Social Security Disability: Mental and emotional disabilities

When considering their eligibility for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits, many individuals might typically only focus on physical disabilities. However, the Social Security Administration (SSA) has indicated that numerous mental and emotional disorders are eligible to receive benefits as well. Claimants need to be fully aware of their options.

The SSA has set eligibility requirements on nine categories of mental disorders:

  • Affective disorders generally impact an individual’s ability to regulate emotions. Depression and bipolar disorder are examples of this.
  • Anxiety disorders can include disabilities such as panic attacks and numerous other types of phobias.
  • Developmental disorders such as autism.
  • Mental retardation and other learning disabilities.
  • Organic mental disorders such as dementia or Alzheimer’s are disabling conditions that generally affect the nervous system.
  • Personality disorders can be any disorder that prevents an individual from acting in a manner generally accepted by society. Disabilities can include obsessive-compulsive disorder and passive-aggressive disorder.
  • Psychotic disorders are mental illnesses such as schizophrenia and paranoia.
  • Somatoform disorders can be disabilities of a general type that do not seem to fit the symptoms of other categories.
  • Substance addiction can include addiction to drugs, alcohol or prescription medication.

If you are unable to maintain gainful employment due to a mental or emotional disability, it is wise to seek more information about the benefits available to you. Even if your specific disorder is not listed here, you could still receive SSD benefits. It might be wise to start writing a journal about your symptoms and how the mental or emotional disorder affects your daily life – personally and professionally.