Qualifying Mental Disorders for Social Security Disability

According to the Social Security Administration, Portland residents suffering from mental disorders may qualify for Social Security Disability benefits. If it can be medically established that the mental illness limits the individual’s ability to perform gainful activity and that the mental illness is expected to continue for at least 12 months, benefits may be granted.

There are nine categories of qualifying mental illness or mental impairments listed under SSA guidelines including:

  • Organic mental disorders
  • Schizophrenia, paranoia and other psychotic disorders
  • Affective disorders (e.g. bipolar mania, etc.)
  • Somatoform disorders (loss of vision, hearing, speech or use of limbs for which there is no organic cause)
  • Personality disorders (e.g. maladaptive personality traits, etc.)
  • Substance abuse disorders
  • Autistic disorder and other pervasive developmental disorders
  • Mental retardation
  • Anxiety-related disorders (e.g. panic attacks, etc.)

Substance addiction Social Security Disability claims must be related to specific physical and mental impairments that have resulted from the regular use of addictive substances.

Mental disorders may be listed under the category of physical body systems if the mental illness results in a physical dysfunction such as in the case of anorexia nervosa and other eating disorders.

In order to qualify for Social Security Disability, the claimant needs to substantiate the claim by providing definitive medical evidence of the presence of the mental disorder. Signs must be medically demonstrable that indicate the presence of specific psychological abnormalities. Signs and symptoms can either be continuous or intermittent depending upon the disorder itself.

Medical evidence submitted to support the claim must also show that the mental disorder is sufficient enough to restrict the individual from doing any gainful activity and that the mental illness will last for at least 12 months.

This evidence may be demonstrated by submitting assessments and diagnoses from qualified professionals, medical reports, applicable test results (including psychological testing) and laboratory findings to support the claim for disability. An experienced Portland Social Security Disability attorney can help claimants prepare and substantiate their claims.

Source: Social Security Administration, “Disability Evaluation Under Social Security Mental Disorders – Adult.”

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