disorder?

When people bring up the subject of disabilities, most think of the kind of disability you can see – whether you need a wheelchair or are confined to your bed much of the time. Invisible disabilities, especially mental or emotional ones, are more difficult for people to understand and can be hard to prove when you are trying to receive benefits. However, for many Tennessee residents, mental disorders can be just as incapacitating as physical ones.

You may suffer from one of the following emotional disorders, which may qualify you for Social Security disability:

  • Congenital (since birth) conditions, such as autism or obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Disorders stemming from traumatic experiences, including anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Invisible disorders that the medical community does not fully understand; these may be physical in nature but cause a great deal of emotional pain, such as fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome or Lyme disease

To qualify for Social Security disability, you need to show that your disability – whether mental or physical – has been present from birth, is expected to last over a year or may lead to death. Your condition must significantly impact your daily life, as well as make it difficult or impossible to do your job.

How do you prove that you are suffering from an invisible condition? This may be challenging, but it is not impossible. It is always a good idea to keep detailed records on your condition from physicians, counselors and others who can attest that your mental disorder is disabling. You may also want to keep a journal about your experiences and how your condition has affected your job and quality of life.

It may take time and patience to receive an approval from the SSA for a mental disability. You might find that an experienced disability attorney can be invaluable to assist you through the application and appeals processes.

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