Mental Disorders that may Qualify for Social Security Disability
(autism, anxiety, depression, eating disorders and more)

This list of conditions which may qualify one to receive Social Security disability benefits is not intended to be authoritarian in nature and is provided only for your information. This information may not be the latest rulings provided by the SSA. Detailed information can be obtained from the Social Security Administration's website where this information was obtained. You may also fill out the form on this page for a FREE claim evaluation.

Mental disorders run the gamut from slight to severe. When someone files an application for Social Security disability benefits due to medically documented mental problems, the Social Security Administration focuses on the claimant's degree of mental incapacity that affects their ability to work.

The Key

Severe mental illness may be simple to diagnose and obtain Social Security disability benefits for, however, most people do not have clinically severe illnesses. Therefore, they will have a difficult time obtaining the disability benefits they deserve. Most people who apply for disability due to a mental illness will be initially denied. Many  will then hire a lawyer and be able to obtain their benefits. 

The SSA considers mental illnesses due to birth defects like mental retardation, learning disorders and autism along with those gained later in life such as anxiety and substance addiction under the mental disorders classification. Regardless of the cause for the mental disorder, the key to gaining Social Security disability benefits for a mental disorder is to have the mental impairment well documented by medical professionals and to be able to show a provable, significant impact on the claimant's ability to obtain gainful employment. As with almost all conditions, a mental disorder must be expected to cause a decreased ability to function for  continuous period of at least twelve months.


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The SSA notes under the mental disorder criteria that a claimant may actually have the ability to work some or all of the time.

Due to the documentation requirements, a Social Security Disability lawyer may prove invaluable when filing for or appealing disability benefits for anxiety, depression, panic, schizophrenia, social anxiety and other mental disorders. Fill out the form now for a FREE disability evaluation and assistance filing for or appealing your disability benefits for mental disorders.

Somatoform Disorders

Somatoform disorders can be a "catch-all" for disability applicants applying under a wide range of health issues. It can allow for the granting of benefits to people who have ongoing, chronic problems for which a medical cause cannot be found or the diagnosis is unsure.

The SSA provides this definition for somatoform disorders, "Physical symptoms for which there are no demonstrable organic findings or known physiological mechanisms." These physical problems may involve vision, speech, hearing, movement, sensation and possibly extreme hypochondria. In addition, the person applying for benefits should be able to show difficulty in daily life, maintaining social functioning, concentration, persistence, pace and/or decompensation for extended periods of time.

There are a list of requirements to be met, however the list is fairly broad and could allow many people to receive Social Security disability benefits who may either not qualify under other categories or need help to solidify a claim. When you talk to your lawyer about filing or appealing your claim you should ask if you meet the requirements of somatoform disorder.

Anxiety Disorders

If you suffer from any type of anxiety disorders, including any type of phobia, the Social Security administration will need documentation supporting your claim. Quite simply, the more documentation you can provide supporting the severity of your anxiety condition or phobia and how it prevents you from functioning positively in a work environment the more chances of success you will have in obtaining your Social Security disability benefits for your anxiety disorder or phobia.

Eating Disorders

Eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa can affect you both physically and mentally. The Social Security Administration will view your physical problems under the classification that best fits the symptoms as well as the mental aspect of the eating disorder under this classification.

Schizophrenic, Paranoid and Other Psychotic Disorders

Social Security disability benefits may be awarded to an individual who is able to show that they have a mental disease such as schizophrenia, paranoia and other psychotic disorders that may not be continuous, but have been documented over time to be persistent and are characterized by hallucinations or catatonic or grossly disorganized behavior, Mental illness may qualify for Social Security disability benefitsincoherence, faulty thinking or reasoning and / or  emotional withdrawal or association. In addition, you must also be able to prove at least two other effects such as a significant reduction in daily living, difficulty in functioning socially, difficulty in concentrating, persistence or pace or extended durations of decompensation periods.

In the case of chronic schizophrenia, paranoia or other mental disorder that has been documented to have lasted longer than two years with greater than a minimal basic work activity, you may qualify for Social Security disability benefits if you can also show extended periods of decompensation or if even a slight change of environment or an increase in mental demands might cause you to go into a time period of decompensation. 

The criteria to determine eligibility for Social Security disability benefits for mental problems becomes easier to meet if you can prove at least one year of mental illness history and the need for a highly structured life support system that will continue for the foreseeable future.

Affective disorders

Those who suffer from affective disorders display mood disturbances, manic behavior and/or depressive syndrome. The Social Security Administration offers a whole list of problems one must be shown to have that affect daily life to begin eligibility for disability benefits. These problems include fairly simple items such as decreased energy, sleep disturbance, appetite disturbance and easily distracted.

Similarly to paranoia conditions, if the condition can be shown to have lasted longer than two years with greater than a minimal basic work activity, you may qualify for Social Security disability benefits if you can also show extended periods of decompensation or if even a slight change of environment or an increase in mental demands might cause you to go into a time period of decompensation. 

The criteria to determine eligibility for Social Security disability benefits for mental problems becomes easier to meet if you can prove at least one year of mental illness history and the need for a highly structured life support system that will continue for the foreseeable future.

Mental Retardation

The Social Security Administration defines mental retardation on their website as, "significantly sub average general intellectual functioning with deficits in adaptive functioning initially manifested during the developmental period; i.e., the evidence demonstrates or supports onset of the impairment before age 22."

In general, Social Security disability benefits for mental retardation may be obtained if the person has an IQ of  70 or less with varying degrees of physical impairments or the requirement of needing others to assist with personal needs and/or the inability to follow directions due to limited intellectual functioning ability.

Personality Disorders

A person with a personality disorder, as defined by the SSA has a personality trait that is "inflexible and maladaptive." Due to these characteristics the person finds it difficult to function gainfully.  The characteristic should display itself in causing one of the following six traits according tot he SSA website:

In addition, the claimant must be able to show that they have difficulty in daily activities, maintaining social functioning, concentration, pace or persistence and/or repeated periods of decompensation that last for extended periods of time.

Autism

Autism generally appears in the first three years of life and is displayed by abnormal development in communication and social skills. The number people being diagnosed with autism has reportedly been increasing in recent years. The Autism Society estimates that sixty people per day are diagnosed with autism and it affects as many as 1 in 110 babies. 

As in almost all mental illnesses you should be prepared to show difficulty in daily life, maintaining social functioning, concentration, persistence, pace and/or decompensation for extended periods of time. To qualify for Social Security disability benefits due to autism you should also document the signs of autism- decreased social interaction, decreased ability to communicate verbally and an interest in a limited variety of activities.

Summary

Many mental disorders can be kept in check with medication. However, there are those who have extended complications or especially severe symptoms who may need Social Security disability assistance. As with some other impairments, mental problems can be part of multiple medical conditions. Each problem by itself may not be adequate for you to obtain Social Security disability benefits, but a combination of problems may be more than enough for you to receive your Social Security disability payments.

I'm Still Not Sure if I Qualify For Social Security Disability

If you are unsure if your injury, illness or pain allows you to qualify for disability insurance, the acclaimed Cochran Firm Disability Lawyers offers you a FREE consultation whereby your claim may be evaluated. If your case is accepted, our experienced Social Security disability lawyers can help you obtain the benefits you deserve through the Disability System. Under the Cochran Firm Disability Lawyers' Social Security disability program, you will not be charged unless we win your disability benefits for you.

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Social Security Disability List of Injuries and Illnesses

Musculoskeletal System
(back & joint pain, fractures, injuries, Carpal Tunnel)

Respiratory System
(lung diseases such as asthma, sleep apnea)

Digestive System
(gastrointestinal, liver, bowel, nutrition)

Hematological Disorders
(blood related problems)

Endocrine Disorders
(diabetes, pancreatitis)

Neurological
(brain, stroke, seizures, Parkinson's, head injuries, migraines)

Malignant Neoplastic Diseases
(cancers & tumors)

Special Senses and Speech
(hearing, vision, vertigo)

Cardiovascular System
(heart attacks, chronic heart failure, blood clots)

Genitourinary Impairments
(kidney disease, dialysis)

Skin Disorders
(light sensitivity, burns)

Impairments that Affect Multiple Body Systems
(Down Syndrome)

Mental Disorders
(autism, anxiety, depression, eating disorders and more)

Immune System Disorders
(HIV, lupus, arthritis)

 

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