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Do mental disorders qualify for SSD benefits?

Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits can be life-changing for an individual who is unable to work following a long-term illness or a disability. Those monthly payments can mean the difference between feeding and sheltering your family and a life of destitution. 

The SSA Blue Book outlines conditions that qualify for SSD benefits. One of these is a mental disorder. Here are some of the mental disorders recognized by the SSA. 

Psychiatric disorders

Symptoms such as catatonic behavior, hallucinations, a significant decline in function and delusions – all fall under psychiatric disorders. These symptoms usually arise from conditions such as schizoaffective disorder and schizophrenia. Individuals suffering from psychiatric disorders may experience social withdrawal and paranoia, which can impact their ability to work or function in society. 

Anxiety disorders

Uncontrollable fear, anxiety and apprehension are symptoms of anxiety disorders. In extreme cases, individuals suffering from anxiety disorders may experience panic attacks, lack of sleep and muscle pain. Conditions that fall under anxiety disorders include panic attacks, obsessive-compulsive disorders and social anxiety disorders. 

Neurocognitive disorders

Neurocognitive disorders refer to conditions that cause a significant decline in the individual’s cognitive functioning. These conditions include vascular dementia, Alzheimer’s disease and dementia that is attributable to medical conditions such as traumatic brain injury or progressive brain tumor. Neurocognitive disorders may result in memory loss, speech difficulty or inability to make a sound judgment. As a result, the individual may have difficulty maintaining work. 

Intellectual disorders

An intellectual disorder or intellectual development disorder can greatly impact an individual’s intellectual functioning. The disorder can be symptomized by diminished conceptual and social skills. 

Mental and psychological disorders are among the conditions that qualify for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits. Find out how you can protect your rights if the SSA is threatening to terminate your benefits.