If I Have a Mental Disorder, Can I Get Social Security Disability Benefits?

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Posted by Corey Luedeman

If you are no longer able to work because of your mental illness, you may be able to receive Social Security Disability benefits.

How to Receive Social Security Disability Benefits For a Mental Illness

There are two different ways you could receive disability benefits if you have a mental disorder.

1.      You meet the criteria of a disabling condition in the “Listings.”

The Social Security Administration’s (SSA) official rules recognize different “listed” impairments.  The conditions listed can render a person disabled, according to the SSA.

The rules have very specific and complex criteria that a person has to meet to be considered disabled and to “meet or equal” the requirements of a specific listing.  It can be very difficult to know whether your condition meets these criteria.  Your best bet is to speak with a Social Security Disability attorney so he or she can interpret this information for you.

2.      You can’t do any type of work as a result of your condition.

If your condition is not a “listed impairment”, you may still be able to get disability benefits.  If your condition makes you unable to do any type of work, Social Security may award you benefits.

Proving to the SSA that you are unable to do any type of work can be difficult.  We recommend getting a Social Security Disability lawyer involved in your case to help increase your chance of receiving benefits.

Mental Disorders Recognized by the Social Security Administration

There are many different kinds of mental disorders recognized as disabling conditions by the SSA.  These include:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Autism
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Schizophrenia

Even though you may have one of these disorders, you don’t necessarily qualify for disability benefits. There are two requirements to qualify for Social Security – not only must you be disabled according to the SSA’s standards, but you must also prove that your disorder limits your ability to work.

It can be more difficult to prove that a mental disorder is affecting your ability to work.  These types of disorders and illnesses don’t show up on medical tests like X-Rays or CAT scans.  There can also be some stigma in recognizing mental illness, or concerns of “faking it.”

How a Social Security Disability Attorney Can Help With Your Claim

This is where hiring a Social Security Disability attorney can be helpful.  Among other things, an experienced disability attorney can:

  • Track down your most up-to-date medical records and present them to the SSA
  • Get medical opinions from your doctors on your condition and how it limits your ability to work
  • Question expert witnesses at your Social Security Disability hearing in front of the judge to provide evidence that your condition is disabling

If you have been denied disability benefits for your mental disorder, call RSH Legal today at 1-319-774-1542 or visit our website,

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