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July is Mental Health Awareness Month

As Mental Health Awareness Month, July is perhaps the most appropriate time for reviewing the types of mental diseases and disorders that qualify under the Social Security Administration’s (SSA’s) guidelines for disability benefits. There are a number of conditions that can meet the SSA’s guidelines, though it’s important to understand that there are condition-specific eligibility requirements as well as general disability requirements that the SSA applies to every application for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits.

SSA Expects Pending Initial Claims to Increase

The number of pending initial claims for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits has been backlogged for some years, but with the record setting 230,000 new applications for SSD received by the Social Security Administration (SSA) in May 2012, the wait time for reviews to be completed and eligibility determinations to be made is expected to increase significantly. In fact, the SSA anticipates pending claims to reach more than 860,000 before the end of the fiscal year (Sept. 30, 2012) and more than 1.1 million by the end of the 2013 fiscal year (Sept. 30, 2013).

Individuals Receiving SSDI Benefits Hits Record High

The number of individuals receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) Benefits has hit a record high. Beginning in 2008 and continuing through to the present, the number of new applicants for SSDI benefits has increased substantially, with 2.8 million Americans applying for benefits in 2008 and 2009. That was a 21 percent increase in applications from 2007. It should come as no surprise then that the more than 10 million Americans now receiving disability benefits also sets a record high.

Are Disability Benefits Subject to Child Support Payments?

The children of disabled workers generally receive an auxiliary benefit from the Social Security Administration (SSA). Social Security Disability (SSD) benefit payments are intended to provide financial support for the entire family, including the children living with them. Some disabled workers may also be eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits as well as other types of support, like Medicaid and Medicare, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), and food stamps, among others.

Denial of SSA Disability Benefits Perpetuates Homelessness

According to the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty, denial of Social Security Disability benefits plays a significant role in perpetuating homelessness for individuals throughout the nation. In a report released May 16, 2012, the Center attributes high denial rates for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits and Supplemental Security Income for the homeless to procedural factors in the application and review processes of the Social Security Administration.

Social Security Disability and the Homeless

Access to the ALJ Decision with Online Representative Services

Anyone who has applied for Social Security Disability benefits knows exactly how long and drawn out the disability claim and appeal process can be. Those who are denied during the initial stage of the disabilitu benefits application(which, itself, takes three to six months to complete) must undergo the process of appealing the decision (which takes another three to six months).

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