Applying for SSDI When a Mental Health Diagnosis Prevents You From Working

Applying for SSDI When a Mental Health Diagnosis Prevents You From Working

Living with a mental health diagnosis can present challenges, such as an inability to hold a job. Fortunately, the Social Security Administration (SSA) recognizes mental and psychological disabilities as qualifying conditions for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). If you have one of these conditions, here is what you need to know about applying for SSDI.

SSDI is available to disabled adult workers who have paid Social Security taxes. You will not qualify for SSDI if you have never worked and therefore have not paid this tax. When seeking SSDI benefits, the application is available online or at local Social Security Administration (SSA) offices.

We also want to touch on this topic for Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, because mental health disorders (especially when combined with the inability to work) can sometimes lead to suicidal thoughts. The Jan Dils team wants to help anyone who may be suffering financially after a mental health diagnosis.

Qualifying Mental Conditions

Qualifying mental disorders that could make you unable to work include anxiety-related disorders, personality disorders, bipolar disorder, severe depression, neurocognitive disorders, PTSD, learning disabilities, schizophrenia, and somatic symptom disorders. The SSA does not consider drug addiction or alcoholism alone to be disabling conditions. You must meet specific requirements for each mental health condition to show how severe it is.

Eligibility Criteria

You must prove to the government that you have a mental health medical condition that makes you unable to work to qualify for disability benefits. Additionally, you should be receiving medical treatment for your condition. The SSA thoroughly reviews your medical records, including the diagnosis of your condition and evidence that the condition will disable you for at least 12 months.

When applying for SSDI, it is beneficial to present medical records, such as:

  • A diagnosis from a psychiatrist or psychologist
  • The “Mental Residual Functional Capacity” (MRFC) form detailing your limitations
  • Brain scans
  • Treatment records
  • Documentation of symptoms and impacts on daily functioning
  • Records from hospitalizations or other emergency medical visits related to your condition

You may also need to provide proof you have taken prescribed medications without significant improvement.

Challenges in Applying for Mental Health Disabilities

Unlike physical conditions, mental health symptoms can vary significantly from person to person. This makes it harder for the SSA to evaluate the extent of the disability and can lead to skepticism from those who may not fully understand the seriousness of mental illnesses. When applying, it is important to remember a few things:

Credibility: Be honest about your condition so that you have a greater chance of getting approved.

Be Specific: Detailed information will help the SSA better understand the true impact of your condition.

Risks of Working: Continued employment might be seen as evidence that you are not as disabled as you claimed to be. Talk with one of our lawyers before applying.

Consult With an Attorney on SSDI Benefits if Your Mental Health Condition Affects Your Employment

Once approved for disability benefits, you can expect check-ins with the SSA to ensure your condition remains disabling. If your condition continues to prevent you from working, you will continue to receive disability benefits.

If you believe you qualify for SSDI due to your mental health condition, do not hesitate to seek assistance and explore your options. Our experienced lawyers at Jan Dils Attorneys can help in a Social Security Disability Insurance case. Call us today to schedule a free consultation.

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Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law

Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law