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World Mental Health Day 2019: Mental Disorders & Social Security Disability Benefits

October 10th, 2019

World Mental Health Day, recognized on October 10 each year, serves as an opportunity for global mental health education, awareness, and advocacy against social stigma.

Most people can understand the difficulty that may come with working with a visible injury, such as a broken leg. However, it can be difficult for some people to understand the difficulty that comes with working with an “invisible” injury, such as a mental health condition. Unfortunately, this lack of understanding and awareness contributes to the social stigma of seeking help for mental conditions.

For those suffering from a mental condition, it’s important they know there is help available should they be unable to work due to their condition via Social Security Disability benefits.

Mental Conditions Covered By SSD

In fact, there are many conditions that SSD covers. The Social Security Administration identifies the following types of mental disorders in its Blue Book which qualify a person for SSD benefits:

  • Neurocognitive disorders
  • Schizophrenia spectrum and other psychotic disorders
  • Depressive, bipolar, and related disorders
  • Intellectual disorder
  • Anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorders
  • Somatic symptom and related disorders
  • Personality and impulse-control disorders
  • Autism spectrum disorder
  • Neurodevelopmental disorders
  • Eating disorders
  • Trauma- and stressor-related disorders

For more information on the types of mental conditions that qualify someone for SSD benefits, you can visit the SSA website.

Since each mental health disorder varies, it is evaluated based upon its own set of criteria that must be proven. To receive SSD benefits, an individual must be able to show that either (1) he or she meet the criteria of that condition; or (2) the sum total of all of their disabling conditions is equivalent to the listed criteria or otherwise completely hinders them from engaging in any gainful activity. Additionally, they must be able to prove that they are both receiving and complying with treatment.

NC Beneficiary Statistics

According to the Annual Statistical Report on the Social Security Disability Insurance Program, in 2017 alone, 5.4 percent of North Carolina’s resident population, or 343,019 individuals, received SSD benefits (of those aged 18-64). Of these individuals who were beneficiaries, 113,199 received SSD benefits for mental disorders.

The distribution of SSD benefits in North Carolina saw 30 percent of the state’s SSD resources go to individuals battling mental disorders. Of those who received SSD for mental disorders in North Carolina, most (37,759) suffered from mood disorders. On average, North Carolina’s SSD beneficiaries received $1,194.88 per month.

What Can You Do?

If you or a loved one suffers from a mental condition that prevents you from working, you may be entitled to SSD benefits. If you need help applying or have previously been denied, it is extremely important to speak with a knowledgeable and experienced Social Security Disability Attorney.

The Social Security Disability lawyers of Henson Fuerst represent individuals with disabilities across the State of North Carolina who are unable to work due to injury or illness.  If you have questions or for more information, call us at (919) 781-1107.