The average person often does not understand that mental and psychological issues are generally physical issues in disguise. Problems such as depression and anxiety may be manifestations of underlying hormonal imbalances in the body, and malfunctions in the brain can show up as a variety of mental illnesses that are just as debilitating as loss of a limb or organ failure.
The Social Security Administration is well aware of this. However, you may find that filing a claim for Social Security Disability based on mental illness may be even more challenging than for more familiar physical challenges.
The Administration uses a list of recognized mental disorders to determine whether an applicant may qualify for benefits, including:
- Organic Mental Disorders — Brain dysfunction characterized by symptoms such as disorientation, memory impairment and emotional instability
- Schizophrenic, paranoid and other psychotic disorders — Medically documented instances of hallucinations, delusions, incoherence or emotional isolation
- Affective Disorders — Mood disorders such as manic-depressive (also known as bipolar) syndrome
- Mental Retardation — A significant deficiency in intellectual function
- Anxiety-Related Disorders — Persistent irrational fears, panic attacks, etc.
- Personality Disorders — Deeply ingrained, long-term maladaptive behavior
- Substance Addiction Disorder
- Autism and other developmental disorders
Proving the existence and severity of these conditions can be difficult, but a knowledgeable Social Security Disability attorney can help you present a convincing case.