Qualifying for SSDI With a Mental Disorder

Shadow of a Human Head on Puzzle PaperWhen a worker’s mental health condition interferes with their ability to work, the Social Security Administration (SSA) may provide monthly benefits. Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) offers compensation to employees who are unable to work for at least 12 months, provided that they have worked and paid Social Security taxes for at least five out of the last ten years and that they have a qualifying disabling impairment.

Qualifying Mental Conditions for SSDI

The SSA maintains a list of disabling impairments, commonly known as the Blue Book, to aid in determining whether a certain condition qualifies for disability benefits. There are 14 categories of listed ailments, and the twelfth category covers mental disorders. Category 12 of the Blue Book has nine subsections, and each of these is dedicated to a different mental condition. These subsections include:

  • Personality disorders
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Affective disorders
  • Somatoform disorders
  • Autism-related disorders
  • Organic mental disorders
  • Mental retardation
  • Substance addiction
  • Schizophrenia, paranoia, and psychotic disorders

Receiving SSDI Benefits

The requirements to qualify for SSDI benefits vary depending on the specifics of the disorder. In general, however, medical documentation must show that the disorder impacts a worker’s ability to function. Even when a mental condition doesn’t fall into one of the nine categories listed above, the SSA may still provide SSDI benefits if the condition inhibits an employee’s ability to work. It typically takes the SSA between three to five months to reach a decision regarding SSDI applications. If the application is approved, the SSA will start paying benefits immediately. After receiving SSDI benefits for 24 months, applicants are eligible for Medicare benefits.

A Disability Attorney Can Help You File Your Claim

If a mental health condition is interfering with your ability to work, you don’t have to pursue SSDI benefits on your own. An experienced disability claims attorney can help you through the application and filing process, to ensure that you receive the benefits you deserve. If your SSDI claim has been denied, your attorney can assist you through the appeals process. To learn more, contact the Injury & Disability Law Center by clicking the Live Chat button on this page.


Joshua Worley
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Roswell, NM Social Security and Veterans Disability Lawyer
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