Mental disorders can qualify you for Social Security disability

May 27 2015

Because May is Mental Health Awareness month, we are going to look at some of the mental disorders that can qualify a worker for SSDI (Social Security disability insurance) benefits.

As you know, SSDI is for people who are prevented by an illness or injury from working. Among the qualifying illnesses are mental disorders. The Social Security Administration (SSA) says it evaluates the disorders in three main ways: examining the documentation of the diagnosable disorder; considering the degree to which the condition might limit a person’s ability to work; and considering how long the condition might be expected to last.

The list of qualifying mental disorders is extensive, ranging from organic mental disorders (those caused by brain dysfunction) to autistic disorder and many in between.

Among the qualifying disorders are those categorized as “psychotic” disorders such as schizophrenia and paranoia. These can involve hallucinations or delusions, and can also result in a catatonic state in which the person will have extreme difficulty responding to the world.

The result can be “marked restriction of activities of daily living,” the SSA notes, including a person’s ability to work or live on their own.

Also on the list of qualifying disorders are affective disorders, such as “full or partial manic or depressive syndrome.” People with depression must have at least four of the following symptoms to qualify for SSDI:

  • Loss of interest in almost all activities
  • Appetite disturbance
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Psychomotor agitation or retardation
  • Decreased energy
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness
  • Difficulty thinking, concentrating
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Hallucinations, delusions

If you or a loved one in Denver suffers with depression or other mental illness issues preventing work, discuss the SSDI/SSD appeals process with a Colorado attorney experienced in Social Security disability insurance appeals.