Which mental health conditions are considered a disability?

For most, living with a mental illness or disorder is typically just as difficult as living with a physical impairment. One thing patients with mental conditions share with physically impaired people is the inability to work and earn an income. Acquiring Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits is often critical to the survival of those living with mental disorders. Unfortunately, proving that you qualify for SSD benefits due to a mental condition is not a simple process.

Which mental conditions may qualify you for disability benefits?

The Social Security Administration (SSA) maintains a list of mental conditions that could mean you are not able to engage in "substantial gainful activity." Some of these conditions include the following.

  • Schizophrenia
  • Bipolar disorders
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Mental retardation
  • Autistic disorders
  • Mental retardation

Having an official diagnosis for such impairments is not enough to acquire an automatic approval for SSD benefits. In fact, many mentally disabled individuals in California have been frustrated to learn that the SSA denied their disability claims. So, what can you do to improve your chances of disability claim approval? First, consider working with an attorney to ensure your application is error-free and that you have acquired enough documentation to support your claim.

Beyond that, it is critical to remain on any treatment plan a mental health care provider has prescribed. This means taking your medication, keeping your appointments and never going against your doctor's orders. In addition to the documented history of your illness, full compliance with your treatment plan will help prove your case to the SSA.

While it may feel like you are constantly facing obstacles barring you from getting the SSD benefits you need, there can be a bright light at the end of your dark journey. Final words: Never give up and never be afraid to seek an advocate who will back you up and support you throughout the process.

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