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What Mental Health Symptoms Can Qualify For Social Security Disability Benefits?

Posted on behalf of Goldberg Finnegan, LLC on Jan 19, 2015 in Social Security Disability

Couple Filing for SSDI BenefitsFiling for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits can be a daunting task will the Social Security Administration (SSA) approve my claim? How much will I get for my disability? What if my claim is denied? For those filing a claim of mental impairment, these question of whether the SSA will recognize their condition as compensable can be even more of a grey area.

As with physical impairments, the administration concentrates more on the degree to which your condition impairs you from performing the tasks of you job and whether you can hold gainful employment, but less on what your actual disability or diagnosis is. That said, there are a number of mental health conditions that the SSA recognizes in its handbook as disabilities that will qualify you for compensation.

Qualifying Mental Health Conditions

While these impairments are listed as compensable, it is important to note that the person applying for disability must display symptoms that limit their capacity to perform the tasks of their job. The SSA's handbook recognizes organic mental disorders (decreased brain function,) somatoform disorders, schizophrenia, affective disorders like depression and bi-polar mood disorder, autism, anxiety-related disorders, autism, substance addiction, and numerous other developmental disorders in its handbook.

Even if your disorder does not fall into one of these categories it is still possible to be approved for benefits from the SSA. Evidence that you cannot perform the skills of your job (or another similar job) may be enough to qualify you for compensation. As with any condition, the amount of compensation will vary based on the disability rating you receive from the SSA.

Determining Functional Capacity

A workers functional capacity is the SSA's main concern, but how is functional capacity determined? Records of medical examinations, diagnoses, and information about the applicants daily living activities all affect their functional capacity. The SSA considers a persons ability to live independently and perform activities like cooking, cleaning, maintaining personal hygiene and their ability to function in social settings as markers for functional capacity.

What this means is that even an individual with a diagnosed mental disorder may not receive SSDI benefits if their ability to take care of themselves, perform their job and interact with others is not obviously impacted by their condition.

Appealing a decision from the SSA is the usual next step if a claim has been denied. Contacting a Social Security Disability attorney will allow you to move through the appeals process with less stress, and with the confidence that an experienced legal team is handling the paperwork you need completed to successfully receive the benefits you deserve.

To take the first step and appeal your claim, contact Goldberg Finnegan today for a free consultation. Simply fill out our case evaluation form or call (888) 213-8140.

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