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Those with mental illness may qualify for disability

According to the National Institute for Mental Health, among those between the ages of 15 and 44, mental illness is the leading cause of disability. These illnesses range in type and severity from bipolar disorder to depression and everything in between.

Recently, PBS Newshour and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development ran a multi-part series comparing health care and health care policy between other countries and the United States. It turns out the U.S. struggles when it comes to support for those with mental illness.

According to a recent PBS Newshour article, one in two Americans will develop a mental illness in their lifetime. This mental illness can end up having a profound effect on their social and economic lives. For some, receiving Social Security disability may be the only way to get by. 

In the U.S., those with mental illness tend to economically face more challenges. This is due to a number of factors, including limited job opportunities, under-performing on the job due to a lack of support and calling out of work due to illness.

According to the PBS article, the health system in the U.S. also needs to be doing more to treat mental illness. Right now, roughly half of those with severe mental disorders seek treatment. In terms of those with moderate mental disorders, only about a third seeks treatment. Of those who do receive treatment, in many cases doctors are more likely to just prescribe medication than offer therapy.

Many reading this may make the suggestion that something needs to change to better support those living with mental illness. However, for now, those who have mental health conditions should know there are often options in terms of receiving disability. This can reduce some of the overall stress that comes with financial burdens. An attorney with experience handling Social Security disability claims in New Jersey can go into more detail on the specifics of applying. 

Source: PBS Newshour, "How Your Mental Health May Be Impacting Your Career," Christopher Prinz, June 28, 2013

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