When Is a Mental Disorder Covered by Disability Benefits?

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If you have been recently diagnosed or have been struggling with a mental disorder that has prevented you from working, then you may be able to seek financial assistance from disability insurance. Disability insurance programs are designed to offer people a basic income to cover their living expenses when they can no longer work the same hours or cannot work at all. Whether you qualify for these benefits depends on the extent and severity of your mental disorder. If you run into problems along the way or have questions about this process, consider talking with a Pennsylvania disability benefits lawyer for guidance. 

Types of Mental Disorders Covered by Disability Benefits

You may be wondering what mental disorders covered by disability benefits include. The Social Security Administration (SSA) has specific guidelines for what a mental disorder needs to be and the way in which this disorder affects daily functioning.  

In general, the exact mental disorder needs to be diagnosed by a health professional. This can mean by a counselor, medical doctor, psychologist, or psychiatrist. The mental disorder must prevent you from working the same hours or prevent you from working at all. At the same When Is a Mental Disorder Covered by Disability Benefits?time, the mental disorder must be severe enough to stop you from training for other types of jobs. Lastly, the mental disorder needs to be predicted to last at least a year.

There are nine main types of mental disorder categories listed by the SSA that could qualify for disability benefits as long as certain additional conditions are met. These include:

  • Psychotic disorders – these involve hallucinations and delusions 
  • Organic disorders – these affect the nervous system
  • Affective Disorders – depression or bipolar disorders
  • Anxiety-related disorders – any disorder that involves significant anxiety
  • Somatoform disorders – distress from health or somatic problems
  • Personality disorders – longstanding maladaptive traits
  • Mental retardation – learning and intellectual disabilities
  • Substance addiction disorders – substance dependence and withdrawal
  • Autistic and pervasive developmental disorders – problems during childhood development

Qualifying for Disability Benefits with a Mental Disorder

Each of these mental disorder categories come with their own requirements for qualifying for disability benefits. Affective disorders must have been treated for two years with the inability for you to function without a supportive atmosphere. There must be medical records that show this disorder affects your work performance. Anxiety disorders must involve constant fear, multiple panic attacks, continued compulsions or obsessions, or excessive anxiety.

Autism must limit communication abilities enough to hinder work performance. Mental retardation must involve dependence on others or an IQ less than 70. Organic mental disorders require medical evidence. Psychotic disorders must have lasted two years with evidence of impaired work performance. 

These are just some of the requirements. Talk to a lawyer or visit the SSA website to find out more. 

Disability Benefits Lawyer in Pennsylvania 

Applying for disability benefits is often tedious, but receiving a rejection letter can be horrific news when you are in a desperate financial situation. If this has happened to you, a Pennsylvania denied benefits appeal lawyer may be able to help. Feel free to call Edelstein & Nelson at 1-800-300-0909 today for a consultation. Working with a disability lawyer can help you through the lengthy application process. 

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