Robert D. Paulbeck, Attorney at Law
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Can I claim disability benefits for a mental condition?

Disability benefits are an option for individuals who are unable to work due to a qualifying medical condition, but Michigan residents may be unaware that this option also extends to individuals with certain mental conditions as well. If a mental disability or condition precludes you from holding a regular job, you would be wise to explore your options for financial support through Social Security Disability benefits (SSD) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

Eligibility for SSD benefits

There are two types of disability benefits. SSD benefits are for individuals who may be limited in their ability to work due to a physical or mental condition. In order to secure SSD benefits, applicants must meet the following two requirements:

  • Have an employment history of jobs covered by Social Security
  • Have a qualifying medical condition expected to last for at least one year

Not everyone who needs disability benefits will qualify for SSD benefits. If you do not meet the employment history requirements for SSD, you may have other options available to you.

Eligibility for SSI benefits

For Supplemental Security Income, you do not have to have a qualifying employment history, but you must meet the following requirements:

  • Have a qualifying medical condition
  • Have documentation proving financial hardship

When deciding if an applicant is eligible for SSI benefits, the Social Security Administration will evaluate your income and assets to determine if there is a genuine financial need. The amount of SSI benefits you may receive depends on your individual circumstances.

What mental conditions qualify?

It can be difficult to secure benefits because of a mental condition. Mental health professionals do not evaluate applications, and some, if not most, initial claims come back denied. The following is a list of some of the conditions that may qualify a person for SSD or SSI benefits:

  • Bipolar disorder
  • Depression
  • Severe anxiety
  • Schizophrenia
  • PTSD
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • ADHD
  • Agoraphobia

Validating your claim will require ample documentation, such as records and letters from your doctor and any other health care providers. Struggling with a mental illness is difficult, and it can be particularly complex to navigate the benefits claims process by yourself.

You do not have to navigate any step of the process alone, but have the right to legal support from the very beginning. A denied claim is rather common, but that is not the end of the road for you. You have the option to request a reconsideration or appeal and continue to fight for the disability benefits you need for a mental health condition.

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