Can I Receive Disability Benefits for Mental Health Issues?

Can I Receive Disability Benefits for Mental Health Issues?

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A mental illness is a condition that affects a person’s thinking, feelings, mood, or behavior. Mental illness can affect how a person relates to others or functions throughout the day. About one in five adults experience mental illness.

In the past and still in some cases today, talking about mental illness has been frowned upon by society — almost ignored — because a person with a mental illness may not have visible symptoms compared to others with physical disabilities. An illness is still an illness, no matter if the next person can see the symptoms or not. Therefore, it’s good to know what a mental illness is, how to seek help if you have a mental illness, and what to know about receiving disability benefits if your mental illness affects your ability to work.

What to Know about Mental Illness

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Mental health problems are very common in adults and children and have serious repercussions if treatment is not sought out. It’s misleading to believe that people with mental illnesses are violent, unpredictable, have character flaws, have no hope, or don’t want to seek help. Mental illness is a serious concern because it affects a person’s ability to have control over their lives. Most likely, you know someone with a mental illness; some common examples of mental illness are:

  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Autism
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Borderline personality disorder (BPD)
  • Depression
  • Dissociative disorders
  • Early psychosis and psychosis
  • Eating disorders
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Schizoaffective disorder
  • Schizophrenia

Where to Seek Help for Mental Illness

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If you believe that you may have a mental illness, please seek help immediately and know that you are not alone in the process. Involve friends and family for support. To learn about services provided in your area, reach out to some of the following resources:

  • Emergency Medical Services (911): If you are in a live-threatening situation, seek immediate help by calling 911.
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: If you are suicidal or in emotional distress, or know someone who is, contact the lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 to receive information about mental health referrals and crisis counseling.
  • SAMHSA Treatment Referral Helpline: Call 1-877-726-4727 for general information about mental health and to locate treatment options in your local area.

Since 2014, most insurance plans are required to cover mental health disorders. If unsure about the insurance coverage of your plan, reach out to your provider to learn more about your options. The National Alliance on Mental Illness Delaware County is also a resource to take advantage of; they provide resources and recovery options right here in Muncie and Delaware County.

Disability Benefits with a Mental Illness

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You may be able to receive disability benefits with your mental illness. Social Security evaluates cases using a variety of data:

  • Acceptable Medical Sources: Medical evidence about your mental illness from a physician, psychologist, or other medical sources
  • You and People Who Know You: Third parties who can describe your daily function with your mental illness
  • School: Sources to support how your mental illness affects your ability to function during the school day
  • Vocational Training or Work: Support from employers who can provide sources to show how your mental illness affects your daily function in the work environment
  • Longitudinal Evidence: Medical evidence about how well you function over time with your mental illness
  • Ability to Function in Unfamiliar Situations: Assessment from you and third parties on how you are able to complete tasks.

In general, Social Security assesses the data to see if the evidence supports that your mental illness prevents you from working and making a certain level of income referred to as substantial gainful activity (SGA). If this is the case for you, the Social Security Administration (SSA) provides two income and health insurance options if you are unable to work because of your mental illness. There are general guidelines for each program.

Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits (SSDI)

In order to receive benefits for SSDI, you need to have a mental illness or impairment that does not allow you to work for at least 12 months. Also, for at least five to 10 years, there must be record of you working and paying payroll taxes. SSDI is also known as disability insurance benefits (DIB).

Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

Adults and children can receive benefits for mental health illness or impairments through SSI. For children, they must have a mental illness that has lasted or is estimated to last for a minimum of 12 months that causes severe and marked functional limitations. In addition to a mental illness, for a child to qualify, their family must have very low household income. For adults, you must have a mental illness or impairment that prevents you from working regularly or on a sustained basis. Your household must also meet certain income limitations. Payments are based on material status, income level, living arrangements, and several other factors.

Contact a Muncie Disability Attorney

If you live with a mental illness and are no longer able to work, you may be eligible for Social Security disability benefits. Reach out to Hensley Legal Group for a free consultation. Contact us online today.

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