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Eligibility for SSDI benefits for a mental illness

| Sep 9, 2021 | Firm News

Most residents of Indiana understand that long term disability benefits are available for an injury or illness that results in a permanent disability. Nevertheless, many potential beneficiaries are uncertain about whether a particular affliction can be asserted as the basis for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits. Mental illness is one of the conditions that raises the most questions about eligibility. Many people who suffer from various types of mental illness are acutely aware of their symptoms but they worry that what is essentially an invisible illness will not render them eligible for SSDI benefits. A review of the basics of the SSDI benefits program demonstrates the error in this assumption.

The basic eligibility requirements for SSDI benefits

Anyone who is permanently disabled by reason of a mental illness is eligible for SSDI benefits. A person is permanently disabled if a mental or physical condition makes it impossible for them to earn more than $1,310 per month. The illness or injury must be diagnosed as permanent or likely to result in the patient’s death within 12 months. A person with a severe mental illness that interferes with a person’s ability to work plainly satisfies the definition of disability.

Specific examples of disabling mental illness

The Social Security Administration enumerates several different types of mental illness that can cause disability. These illnesses include organic disorders such as delirium, dementia or Alzheimer’s. Psychotic disorders include schizophrenia and paranoia. Affective disorders such as bipolar disorder and depression can also make the patient eligible for SSDI benefits. Mental retardation and other learning disorders are similarly regarded as disabling if the symptoms are sufficiently severe. Anxiety related disorders, both continuous and episodic, can be considered disabling depending upon the symptoms. Personality disorders such as passive-aggressive and obsessive-compulsive disorders, are often considered to be disabling. Substance addiction disorders are also considered to be disabling.

Pursuing an SSDI benefits claim for mental illness

Pursuing a claim for SSDI benefits based upon a mental illness can be an arduous and frustrating process. Anyone considering an application for SSDI benefits based upon mental illness may wish to consult an experienced disability attorney, who can evaluate the evidence, assist in preparing the application and helping with an appeal if the initial application is denied.