When most people think of a disability, they think of a physical disability. But sometimes, the worst conditions are not even seen to the naked eye. Mental health conditions affect millions of Americans every year. Thankfully, the Social Security Administration also considers mental conditions for its Social Security Disability benefits program.
Among the conditions the SSA will consider are schizophrenia, depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, autistic disorders and mental retardation. You may also qualify if your disability was the result of substance abuse such as drugs or alcohol, though you must prove that the behavioral changes include one of the following: an organic mental disorder, depressive syndrome, anxiety disorder or personality disorder. You must also prove that the disorder has remained beyond the abuse of the substances. Also note that even if your disorder is not listed in their official book, each case is analyzed and treated individually, so you may still qualify.
Unlike physical disabilities, mental disabilities are often less tangible and are harder to diagnose and determine. In addition, many mental disorders are not constant or consistent, but are cyclical, meaning they are not always present, and may be strong or weak depending on the week, day, or hour.
With such subjectivity with mental illness disabilities, the SSA will often use what’s called a mental consultative exam to determine eligibility. Depending on your issue, the exam will be in the form of either a mental or psychiatric evaluation. Following the exam, the evaluator sends the results to the Disability Determination Services agency to deny or approve your claim.
Source: findlaw.com, “Mental Health Disability Claims,” Accessed Sept. 8, 2015