Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits have provided significant financial assistance for residents of Tennessee who have suffered a disabling injury or medical condition. Nevertheless, individuals who may have suffered a disabling condition as defined in the SSDI regulations have many questions about their eligibility for benefits. A frequent question is whether a mental illness can qualify a person for such benefits. The answer is generally “yes,” but not every mental condition can meet the standards.
Overview of mental disorders that qualify
The regulations for SSDI benefits published by the Social Security Administration (SSA) list 11 conditions or categories of mental illness that qualify for SSDI benefits. The conditions include neurocognitive disorders, schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders, depressive, bipolar and related disorders, intellectual disorders, anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorders, somatic symptom and related disorders, personality and impulse-control disorders, autism, neurodevelopmental disorders, eating disorders and stressor-related disorders. Each category has specific symptoms that must be demonstrated by competent medical evidence. As with any disability, the applicant for benefits must demonstrate that the condition prevents him or her from engaging in substantial gainful activity. The applicant must also demonstrate that the condition can be expected to result in death or last for a period of not less than 12 months.
The type of evidence required to prove the different types of mental disorders varies from condition to condition. Generally speaking, the evidence must include a written report or other objective evidence such as laboratory tests or x-rays plus evidence demonstrating the applicant’s inability to work.
Anybody considering submitting an application for SSDI benefits may wish to consult an attorney with experience in obtaining such benefits. A knowledgeable lawyer can assist the applicant in assembling the necessary evidence and, if necessary, represent the applicant during the SSDI appeal process and in court.