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Is Mental Illness a Disability?

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Can I Get Disability Benefits For Mental Illness? Free Consultation.

Help Getting Social Security Disability for Mental Illness in Upstate New York

When many people think about “disabilities,” they think of physical, visible health impairments. If you’re living with life-altering mental health issues, you may wonder, “Is mental health a disability for the purpose of getting disability benefits?”

For Social Security Disability, it absolutely is.

In fact, mental disorders are the second most common type of impairment that workers receive disability benefits for, according to Social Security numbers. A quarter of people getting disability benefits in recent years have mental health conditions, second only to bone and muscle problems.

And these benefits—including financial assistance and Medicare access—give you the foundation you need to work on your mental health and overall well-being.

Winning Social Security Disability benefits, however, is a tricky process. An overwhelming number of people are denied.

Applying for disability benefits with mental illness in particular takes special care. But you can work with an experienced Social Security Disability lawyer on your claim.

Lachman & Gorton Law Office has been helped thousands of people for over 40 years. Our disability attorneys serve people in Elmira, Binghamton, Rochester, and across Upstate New York.

Read further for more about how to get disability benefits for mental illness.

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Is Mental Illness a Disability to Social Security? These Conditions Are Covered.

Social Security’s official listing of impairments for disability benefits recognizes several mental illnesses:

  • Agoraphobia (fear of outside situations)
  • Anxiety
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Depression
  • Eating disorders
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Panic disorder
  • Personality disorders
  • Psychosis
  • Schizophrenia
  • Somatic symptom disorder (distress over physical conditions)
  • Stress conditions, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

These aren’t the only mental conditions you could put in your disability benefits application. The key to any disability benefits claim is that you must be unable to work because of any and all health problems that you have.

With mental health disorders, you’ll need to carefully document how all of your symptoms impede your ability to function in a job setting. And you’ll need to explain how your age, education, work background and more leave you without options for other work.

Many others have gone through this process before you. Mental illness is extremely common. The National Institute of Mental Health estimates more than 20 percent of adults in the United States, about 58 million people, grapple with mental health problems.

Get started by talking to our disability lawyers for an initial, no-cost consultation. Tell us about your situation and needs. We’ll give you an idea of what your disability claim for mental illness could require.

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How to Get Disability Benefits for Mental Illness

You need evidence, medical records and documentation for your mental illness disability application. Social Security looks for “objective” evidence, meaning sources other than yourself attesting to how mental health problems are affecting you.

These sources can be psychologists, doctors, physician assistants, psychiatric nurse practitioners, counselors, social workers, people who personally know you and more.

The specifics change depending on your exact form of mental illness, but you’ll always need to provide records from your mental health treatment, such as:

  • Your official diagnosis
  • Description of your symptoms
  • Your mental health history
  • Results of exams and interviews
  • Psychological ratings
  • Mental health test results
  • Observations of you
  • Medical imaging
  • Laboratory findings
  • Details of medications you take
  • Details of therapy you attend
  • Changes in the way you speak or move
  • How long your symptoms are expected to last
  • Statements from people who know you

Social Security will want a picture of your efforts to get treatment over a period of time. And it will look at your situation through the lens of how you function day to day, regardless of which mental health conditions and symptoms you have. Social Security will want to see how you:

  • Process information
  • Interact with other people
  • Stay on task
  • Take care of your own daily needs

The strain of mental illness on your life is hard for anyone who doesn’t experience it themselves to understand. The work of building an application for Social Security Disability, and appealing denials of benefits, adds more strain.

Your Social Security Disability lawyer can ease this process for you, and maybe improve your chances of getting benefits. You should also know that you don’t pay a disability attorney fee up front. You only pay from benefits you win.

Let the disability lawyers at Lachman & Gorton help you get life-changing benefits for a mental illness disability, and more peace back in your life.

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National Organization of Social Security Claimants’ Representatives
United States District Court of Northern and Western Districts
Broome County Bar Association