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Willing but unable to work, millions rely on SSD & SSI benefits

An individual's ability to take in and process information, think clearly, reason and make rational decisions are critical to not only succeed in one's personal life, but also professionally. For millions of Americans living with a mental disorder, disruptive symptoms often interfere with their ability to be one time, process information, pay attention to details and make decisions; thereby making it extremely difficult to both find and keep a job.

A recent report from the National Alliance on Mental Illness reports an 80 percent unemployment rate among Americans living with a mental disorder. In many cases individuals who suffer from anxiety, major depression, bi-polar disorder or schizophrenia want to work, but are unable to do so without the assistance, guidance and support of others.

While unemployment rates for individuals with mental illnesses vary from state to state, they are all high, proof that there is an overall severe lack of resources available for those who want to work. Much of the problem stems from a lack of funding and advocacy for individuals in this population, problems that have only been exacerbated by the recent recession.

Thankfully, individuals who suffer from a disabling mental disorder are able to apply to receive Social Security disability insurance or Supplemental Security Income. These federal assistance programs provide monthly income benefits to millions of Americans who, despite the will, are hampered by their disabling conditions and therefore unable to work.

The process of applying for SSDI or SSI benefits requires an individual to provide sufficient medical and other documentation related to their condition. Even in cases where an individual believes that he or she provided sufficient information, a claim may still be denied. Upon appealing a disability benefits claim, an attorney can assist in ensuring an application is complete and comprehensive, thereby improving an individual's chances of being awarded SSDI or SSI benefits.

Source: Kaiser Health News, "Report: Adults With Serious Mental Illnesses Face 80% Unemployment," Jenny Gold, July 10, 2014

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