Do I Qualify for SSDI Due to My Mental Illness?

Apr 05, 2017

Individuals who suffer from diagnosed mental illnesses can qualify to receive Social Security Disability Insurance benefits and Supplemental Security Income payments. In fact, nearly 40 percent of Ohio residents who draw SSDI and/or SSI have a mental condition that leaves them unable to work full time and for a salary that covers their living expenses.

No one, however, qualifies for SSDI or SSI automatically. Enlisting the assistance of a Social Security disability lawyer in Ohio will help with completing application paperwork, fighting through an appeal of benefit denial, and satisfying requirements for remaining eligible to receive benefits.

Which Mental Illnesses Does SSDI Cover?

The Social Security Administration (SSA) recognizes the following 11 categories of mental illness:

  • Neurocognitive disorders
  • Schizophrenic, paranoid, and other psychotic disorders
  • Depressive, bipolar, and related disorders
  • Intellectual disorder
  • Anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorders
  • Somatic symptom and related disorders
  • Personality and impulse-control disorders
  • Autistic disorder and other pervasive developmental disorders
  • Neurodevelopmental disorders
  • Eating disorders
  • Trauma- and stressor-related disorders

Each category includes several specific conditions. Providing reports from health care providers attesting that you display the symptoms spelled out in a clinical description for one or more of the listed conditions is a usual first step toward qualifying for SSDI and SSI. The SSA will also consider conditions that do not appear on its list, but submitting additional medical evidence may be required. Consulting with an experienced mental disabilities lawyer will help an applicant understand what is needed in terms of diagnoses, treatment plans and patient histories.

What Criteria Does Social Security Use When Considering SSDI and SSI Applications?

The case officer who reviews a disability insurance application will want to see evidence that the mental illness impairs the applicant’s:

  • Activities of daily living, such as preparing meals, bathing, grooming and holding a job
  • Social functioning in terms of forming and maintaining friendships and romantic relationships
  • Concentration, persistence, or pace, which reflects the applicant’s ability to learn and apply new information, complete tasks, and adapt to changing situations
  • Episodes of decomposition during which symptoms flare up and the sufferer requires heavy medication and/or hospitalization or institutionalization

In addition, the disability case reviewer will look at the applicant’s work history, current employment status, income from all sources, and basic eligibility for Social Security.

SSI payments are strictly needs-based. Financial records like pay stubs, bank statements, mortgage contracts or rental agreements, and car titles make up the bulk of an application for Supplemental Security Income.

Do SSDI and SSI Payments Continue for Life?

Beneficiaries who receive disability benefits or supplement income for several years can expect to be asked to show that they still qualify for payments. Updated diagnoses and recent financial records will be needed to demonstrate ongoing need.

Who Can Receive SSDI and SSI Payments?

Many people who qualify for Social Security disability and SSI are too mentally disabled to handle their own money. Recognizing this, the SSA allows beneficiaries to designate a person or institution to accept payments on their behalf. The designee is usually a family member or long-term care facility. In every case, the designee must follow strict rules about using the money only for the mentally disabled person’s expenses and health care.

Find out how an Ohio Social Security disability lawyer can help you or a loved one by calling the Columbus offices of Agee Clymer Mitchell & Portman at (614) 221-3318 or requesting an appointment online. The first meeting will cost you nothing.

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