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You can apply for disability on the basis of any mental condition

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.

Return to:  Social Security Disability Resource Center, or read answers to Questions

Related pages:

What is considered a Disabling medical condition by Social Security?
Can you File for Disability for more than one Condition?
How Disabling Does A Condition Have To Be For Social Security Disability, SSDI Benefits?
Receiving Benefits - Your Medical Condition and Social Security Disability or SSI
What Conditions Qualify For Social Security Disability?
Receiving disability for a mental condition in North Carolina
What condition or conditions qualifies for disability in North Carolina?
Social Security Disability Approvals - Medical Conditions and Getting Approved
Court and a Lawyer to get approved for disability
Will my disability be stopped if I work?

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 answer some of the most basic questions for individuals who are considering filing a claim.

Filing for disability - How to file for SSD or SSI and the Information that is needed by Social Security
How to Apply for Disability - What medical conditions can you apply and qualify for?
Applying for Disability - How long does it take to get Social Security Disability or SSI benefits?
What happens if I file a disability application and it is denied by a disability examiner or Judge?
How to Prove you are disabled and qualify to win disability benefits
How do you prove your disability case if you have a mental condition or impairment?
Social Security Disability Back pay and How Long it Takes to Qualify for it and receive it
Social Security Disability SSI - Eligibility Requirements and Qualifications Criteria