How to Prove Mental Disability to the SSA (7 Things You NEED)

Struggling with Social Security claims for mental illness? Discover how to prove mental disability and get your rightful benefits in our easy guide.

woman contemplating mental health issues

If you or a loved one are struggling with a Mental Disability and are unable to work as a result of the mental disability, you may be able to receive disability benefits from the Social Security Administration. Read on to discover the 7 things you need to prove a mental health disability to the Social Security Administration.

Is Mental Illness a Disability?

Yes, a mental health illness is a qualifying disability, according to the Social Security Administration, as long as the medical condition does not allow you to work twelve months or more as a result of your symptoms.

Can You Get Disability for Mental Illness?

Yes! If your symptoms keep you from working full-time for at least twelve months, despite adhering to medical treatment, you are able to apply for Social Security Disability.

Full-time work is defined as earning enough money (in 2023, $1,470 per month) to qualify as substantial gainful activity.

How to Prove Mental Disability (7 Essentials)

1. An Official Diagnosis by a Medical Professional

2. Medical Records and Evidence of Your Mental Illness

3. A Mental Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) Form

4. Proof of Work Limitations Due to Your Mental Disability

5. Get Consistent Treatment to Prove Mental Disability

6. A Written Medical Statement from a Medical Professional

7. Hire an Experienced Social Security Disability Attorney

Also Read: What Conditions Qualify for Disability? (And How to Apply)

What Mental Illnesses Qualify for Disability?

Under the Disability Blue Book, the entire 12th chapter is dedicated to qualifying Mental Health Illnesses. Read on to find out more about the different categories of mental health illnesses that can be eligible for disability.

Neurocognitive Disorders

These disorders are characterized by a clinically significant decline in cognitive functioning. Symptoms and signs may include but are not limited to, disturbances in memory, executive functioning (that is, higher-level cognitive processes; for example, regulating attention, planning, inhibiting responses, decision-making), visual-spatial functioning, language and speech, perception, insight, judgment, and insensitivity to social standards.

Psychotic Disorders

These disorders are characterized by delusions, hallucinations, disorganized speech, or grossly disorganized or catatonic behavior, causing a clinically significant functional decline. Symptoms and signs may include but are not limited to, inability to initiate and persist in goal-directed activities, social withdrawal, flat or inappropriate affect, poverty of thought and speech, loss of interest or pleasure, disturbances of mood, odd beliefs and mannerisms, and paranoia.

Affective Disorders

These disorders are characterized by an irritable, depressed, elevated, or expansive mood or by a loss of interest or pleasure in all or almost all activities, causing a clinically significant decline in functioning. Symptoms and signs may include but are not limited to, feelings of hopelessness or guilt, suicidal ideation, a clinically significant change in body weight or appetite, sleep disturbances, an increase or decrease in energy, psychomotor abnormalities, disturbed concentration, pressured speech, grandiosity, reduced impulse control, sadness, euphoria, and social withdrawal.

Anxiety-Related Disorders

These disorders are characterized by excessive anxiety, worry, apprehension, and fear or by avoidance of feelings, thoughts, activities, objects, places, or people.  Symptoms and signs may include but are not limited to restlessness, difficulty concentrating, hyper-vigilance, muscle tension, sleep disturbance, fatigue, panic attacks, obsessions and compulsions, constant thoughts and fears about safety, and frequent physical complaints.

Somatoform Disorders

These disorders are characterized by physical symptoms or deficits that are not intentionally produced or feigned and that, following clinical investigation, cannot be fully explained by a general medical condition, another mental disorder, the direct effects of a substance, or a culturally sanctioned behavior or experience. These disorders may also be characterized by a preoccupation with having or acquiring a severe medical condition that has not been identified or diagnosed. Symptoms and signs may include but are not limited to, pain and other abnormalities of sensation, gastrointestinal symptoms, fatigue, a high level of anxiety about personal health status, abnormal motor movement, pseudoseizures, and pseudo neurological symptoms, such as blindness or deafness.

Personality Disorders

These disorders are characterized by enduring, inflexible, maladaptive, and pervasive patterns of behavior. Onset typically occurs in adolescence or young adulthood. Symptoms and signs may include but are not limited to, patterns of distrust, suspiciousness, and odd beliefs; social detachment, discomfort, or avoidance; hypersensitivity to negative evaluation; an excessive need to be taken care of; difficulty making independent decisions; a preoccupation with orderliness, perfectionism, and control; and inappropriate, intense, impulsive anger and behavioral expression grossly out of proportion to any external provocation or psychosocial stressors.

Autistic or Pervasive Developmental Disorders

These disorders are characterized by qualitative deficits in the development of reciprocal social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication skills, and symbolic or imaginative activity; restricted repetitive and stereotyped patterns of behavior, interests, and activities; and stagnation of development or loss of acquired skills early in life. Symptoms and signs may include, but are not limited to, abnormalities and unevenness in the development of cognitive skills; unusual responses to sensory stimuli; and behavioral difficulties, including hyperactivity, short attention span, impulsivity, aggressiveness, or self-injurious actions.

Also Read: Can You Work While On Disability?

How to Apply for Disability for Mental Illness

You can apply online, you can call the Social Security Administration over the phone at 1-800-772-1213, or visit your local office in person.

Avoid Denial – Secure Your Mental Health Disability Approval!

The Attorneys at Evans Disability have years of combined knowledge and skills working through the evaluation steps to advocate on your behalf to obtain Social Security Disability. Call them today at (855) 360-1010 to get started with your disability claim.

Disability for Mental Illness FAQ

What Happens If I Can’t Work Due to Mental Illness?

If you can not work due to your mental illness and your symptoms are likely to prevent you from working for 12 months or longer, it would be advisable to apply for Social Security benefits.

Is It Hard to Get Disability for Mental Illness?

It has the potential to be harder to get disability for mental health illnesses. However, it is not impossible with the correct documentation and assurance that you are yielding your medical team’s advice alongside meeting the other disability qualifications.

How Long Does It Take To Get Disability for Mental Illness?

The average time it takes to get a disability to mental illness is between three and five months.