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Is it hard to get Social Security disability for mental health?

Data published by the Social Security Administration (SSA) shows that 8 million individuals were receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) in 2017. At least one-quarter of those had a mental health condition listed as their primary impairment. Many of the diagnoses were so severe that they prevented recipients from being gainfully employed. Even still, many applicants with mental health conditions struggle to receive SSDI benefits.

If you ask anyone who has tried to qualify for benefits solely based on having a mental disorder, they’ll tell you that the process was complex — and often frustrating. Intellectual impairments and psychological conditions that include post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety and severe depression are easily identifiable on the SSA’s Listing of Impairments. Yet, few applicants qualify for benefits based only on having such a condition.

Many of the individuals who ultimately receive SSDI benefits suffer from physical disabilities in addition to their mental health conditions. This is often what results in their applications being approved when other applicants’ requests are denied.

Most of the individuals who do ultimately receive SSDI for mental health conditions are 50 or older. Virtually everyone else faces an uphill battle to ultimately land benefits. Three-quarters of all SSDI benefits applications are denied.

Applicants may reapply for benefits, but it can take the SSA months or years to re-review an applicant’s file. Many people die while waiting to be approved for SSDI. Others wait so long to hear back from the SSA that they die within five years of being awarded benefits.

A Social Security disability attorney can advise you of what you need to include in your application to give you the strongest chance of success when applying for benefits here in Oklahoma City.

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