Sometimes, you may feel like a mental health condition has taken over your life. You may have a traumatic event that spurs your underlying anxiety and depression. Or you may suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after a bad car accident or domestic violence incident. Maybe your mental health is suffering so much you can no longer work. Maybe your mental health struggle lasts long enough you consider filing for Social Security disability benefits.
But can you receive disability pay because of a mental illness?
Social Security disability benefits and mental illness
Several mental illness conditions do qualify for Social Security disability pay. Before you apply, you must have a formal diagnosis and have suffered from your disabling condition that prevents you from working for at least 12 months.
Some of the mental health conditions that may qualify you for Social Security disability payments include the following:
- Bipolar disorder
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder
- Anorexia or bulimia
When you apply for disability benefits, you must provide hard evidence that your mental health condition prevents you from working. Some of this evidence includes the following:
- Information from your psychiatrist or psychologist and their opinion on the severity of your condition
- Treatment records detailing your therapy, any hospitalizations related to your condition and medications you take (and any side effect you experience from your medications)
- Detailed documentation of how your symptoms prevent you from working
About 16% of those who receive Social Security disability benefits qualify because of a mental health condition.
Getting help when applying for Social Security disability pay
If you want to apply for Social Security disability benefits, you should consult an attorney familiar with the process. Often, people are denied claims initially and you will have a better chance of getting your disability pay approved with the right legal help.
Because mental illness is sometimes viewed as a “hidden condition,” you will need all the help you can get to prove how disabling your condition is and how it truly prevents you from working.