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3 things to know about SSDI and mental health

Social Security Disability Insurance, or SSDI, is available for a wide range of permanent disabilities. The Social Security Administration determines the disabilities it covers under this federal benefits program.

SSDI not only covers physical disabilities and impairments that prevent work, it also covers mental health impairments. It is important for you to understand the way that SSDI covers mental health to properly proceed with your SSDI claim if you intend to seek benefits under this program.

1. Understand the overall qualification requirements

To qualify for SSDI benefits, the Social Security Administration stipulates that you must have an impairment that keeps you from working for at least 12 months. In addition, you are required to have proof of payments into the system (through payroll taxes or FICA) for at least five of the previous 10 years prior to your claim.

2. Understand the eligible impairments

The Social Security Administration provides a list of impairments that it covers, which is another factor in qualifying for SSDI. Although the list is extensive and covers a variety of mental health impairments, yours may not be on the list. Even if your particular mental health impairment is not specifically listed as a qualifying condition for SSDI benefits, you may still be eligible. Therefore, you should not automatically dismiss the possibility of applying for benefits just because you do not see your impairment on the list.

3. Proper documentation is critical

Proving the existence of mental and cognitive disorders that prevent work can sometimes be more difficult than substantiating physical impairments. That is why it is essential that in mental and cognitive impairments you provide extensive documentation of the impairment and evidence of its existence. Otherwise, the Social Security Administration may deny your claim. Denied claims can be quite difficult to appeal and require an attorney's assistance. However, you should not despair if the SSA denies your claim, because unfortunately, this is a frequent occurrence.

Before you submit your application for SSDI benefits, ensure that you have properly completed all the documentation needed and that you have sought professional advice and counsel if necessary. Getting legal assistance for your first application can prove to be a good investment that can save you from a denied claim.

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The Law Center for Social
Security Disability

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Oklahoma City, OK 73102

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