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Can I Get Social Security Disability Benefits for a Mental Illness?

girl sits on a couch while talking to a mental health specialistSocial Security Disability benefits are available for people who have become disabled and are no longer able to work. For some, this may mean a physical disability, such as an injury that leaves you unable to walk or to have full range of motion in your arms. For others, it may mean a mental disability brought on by a mental illness such as schizophrenia.

The Social Security Administration does consider some mental illnesses and disorders as criteria for receiving Social Security Disability benefits. However, many claims that are based on mental conditions are rejected more often than those based on physical disability. The reason is that it can be difficult to objectively show that a mental condition is severe enough to prevent basic work functions. In addition, not all examiners may have the training to understand how to evaluate mental disorders or illnesses in relation to employment.

Some mental disorders and illnesses are included in the Social Security Administration’s official listing of impairments (http://www.ssa.gov/disability/professionals/bluebook/12.00-MentalDisorders-Adult.htm) — meaning that, if you have one of these conditions and meet all of the required criteria noted in the listing, you are considered to be disabled. This list includes:

• Schizophrenic, paranoid and other psychotic disorders
• Affective disorders, such as depression or hallucinations
• Mental retardation
• Anxiety-related disorders
• Somatoform disorders
• Personality disorders
• Autistic disorders and other pervasive developmental disorders

For each of these conditions, other criteria must be met to show that it is disabling.

If you have a condition that is not listed, or if your condition does not meet the criteria in these listings, you may still be eligible for benefits. You will have to show that your condition will interfere with your ability to perform work and that the condition is likely to last for a long period of time.

North Carolina Social Security Disability Lawyers

If you have been denied Social Security Disability benefits, the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin may be able to help you. Call 1-866-900-7078 for a free evaluation of your case and to find out if one of our North Carolina Social Security Disability lawyers may be able to help you!