Social Security Disability for Mental Disorders: 5 Questions

Written by John Horn. Posted in Blogs, Social Security Disability

If you suffer from a mental disorder that prevents you from working, you may be eligible for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits. Here are answers to some frequently asked questions regarding the application process for benefits when it comes to applying for SSD for a mental condition.

  1. What Types of Mental Disorders Are Covered?

If you’ve been diagnosed with a mental disorder, you’ll need to talk to an SSD representative. Social Security Disability benefits cover a wide variety of mental disorders, including Schizophrenia, personality disorders and anxiety disorders, to name just a few. Your SSD representative can help you determine if your disorder is severe enough to qualify you for benefits.

  1. How Is Eligibility Determined?

If you have a mental disorder that is severe, you’ll need to submit an application for SSD benefits. Each covered mental disorder has specific eligibility requirements. Here are some of the eligibility requirements for three common mental disorders.


If you’ve been diagnosed with schizophrenia, you will need to show that you’ve been adversely affected by the disorder for at least two years and that the condition affects your ability to work. You can also qualify for eligibility if you’ve experienced hallucinations, delusions, or other serious symptoms of the disorder.

Personality Disorders

If you’ve been diagnosed with a personality disorder, you will need to provide proof that your condition prevents you from adjusting to everyday situations including work and social activities. You’ll also need to show that the disorder causes you to experience inappropriate hostility, aggressiveness, or impulsivity, to name a few.

Anxiety Disorders

If you’ve been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, your medical records will need to show that you live in a state of constant irrational fear, persistent anxiety coupled with apprehensive expectation, motor tension, or recurring panic attacks that occur on at least a weekly basis.

  1. What If I Can’t Afford Continued Treatment?

If you plan on applying for Social Security Disability benefits for a mental disorder, you need to continue treatment with a psychologist or psychiatrist. During the application process, your treatment will be a determining factor for eligibility. If you’ve discontinued treatment prior to applying for benefits, your application may be denied. If you can’t afford treatment, seek help through a community outreach center or free clinic.

  1. Will I Need an Attorney?

If you plan to apply for Social Security Disability benefits, you should hire an attorney. Errors or omissions on your application may result in delays or automatic denials. An experienced attorney will file your application to ensure that everything is filled out correctly. Your attorney will also help you understand the process.

  1. What Happens If My Claim Is Denied?

If you apply for Social Security Disability benefits and your claim is denied, you’ll need to file an appeal. Your application may be denied for a few reasons, including application errors, technicalities, and medical issues.

If you receive a denial, you will have the opportunity to appeal the decision. During the appeals process, your claim will be re-evaluated. If your appeal is approved, you’ll receive back payments for your benefits.

If you’re unable to work due to a severe mental disorder and you plan to apply for Social Security Disability, contact us at Horn and Kelley, PC. We can help you get the benefits you need.


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With locations in Tinley Park, IL; La Grange, IL; Chicago, IL; & Highland, IN, getting started on your Social Security Disability claim has never been easier.

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