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Applying for Disability with a Mental Illness

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People with disabilities may feel slightly out of place in today’s fast-paced world. While differently-abled people weren’t offered much help before, our society is now becoming more open-minded. This is why disability benefits exist. Disability benefits improve the quality of life of so many disabled people. 

You’d also be eligible to request disability payday loans from online lending platforms during emergencies. This type of loan doesn’t require a monthly income to qualify – just as long as you receive disability checks. 

Disability benefits apply to particular people with mental illnesses as well. This type of disability is often invisible to other people, making getting help even harder than it needs to be. However, by researching your options and knowing your rights, you can apply for disability and live a better life.

Is mental illness a disability?

While not all mental illnesses are qualified as disabilities, there are some disorders that the SSA grants social security for. To determine what qualifies for disability, the Social Security Administration uses The Blue Book. In Section 12, you can read about the types of disorders that make you eligible for that Social Security check. In fact, there are a total of nine types of mental disorders that qualify:

  • Anxiety disorders (generalised anxiety disorder, panic disorder, PTSD, and OCD)
  • Autism and related conditions
  • Intellectual disabilities (Down syndrome, fragile X syndrome, PWS, and FASD)
  • Affective disorders (bipolar disorder and depression)
  • Psychotic disorders (paranoia and schizophrenia)
  • Substance addiction (addiction to drugs, pain killers, and alcohol)
  • Organic mental disorders (dementia, Alzheimer’s, and amnesia)
  • Personality disorders (borderline, paranoid, and histrionic personality disorders)
  • Somatoform disorders (somatisation, conversion, pain disorders)

How to qualify for disability

To qualify for disability for a mental disorder, you need a formal diagnosis showing that you’ll be disabled for longer than 12 months. Mental health conditions will have varied specific requirements. Some will require you to show that you’ve received treatment for two years with little to no improvement. You should also be receiving treatment while applying for disability. 

Steps to applying disability for a mental health condition

Now that you know what types of disorders qualify for disability and how to qualify, it’s time to look at the application process. 

Gather all the information

Firstly, you must gather all required personal and medical information. Your Social Security number, medical records, names and dosages of the medication you’re taking, and lab test results are all on that list.

In addition, you should have the contact information of all the medical professionals you consulted and the dates of when you visited them.

If you don’t have all the documentation you need to apply, it’s best to wait until you have completed them before applying. 

Application process

Once the documentation has been collected, applying for benefits is relatively straightforward. You can complete the application online, which is convenient because you don’t need to leave the comfort of your home.

If you’re not very tech-savvy, feel free to call 1-800-772-1213 to apply. Finally, you can always apply at your local Social Security office, which is helpful when you have concerns that need to be addressed. 

However, this doesn’t mean you’re left entirely on your own when applying online. The SSA has developed a disability starter kit that helps you prepare for your online application or even disability interview. Remember that the application is available in two languages (English and Spanish) and comes with additional informational links that will help you complete it successfully.


It’s undeniable that some mental illnesses can be considered disabilities. Applying for disability may not solve all your life problems, but it will lessen the load and enable you to focus on becoming better. Articles like these help you find the support you need and live your life to the fullest.

John Wayne did his degree in psychology at the University of Hertfordshire. He is interested in mental health, wellness, and lifestyle.

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