There has been a significant increase of mental health illness, in Minnesota and throughout the country, in recent years. If you are one of many people who suffer from a mental health condition, such as depression, schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, your symptoms might interfere with or completely impede your ability to work. If so, you might be wondering whether Social Security Disability Insurance benefits are available to you.
The Social Security Administration (SSA) offers benefits through two primary programs, one being Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). The other program is Supplemental Security Income (SSI). The latter is strictly a financial need-based program. The former, SSDI, is an employment-based system.
SSDI is for adult workers with disabilities who have paid Social Security taxes
If you are an adult who has been employed and paying Social Security taxes, you may be eligible for SSDI benefits if you have a disability that prohibits you from gainful employment. You would be ineligible for this program if you have never been employed because of your condition.
There are several eligibility requirements to fulfill before filing an SSDI claim. You’ll also want to be aware that many claims receive a denial on an initial filing but later receive approval on appeal. There are numerous reasons why this may occur, and it is helpful to speak with someone who is knowledgeable about the SSDI system before submitting an application to reduce the chances of having your claim denied.
Section 12.00 of the Blue Book addresses mental illness
The Blue Book is a pamphlet that contains a list of government-approved conditions that create eligibility for SSDI benefits. In section 12.00 of the book, you will find a list of mental health conditions that the government considers potentially disabling enough to prevent a person from being able to work.
Some of the conditions listed in this section of the Blue Book include those previously discussed, such as bipolar disorder. SSA officials would conduct a thorough review of your medical records, particularly to check whether there is an official diagnosis from a psychiatrist or psychologist regarding a mental health illness and, if so, whether the condition is in the Blue Book.
Additional aspects of your SSDI claim
If you were to file an SSDI claim, you would also need to include details regarding lack of compensation through employment that has occurred because your condition has made you unable to work. It is also a good idea to include documentation regarding ways that your condition has impeded your daily living activities.
The SSA may also want to see evidence to show that you have been taking medication to treat your mental health condition for a certain amount of time but have not experienced improvement. Thoroughly researching eligibility requirements for SSDI benefits and reaching out for additional support as you prepare your claim may be less stressful than trying to navigate the system on your own.