Is It Hard To Get Disability For A Mental Illness?

If you have a mental illness that makes it impossible for you to work, you may be eligible for Social Security disability benefits.

Mental illnesses can qualify for disability benefits, but it can be challenging. In the past, it has been found that mental diagnosis accounted for about one third of recipients.

If you have worked in the past but you can’t work now, and you expect that you won’t be able to work for at least a year because of the mental illness that you have then you are eligible to apply for Social Security disability benefits.

What Mental Illnesses Qualify For Disability Benefits?

Not every mental illness will qualify for Social Security disability benefits. The Social Security Administration has a section in the Blue Book which lists all of the mental illnesses that qualify for disability benefits. Every mental health listing in the Blue Book also has a set of requirements that you must prove that you meet. If you don’t submit enough evidence to show that you meet those requirements, your application will be denied. You can find the full list of all mental health disorders that qualify for disability benefits here. Some of the most common are:

  • PTSD
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Schizophrenia
  • Eating disorders
  • OCD
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • Intellectual disabilities

And other mental illnesses that can impact someone’s ability to function and hold down a job.

Qualifying For Disability With a Mental Illness

Qualifying for Social Security disability benefits with a mental illness can be a challenge. You will need to submit medical proof that you have been diagnosed with a mental health disorder. And you will need to provide proof that you meet the Blue Book requirements for the condition that you have.

When it comes to applying for SSDI the more evidence you have the better your chance of approval is. You will need to submit copies of all your medical records and mental health records. It’s strongly recommended that you also submit a Mental Residual Functional Capacity form, or a MRFC. Your psychologist or doctor needs to fill out this form.

On the MRFC your psychologist or doctor can write in as much detail as possible what your symptoms are and how exactly they prevent you from working.

For example, if you have extreme depression and you’re unable to do things like get dressed for days at a time it wouldn’t be possible for you to hold down a job that requires you to be in an office. Your psychologist or doctor should be as specific as possible on the MRFC.

You should also include things like:

  • Prescription history
  • Statements from previous employers
  • Statements from social workers or counselors
  • Statements from teachers
  • Statements from family and friends

Include all evidence that shows you meet the SSA’s requirements that are in the Blue Book and any evidence that shows why you can’t work.

Getting Approved For Disability With a Mental Health Condition

It’s difficult, but not impossible to get your application for disability benefits approved on the first try when you apply due to a mental illness. To improve your chances, you should:

Make Sure You Have Enough Medical Evidence

Before submitting your application for disability benefits double check to make sure you have included as much medical evidence as you can get. Medical evidence is the best way to get your application approved.

Include Continuing Treatment Plans

To help show that your mental illness isn’t going to resolve itself anytime soon include copies of the continuing treatment plans your doctor and psychologist have created for you. Showing that you will be receiving continuous treatment for the mental illness that you have can show that you will be unable to work for a long time.

File Appeals In A Timely Manner

If your application for Social Security disability benefits is denied you will receive information telling you how to submit an appeal. The time you have to appeal is limited. File for an appeal as quickly as you can so that you will be in line to get a fast decision.

Work With A Disability Lawyer

Working with a disability lawyer can increase your chances of getting your application approved quickly. A disability lawyer can help you fill out the application forms, go through your medical evidence, and give you advice on how to make your application stronger.

Get in Touch With A Disability Lawyer

Even though it can be challenging to get approved for Social Security disability benefits with a mental illness it is possible. Working with a disability lawyer can help. Fill out a Free Case Evaluation now to get connected with an independent disability lawyer who may be able to answer your questions about applying for Social Security disability benefits.