Social Security benefits are available for many people who have mental health conditions which limit their ability to hold a job. The National Alliance on Mental Illness estimates that about 35.2 percent of all recipients who receive Social Security Disability Insurance qualify for disability due to mental health conditions.
Social Security Income provides financial need to low-income disabled individuals, based on current income and assets. On the other hand, SSDI requires a disability and minimum past work requirements.
Meeting the criteria
To receive SSDI or SSI from the Social Security Administration, you have to meet the diagnostic criteria for disability, as defined by the SSA, not necessarily your physician. To qualify for SSDI, you also have to meet working requirements. In addition, mental health professionals may not review your application. In fact, the reviewers may not know anything about mental health conditions.
NAMI recommends including as much evidence as possible in your claim. You may want to review the SSA criteria before submitting your claim, to ensure you have met the standards to make your claim more probable to pass.
Dealing with a denial
However, many SSDI and SSI claims are denied. Instead of refiling, the claim will need to be appealed before the SSA grants approval.
An attorney can help you navigate both the application and appeals procedure. Sometimes, claims are denied due to simple mistakes made by someone who has never filled out this type of paperwork. The SSA may explain why it denied the claim in the letter it sends, but more often, the person who was denied will have to follow up themselves to learn why the SSA did not approve the claim.
The appeals process can be stressful and frustrating. Having a disability lawyer on your side can help you have confidence in going forward. You may need to track down medical records and other documentation that proves your disability exists. Your lawyer can be an asset in helping you understand everything you require.