Mental conditions can be categorized in a number of different ways, but, for the sake of seeking benefits, it is important to know that the Social Security Administration puts them into 11 general categories. These help to give structure to the process, and they also categorize other types of ailments.
For mental conditions, the 11 categories are:
- Trauma- and stressor-related disorders
- Autism spectrum disorder
- Somatic symptom and related disorders
- Neurocognitive disorders
- Intellectual disorder
- Schizophrenia spectrum and other psychotic disorders
- Anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorders
- Depressive, bipolar and related disorders
- Eating disorders
- Neurodevelopmental disorders
- Personality and impulse-control disorders
Now, someone may have more than one of these disorders at the same time. Everyone’s situation is different. For instance, depression and anxiety are commonly linked and often occur at once, though they are in two separate categories here. Someone who is on the autism spectrum disorder, for example, could also have an obsessive-compulsive disorder or an intellectual disorder.
The key, though, is to understand that the SSA does recognize these mental conditions. They do not just give out benefits only to those with physical issues, though the physical limitations may be more obvious to outsiders than mental conditions. Still, working closely with a medical team can easily get a diagnosis on the grounds of one of these mental conditions, which can then be used to pursue benefits and aid when needed.
If you are starting this process, please be aware that it is complex and it can take some time. You need to very carefully look into your rights and all of the legal steps you need to take moving forward.