It is often easier to notice a person with physical disabilities due to his or her restrictions in movements. As a result, many Americans are unaware that many mental disabilities are covered by the Social Security Administration, or SSA, for Social Security Disability Insurance, also known as SSDI. But unseen disabilities such as illnesses and mental disabilities are often no less severe or debilitating for many Americans.
There are many mental impairments that can be considered for the disability evaluation process by the SSA, including but not limited to schizophrenia, autistic disorders, depression, anxiety, bipolar disease and mental retardation. Claims for SSDI may also be applied to previous disabilities or impairments due to a history of drug or alcohol abuse.
Even if your disability is not listed, social security disability benefits for mental conditions may be applied for a number of mental, anxiety, and personality disorders as well as depressive syndromes. You may still be covered if the impairment prohibits you from performing substantial gainful activity and is likely to last for at least 12 months or end in death.
Due to its inherent nature of being less physically tangible to notice and diagnose, proving the disorder may come with a few hurdles. Possible cyclical levels of impairment may leave a victim with times where the victim is less affected. It may also be harder for a sufferer to describe his or her symptoms and disabilities. With that in mind, medical professionals do a few things. They may examine a victim's activities of daily living, analyze previous physicians' records, collect feedback from family members and friends and will likely conduct a mental consultative exam. The report will then be sent to a local Disability Determination Services agency for approval or denial.
Source: findlaw.com "Mental Health Disability Claims," Accessed Aug. 1, 2015