Does the California Social Security Act Include Benefits for Mental Illness?

Most people may think of disability as physical; however, that is not always the case. Due to horrific events, chemical imbalance, brain bleeding, etc., mental conditions may be severe enough to qualify for Social Security Disability benefits.

For example, we’ve learned from returning military that physical injury can allow you to receive SSDI Benefits; however, many less visible yet debilitating mental conditions are so severe that you may never be able to work. Therefore, they may qualify for benefits also.

Years ago, many mental conditions were not recognized for what they were and how severely they affected the people who developed them.

We now know that mental illness is a disability that prevents you from performing regular and customary work. So, yes, if you have specific conditions and they are severe enough, you should qualify for Social Security disability in California.

Currently, both the Social Security Administration and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) consider mental health conditions to be a form of disability. Usually, it must impact your ability to work, partake in typical tasks of daily life, or affect your life negatively.

The caveat is that to qualify for disability benefits due to a mental illness, your benefits (and their acceptance) may vary with the type of affective disorder you suffer from. However, you must generally have medical documentation showing that the condition affects your ability to function normally. This is despite your undergoing treatment for your specific disorder.

You must show either that you:

  • Had treatment for at least two years and cannot function outside of a supportive environment or,
  • You have all the valid medical documentation giving sufficient evidence that your condition hinders you from reasonably being expected to function normally in a work environment.

Also, you must be aware that if you are applying for Social Security benefits due to a mental condition, it will generally be more challenging than if you are physically impaired. Therefore, you must obtain the help, knowledge, and professional guidance of an experienced California Social Security disability lawyer who will know what’s needed to prove your case and fight for your rights and compensation.

What Types of Mental Conditions May Qualify for SSDI Benefits in California?

To obtain Social Security benefits due to a mental illness, the Social Security Administration uses the “Blue Book” to determine if your condition is viable to receive benefits.

This “Blue Book” establishes guidelines and lists the conditions qualifying you for Social Security disability benefits.

The “Blue Book” under Section 12 clearly outlines and deals with mental disorders, detailing which types of mental disorders may qualify you for benefits and the conditions that must be present to do so.

There are essentially nine categories of mental disorders covered by the Blue Book. These are:

  • Debilitating affective disorders.
  • Many types of anxiety disorders.
  • Autism and related types of conditions.
  • Intellectual disabilities.
  • Organically based mental disorders.
  • Types of personality disorders.
  • Schizophrenia, paranoia, and other severe psychotic disorders.
  • Somatoform disorders.
  • Proven and long-term substance addiction.

All mental disorders are evaluated according to specific criteria outlined in the Social Security guidelines. So, to qualify for benefits with any particular condition, you and your experienced lawyer must prove that you meet the unique criteria listed or that the sum of all your disabling conditions is equivalent to the listed standards.

At times, this can be a subjective subject to prove. Therefore, the professional help, guidance, and thorough knowledge of your California Social Security disability law team will be invaluable in establishing and winning your case.

Is It Difficult to Receive SSDI Benefits for Mental Conditions Such As Depression?

Severe depression can be a severe mental illness, commonly affecting millions of people. The various symptoms and types of depression, such as anxiety, fatigue, and more, can make it difficult (or impossible) for you to work.

If you’ve been diagnosed and can’t work for a year or more due to your depression, you may be able to file a claim for Social Security disability benefits.

Many symptoms are associated with depression, and most can be debilitating. For you to receive benefits, you must be approved, and you’ll need to show that your depression makes it impossible for you to hold a job.

All the requirements needed are found in the SSA Blue Book.

As an example, the Blue Book states that to be eligible for disability benefits due to your depression, you must be able to show that you have at least five of the following symptoms:

  • A depressed mood
  • Decreased interest in activities you used to love doing.
  • Appetite disturbances result in a radical weight change.
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Difficulty concentrating or cognitive thinking
  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
  • Frequent thoughts of death or suicide
  • A visible slowing of physical movement and reactions which may include speech and agitation, such as hand wringing or pacing.

Depression is a common mental condition that many people suffer from and can receive benefits. However, as seen above, the process can be arduous and legally complex. Therefore, never attempt it alone and always enlist professional legal guidance for the best chance of receiving the benefits you deserve.

What Should I Know Before Applying For Disability Due To a Mental Condition?

First and foremost, you and your law team must provide a fully documented medical history regarding your depression, anxiety, or any mental condition you suffer from.

For example, you must do certain things, such as having a history of seeing a psychiatrist or other mental healthcare professional; both to validate and show you’re trying to treat your illness.

Whatever mental illness you have, if you’ve been prescribed medication, you must take it as prescribed. If you fail to take your meds, the SSA may decide you can work despite your impairment.

Finally, if you haven’t sought treatment or taken prescribed meds, the SSA may decide your condition isn’t severe and won’t consider it a disability.

Before considering filing, it’s always wise to obtain a case evaluation with a local, experienced, and thorough Social Security disability lawyer. They will know what you must have and how to present it to get your needed benefits.

I Can’t Work Due to Depression and Anxiety; How Should I Proceed?

Social Security disability benefits provide you and your family with vital support if you have a mental illness that prevents you from working. However, obtaining these needed benefits can be difficult, and without the proper professional help, your application for a disability claim usually will be denied.

The premier disability lawyers at Roeschke Law, LLC have extensive, aggressive, and winning experience guiding California disability clients down this challenging legal path.

Don’t take chances with your or your family’s future, and call them today at (800) 975-1866. They will fight for your rights and stand by your side every step of the way.