How to file for disability, Filing for SSI
Disability Requirements, Disability Status
How long is the wait?, Disability Application
The Social Security List of Impairments
Qualifying for Disability, Mental Disability
Disability Lawyer Info, Disability Back Pay

You can file for Social Security Disability for a mental disorder or problem if it interferes with substantial gainful activity

You may file for Social Security Disability or SSI for a mental problem or disorder, if it prevents you from performing substantial gainful work activity. Social Security does not differentiate between physical and mental problems; simply the condition is so severe that it prevents the performance of any kind of substantial work activity (SGA).

An evaluation on the basis of a mental disorder or problem requires an impairment that is documented by objective medical evidence, a consideration of the limitations that your mental disorder or disease imposes on your ability to work, and an evaluation as to whether these limitations will last for twelve continuous months or more.

In order to make this determination, disability examiners use a disability guide book that contains nine diagnostic mental impairment listings:
  • Organic mental disorders
  • Schizophrenic, paranoid and other psychotic disorders
  • Affective disorders (depression and bipolar syndrome)
  • Mental retardation
  • Anxiety-related disorders
  • Somatoform disorders
  • Personality disorders
  • Substance addiction disorders
  • Autistic and other pervasive developmental disorders
Most of the mental impairment listings contain three paragraphs. Paragraph A contains the criteria needed to medically document the presence of a specific mental disorder. The listings give specific symptoms, signs, and lab findings needed to substantiate the presence of a certain mental disorder. Paragraphs B and C are used to describe functional limitations that are not conducive to the performance of gainful work activity.

If your mental disorder or problem meets or equals the criteria of an impairment listing, Social Security determines that you could not reasonably be expected to perform any gainful work activity. If your mental condition does not meet or equal an impairment listing in severity, then you may or may not have the residual functional capacity to perform substantial work activity.

The decision on your case would be dependent on what social security considers to be your mental functional capacity, referred to as your MRFC, or mental residual functional capacity.

A determination of your mental residual functional capacity is critical to the evaluation of your ability to perform SGA when your mental disorder or problem does not meet or equal the criteria of a specific impairment listing.

The mental residual functional capacity evaluation (MRFC) is a detailed description of work related abilities you have in spite of the limitations of your mental disorder. An assessment of your residual functional capacity is necessary to satisfy paragraphs B and C of most mental impairment listings.

The definition of Social Security Disability is defined by three factors: a severe mental or physical condition, inability to perform substantial gainful work activity, and a twelve-month continuous period of disability. If you meet these criteria you can file for and potentially be approved for Social Security Disability or SSI benefits.

Essential Questions

What is the Social Security Disability SSI list of impairments?

Can you work while getting or applying for Disability?

How Often Does Social Security Approve Disability The First Time You Apply?

Tips for getting Social Security Disability or SSI benefits approved

What medical conditions will get you approved for disability?

What kind of Mental Problems Qualify for Disability?

Receiving a Disability Award Letter

Conditions Social Security will recognize as a disability

Previously answered questions regarding SSD and SSI

Applying for disability in your state

Most popular topics on SSDRC.com

Social Security Disability SSI Questions

The listings, list of disabling impairments

Can a mental illness qualify you for disability?

Disability Lawyers prevent unnecessary denials

How much Social Security Disability SSI back pay?

How to apply for disability for a child or children

Filing a Social Security Disability SSI application

Filing for disability - when to file

How to apply for disability - where to apply

Qualifications for disability benefits

How to Prove you are disabled and Win your Disability Benefits

Qualifying for Disability - The Process

How to get disability for depression

Getting disability for fibromyalgia

SSI disability for children with ADHD

What is the Application Process for Social Security Disability and SSI?

Common Mistakes to avoid after being denied for Disability

Social Security Disability SSI Exam tips

More Social Security Disability SSI Questions

Social Security Disability SSI definitions

What makes you eligible for Social Security Disability or SSI?

New and featured pages on SSDRC.com

Who can help me file for disability?

Related pages:

Can You Get Approved For SSI or SSD Benefits IF You Have A Mental Condition But Do Not Take Medication?
Will Your Claim for Disability be Handled Differently if it is Based on a Physical or Mental Problem?
Can I Qualify For Disability and Receive Benefits based on Depression?
The Social Security Disability and SSI Process for Mental Claims based on Mental Disorders
When you file for disability and have both Mental and Physical Conditions
What kind of Mental Problems Qualify for Disability?
Are SSI and Social Security Disability Requirements Tougher For Mental Claims?
Social Security Disability, SSI, Mental Disorders, and Functional Limitations
Why is Charcot-marie-tooth not on the Social Security Disability list of impairments?
Tips for SSD and SSI disability hearings
Getting a Disability Lawyer in Pennsylvania
If you apply for disability in Pennsylvania
Will I qualify for disability Benefits in Pennsylvania?

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

Can you get temporary Social Security Disability or SSI benefits?

Permanent Social Security Disability

What is the difference between Social Security Disability and SSI?

Who is eligible for SSI disability?

Can I Be Eligible For SSI And Social Security Disability At The Same Time?

What makes a person eligible to receive disability benefits?

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?

For the sake of clarity, SSDRC.com is not the Social Security Administration, nor is it associated or affiliated with SSA. This site is a personal, private website that is published, edited, and maintained by former caseworker and former disability claims examiner, Tim Moore, who was interviewed by the New York Times on the topic of Social Security Disability and SSI benefits in an article entitled "The Disability Mess" and also by the Los Angeles Times on the subject of political attempts to weaken the Social Security Disability system.

The goal of the site is to provide information about how Social Security Disability and SSI work, the idea being that qualified information may help claimants pursue their claims and appeals, potentially avoiding time-consuming mistakes. If you find the information on this site helpful and believe it would be helpful to others, feel free to share links to its homepage or other pages on website resource pages, blogs, or social media. Copying of this material, however, is prohibited.

To learn more about the author, please visit the SSDRC.com homepage and view the "about this site" link near the bottom of the page.