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Does a mental illness qualify you for Social Security benefits?

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Social Security benefits provide for people with different types of physical impairments that prevent them from working or limit their ability to work full time, but what happens when you have a mental illness that causes the same types of problems? The American Association of Retired Persons notes that Social Security guidelines recognize 11 different types of mental illnesses that fall under its definition of disability.

If you believe your mental illness may qualify you for benefits, understanding the organization’s rules and regulations regarding these conditions may help you to better understand your status and if Social Security benefits cover your specific disorder.

Anxiety And Depression

If you suffer from diagnosed depression, anxiety or a combination of both, you may qualify for Social Security benefits if the symptoms prevent or interrupt your ability to work. Excessive worrying or a lack of energy and interest in most activities, including those related to your job, may affect your output and productivity. Depending on the severity of your diagnosis, you may require documentation from your doctor or psychiatrist before you can apply for benefits.

Bipolar Disorder

This manner of mental illness usually presents itself in a variety of symptoms, but the most common, uncontrollable mood swings that range from hyperactivity to a near-depressive state, can seriously interfere with your ability to work. It can have an especially significant impact on your ability to satisfy deadlines. Your physician can refer you to a specialist who has the ability and training to diagnose you.

You may require several different types of documentation before you can apply for Social Security benefits. Most conditions covered typically must affect you in the long term to qualify.

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