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The truth about mental illness and SSDI benefits

The truth about mental illness and SSDI benefits

by | Mar 25, 2021 | SSDI

Many disabilities are plainly visible, but not all of them. There are thousands of people in Houston with no physical limitations but mental conditions that profoundly affect their lives.

Until recent decades, society treated mental illness as something to be ashamed of and kept secret. We now recognize that mental conditions like depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder are disabilities just like cerebral palsy, tetraplegia and Parkinson’s disease. Medication and other treatment options help millions of Americans manage their condition and lead fulfilling lives.

Unfortunately, not everyone with a mental health condition is currently able to work. They may be struggling to find a medication that works for them, or their symptoms may be too severe to let them work full-time anymore. Houstonians in this situation may qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) to help make up for the lost income.

Who is eligible for SSDI based on a mental health condition?

Eligibility for SSDI benefits is based in part on the applicant’s age and work history. The older you are when you apply, the more years of work you must have performed. For example, a 30-year-old must have worked full-time for at least two years, while a 42-year-old applicant must have at least five years of work experience to qualify.

Besides that, you must prove that your condition:

  • Has lasted for at least one year
  • Is expected to last for at least one year into the future
  • Is severe enough to prevent you from doing your job or any other job

This is not easy. SSDI case reviewers for the Social Security Administration reject most initial applications. Fortunately, applicants have a series of appeals available to them to have their case reconsidered. An experienced SSDI attorney will know the strategies available to make the extent of your disability more clear to the SSA.