Most people already know that physical disabilities can make it hard to find and maintain employment. However, the role that mental health plays in holding down a job is often overlooked. Some individuals may not even realize that it is possible to secure Social Security Disability Insurance — SSDI — benefits for mental impairments.
Covered mental impairments
The Social Security Administration covers mental impairments that it recognizes as inherently disabling. This means that the mental impairment must make it difficult or impossible for an applicant to perform substantial gainful activity. A few impairments covered by the SSA include:
- Autistic disorders
- Bipolar disorder
The assessment process
While mental impairments can be just as debilitating as physical disabilities, they are much harder to accurately assess. Someone who is suffering from a mental impairment or illness may struggle to accurately describe his or her own symptoms. Additionally, many sufferers do not get the proper mental health care they need, which means a lack of documented symptoms or diagnoses. Some mental impairments are even cyclical in nature, which also makes tracking and documenting symptoms difficult.
Just because something is difficult does not mean it is impossible, though. Those who are unable to work because of a mental impairment should not be discouraged from seeking SSDI benefits, as these benefits are often key to living a financially secure and fulfilling life. An initial denial is not necessarily the end of the line, either. Appeals are often successful in securing benefits for those in need.