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Mental disorders may qualify for SSD benefits

According to the Social Security Administration, both physical disabilities and mental disorders could keep you out of work and qualify you for benefits. In order to qualify for SSDI benefits for illness, it is important that you prove to the SSA that you meet the necessary criteria.

The SSA will first refer to its Blue Book to see if your mental condition satisfies the requirements under Section 12. Various types of mental disorders are included in the Blue Book, including anxiety disorders, personality disorders, psychotic disorders and substance addiction. Each listing includes specific criteria you need to include in your medical evidence, as well as the criteria used to evaluate how the disorder limits your ability to work.

For example, the Blue Book lists anxiety disorders under Section 12.06. In Section 12.06(a), the Blue Book lists various symptoms for anxiety disorders, including fatigue, difficulty concentrating and irritability, and the SSA requires that a claimant has a minimum of three of the listed symptoms. In addition to three symptoms, 12.06(b) requires that the claimant suffers extreme limitation of one, or marked limitation of two, of the listed areas of mental functioning. The Blue Book lists four areas of mental functioning, covering the ability to understand information, ability to interact with others and other abilities commonly required in the workplace.

If you do not meet the criteria for limitations of mental functioning, you must meet the criteria of 12.06(c) and have a serious and persistent disorder that has been medically documented over the course of two years or more. To meet the requirements of 12.06(c), you will need evidence of both ongoing medical treatment and marginal adjustment.

Qualifying for SSD benefits with a mental condition can be challenging, but providing the SSA with a complete picture of your condition may help your application.

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