Mental Illness and Applying for Disability Benefits

It is Possible to Receive Disability Benefits for Mental Disorders.

It is possible to receive disability benefits for mental disorders. It is typically harder to receive benefits for a mental health issue because some mental health disorders fluctuate in their severity which can make them hard to categorize. Claims examiners who work for the Social Security Administration are not psychiatrists and don’t always understand how certain mental illnesses can be limiting and how the symptoms can go through cycles in severity.

When Evaluating a Condition, the Disability Examiner Consults the list of Impairments (Sometimes Called the Blue Book).

List of Impairments. There are different categories in the blue book such as schizophrenia, mental retardation, anxiety-related disorder and autistic disorder. Within each of the different categories, there is a statement describing the disorder and criteria that would allow the examiner to try and determine if the claimant fits the category according to diagnosis and severity based on the claimant’s functional limitations.


Some of the Medical Conditions in the Blue Book are Recognized by the Social Security Administration as Inherently Disabling.

If your disability meets one of these conditions, then you would be awarded disability benefits. If your disability is listed but isn’t as severe as the listing requires for benefits and you can demonstrate that your condition will likely last for at least twelve months, you may still be able to receive disability benefits.