What is the Application Process for Social Security Disability and SSI?
How do you Win Benefits under Social Security Disability or SSI?
If I am determined disabled, how far back will Social Security pay benefits?
How do you prove your disability case if you have a mental condition?
What Can I Do to Improve My Chances of Winning Disability Benefits
Common Mistakes after Receiving a Denial of Social Security Disability or SSI Benefits
How to File for Disability - Tips for Filing
If You Get Approved For SSDI Will You Also Get Medicare?
How much does a Social Security disability attorney get paid?
Social Security Disability SSI Criteria and the Evaluation Process
How long does it take to be approved for SSI or Social Security disability?
What do you Need to Prove to Qualify for Disability Benefits?
Social Security Disability SSI and Fibromyalgia
Social Security Disability SSI and Degenerative Disc Disease
Can I Qualify For Disability and Receive Benefits based on Depression?
Answers to questions about SSD and SSI disability
What Disabilities Qualify for SSI and Social Security Disability Benefits?
Social Security Disability Status
Social Security Disability Tips — how a claim gets worked on
Social Security Disability, SSI Disability - Terms, Definitions, Concepts
Can you apply for disability if you have a mental condition ?
How to prove you are disabled
and win disability benefits
Yes, you can apply for Social Security disability and/or Supplemental Security Income disability (SSI) if you have a mental condition. Social Security does not differentiate between physical and mental conditions. You may apply for disability on the basis of any mental condition, including but certainly not limited to the following: depression, anxiety, panic attacks, bipolar disorder, personality disorder, memory loss, or any other type of cognitive or mood disorder.
Social Security uses the same five-step sequential disability evaluation process to determine disability eligibility for physical and mental impairments.
The first step of this evaluation process is an evaluation of your work activity. If you are working, Social Security must evaluate whether or not you are performing SGA. (Substantial gainful activity or SGA is work activity at a level that social security considers self-supporting. If you are working and earning over the monthly SGA monthly limit amount, it does not matter how severe your mental condition is--your disability claim will be denied.
If you are not performing SGA, they move to the second step. The second step determines if you have a severe medically determinable mental impairment (or physical impairment) and if your mental condition has lasted or is expected to last twelve continuous months.
Social Security uses treatment records from psychiatrists, psychologists, hospitals, physicians, or any other kind of medical professional to document the existence and severity of your mental condition.
If you have a severe mental condition, the disability examiner moves to the third step. The third step determines whether or not your mental condition meets or equals the severity requirements of an impairment listing. You may be approved for disability benefits at this step. If not, your ability to perform any of your past work (fourth step) and your ability to do other kinds of work (fifth step) has to be evaluated.
At this point, Social Security may consider your age, education, residual functional capacity (what you are able to do despite the limitations of your disabling condition), and the transferability of your job skills. If they determine that you cannot do any of your past work or any other kind of work due to the limitations of your mental condition, you may be approved for disability benefits through a medical vocational allowance.
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Individual Questions and Answers
SSD and SSI are Federal Programs
The title II Social Security Disability and title 16 SSI Disability programs operate under federal guidelines and, therefore, the program requirements--medical and non-medical--apply to all states:
Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming
Recent approval and denial statistics for various states can be viewed here:
Social Security Disability, SSI Approval and Denial Statistics by state
Special Section: Disability Lawyers and unnecessary claim denials