Many types of injuries or illness can create partial or full, temporary or permanent disability. If you’ve been in an accident or contracted a chronic illness, you might be unable to work. You, of course, must still have a way to make ends meet, which is where Supplemental Security Income (SSI) comes in. If your income is at or below a certain level, you might qualify for benefits. If you have a mental illness, rather than physical, you might still be eligible.
The Social Security Administration (SSA) separates mental illnesses into various categories to determine whether a person is eligible to collect benefits. Each category is comprised of subtopics. For example, under the category of “neurocognitive disorders,” you might find information on Tay-Sachs disease, Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia.
Additional categories that help determine SSI eligibility
In addition to neurocognitive conditions, the following list shows several other examples of categories that help the SSA determine whether a person suffering from mental illness qualifies for SSI benefits:
- Schizophrenia spectrum and psychotic disorders
- Depression, bipolar and associated disorders
- Intellectual disorders
- Anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorders
- Somatic symptom disorders
If your specific condition is not on the list, do not lose hope. It is sometimes possible to still qualify for SSI benefits. Before applying for benefits, you’ll want to make sure you have received an official medical diagnosis and that you have your medical records on hand.
What is longitudinal evidence and how might it affect SSI eligibility?
Longitudinal evidence refers to documentation that has occurred over time. Regarding mental illness and your ability to work, this might include documented records from medical providers that show a pattern of symptoms over a period of months or years. Non-medical evidence can be longitudinal as well, such as testimony from relatives, former employers or law enforcement agencies.
Overall daily function and other issues are consideration factors
To determine the benefits to which you may have a right, the SSA takes numerous issues into consideration, including the type and frequency of outside support you receive on a regular basis, as well as your ability (or inability) to perform basic daily functions on your own, such as paying bills or taking care of personal hygiene, going shopping or operating a motor vehicle.
SSI issues can be quite complex, so it is best to seek guidance and support before navigating the system. If your initial request receives a denial, you may be able to file an appeal. Many claims receive approval upon appeal.