It is not just the physically disabled who may qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits. People who suffer from mental disorders also can obtain these benefits, too. A few common denominators, though, must be present.

First, such disorders must lead to a long-term disability, leaving you unable to work for at least a year. And you must have had a long enough work history in which you contributed to the Social Security trust fund. Still, some are surprised to learn that a person with a mental disorder may qualify.

Challenging to prove to SSA

The Social Security Administration (SSA) recognizes a number of mental disorders that could qualify you for SSDI benefits. The list includes:

  • Dementia, Alzheimer’s disease and related diseases that damage the nervous system.
  • Mental illnesses such as schizophrenia and paranoia.
  • Mood disorders such as depression and bipolar disorder.
  • Intellectual disabilities.
  • Anxiety disorders such as panic attacks making it impossible for you to work.
  • Personality disorders such as obsessive-compulsive disorder and passive-aggressive disorder.
  • Alcoholism and drug addiction. The latter includes substance abuse issues with prescription and illegal drugs.
  • Autism and related disabilities that affect behavior along with cognitive and social skills.

It can be challenging to prove that your mental disorder qualifies you for SSDI benefits, but it can be done. In your support, some steps to take include daily documentation on how your disorder hinders your ability to function from day to day at home and in a work environment.

With the SSA’s strict rules, an estimated two-thirds of all first-time applicants are denied. Why? Because in the SSA’s eyes, they can perform some type of work. Not only is it a good idea to contact an experienced attorney, you also should enlist your doctor, psychiatrist as well as former employers who can provide details about your condition.