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SSDRC authored by Tim Moore
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Social Security Disability For Mental Disorders
Recently, someone asked in a disability forum if an individual can receive Social Security disability for Mental disorders. Another individual in the forum responded and said:
ďI work with this population, so first of all...they do not get very much money unless they have worked a long work history. Secondly, they are truly impaired and cannot work. Thirdly, a psychiatrist has to deem them unable to work and psychiatrists are not liberal in handing out disability determinations to people."
I would agree with this individualís response to the question. However, regarding the statement "they do not get very much money unless they have worked a long work history", I should mention the following.
Social Security disability benefit amounts are geared so that individuals who are younger and/or have worked less (and also those who have worked for a shorter time) might receive a higher benefit than other individuals who have plugged along at jobs that did not pay much for years.
It really depends on when an individualís mental disorder began to prevent them from working. Some individuals never get started and thus they never become insured for Social Security disability. Or, they earned just enough to be insured but had small earnings amounts (individuals earn their Social Security disability insured status through their work earnings). In these cases, it is true that an individual will receive small disability benefit payments.
Secondly, it is clearly evident that individuals who suffer from mental disorders are just as impaired as individuals who suffer from physical impairments. Fortunately, the Social Security Administration handles this in a practical manner as it considers any mental or physical impairment to be severe if it simply prevents an individual from working at what it considers to be a substantial and gainful activity level.
Finally, it is absolutely true that many disability agency psychiatrists and psychologists (a disability determination services mental consultant can be either a Ph.D psychologist or a M.D. psychiatrist) do not support disability approvals in any liberal sense. And some, honestly, are adversarial toward claimants (I am reminded of a psychologist who was attached to one of my case processing units who, quite frankly, should have been fired for the opinions she put on cases).
Although, I would say that Social Security has gotten somewhat more realistic when making disability determinations based upon mental disorders.
For instance, there is currently a trend of fewer durational denials (Social Security gives durational denials for conditions that they feel will become non-debilitating within twelve months or less) for mental conditions such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, and more disability benefit approvals based upon anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and other mental conditions.
Hopefully, this particular trend will continue so that individuals with mental conditions can receive the same consideration as those with physically disabling conditions, not just within the confines of Social Security disability but within society in general.
Return to: Social Security Disability Resource Center, or read answers to Questions
Liver cancer going up
Social Security ticket to work and back pay
Fibromyalgia and a shrinking brain
The Social Security Award Notice
Can you get disability for OCD?
Can you get disability for Chronic fatigue and Fibromyalgia?
Is Chronic Fatigue considered a disability by Social Security?
How to file for disability in Delaware
Can You Get Disability Benefits If You Were Self-Employed?
Developmental Delay and Filing for Disability
Spinal Stenosis and Filing for Disability
Can you be approved for disability without a hearing?
Filing for disability and financial help
Getting approved after a Social Security Disability Psychological exam
How long does it take to receive disability benefits after you are approved?
Information on the following topics can be found here: Social Security Disability Questions and in these subsections:
Frequently asked questions about getting Denied for Disability Benefits | FAQ on Disability Claim Representation | Info about Social Security Disability Approvals and Being Approved | FAQ on Social Security Disability SSI decisions | The SSD SSI Decision Process and what gets taken into consideration | Disability hearings before Judges | Medical exams for disability claims | Applying for Disability in various states | Selecting and hiring Disability Lawyers | Applying for Disability in North Carolina | Recent articles and answers to questions about SSD and SSI
These pages provide answers to basic questions about pursuing disability benefits
Getting a disability approval
How to appeal disability denial
Disability hearing results
Helpful tips for going to social security disability hearing
SSDI hearing decision
Denied social security disability now what
Social security disability appeal status
Social security disability appeal attorney fees
I was denied social security disability for the 2nd time
What happens after a disability hearing has been held
How long does a Social Security Disability judge have to make a ruling?
The Social Security Disability Blue book
How to get an SSDI reconsideration approved?
Conditions that get approved for disability
Social security disability back pay status
Denied social security disability appeal
What to say at a disability hearing
Filing for disability with fibromyalgia
Tips for applying for disability