Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Mental Illnesses that Qualify for Social Security Disability Benefits

If a mental illness has resulted in significant impairment and disability, it could eventually qualify for social security disability benefits.

A mental disorder that has lasted or is expected to last for at least a year could mean that an individual may qualify for social security disability benefits. However, the Social Security Administration (SSA) actually provided 9 categories for the classification of disabilities, namely:

• Natural Mental Disorder – it is when a behavioral or psychological impairment was brought by a brain malfunction.

• Schizophrenia – it is characterized by a breakdown of thinking processes and by poor emotional responsiveness. The disorder usually shows itself as auditor hallucinations, paranoid or strange illusions or disorganized speech and thinking. Significant social or occupational malfunction also comes along with the disorder.

• Affective Disorders – it is a manic or depressive syndrome which could be full or partial.

• Mental Retardation – it is a generalized disorder that usually comes to light before adulthood. It is usually characterized by significantly impaired perceptive functioning and lack of two or more adaptive behaviors.

• Anxiety Disorder – it is a disorder divided into generalized anxiety disorder, phobic disorder, and panic disorder.

• Somatoform Disorder – it is usually characterized by physical symptoms that suggest physical illness or injury; symptoms which cannot be fully explained by a general medical condition, direct effect of a substance, or chargeable to another mental condition.

• Personality Disorder – it is a class of personality types and persisting behaviors that come with significant distress or disability, which seems to depart from social expectations specifically in dealing with others.

• Substance Addiction Disorder – it is a condition when a person continues the use of alcohol or other drugs despite the problems related to the use of the intoxicating substance.

• Autistic Disorder – it is a condition caused by neural development usually characterized by impaired social interaction and communication as well as by limited and repetitive behavior.

In order for a person to qualify for the social security disability benefits, an individual must meet the criteria set by the agency for each of the said category.

Aside from the above mental disorders, there may be other types of mental illnesses that are not included on the list which could also qualify a person for social security disability benefits. However, each case will be carefully evaluated by the agency and the latter will also require proof of evidences showing that a person is unable to perform a job and other strenuous activities. Evidences include its signs and symptoms as well as the physicians’ finding, most particularly the psychological evaluation.

Chances of being qualified for the social security disability benefits are at stake. Most commonly, initial claims are often denied. Therefore, to improve a person’s chances of an approved claim, the best way is to have the best representation at the very start with the help of a qualified lawyer.