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Mental illness and Social Security benefits: Who qualifies?

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Millions of people in the United States suffer from a variety of mental illnesses that may impact their ability to complete their jobs on a daily basis. The Social Security Administration notes that there are 11 categories of mental illnesses and that the evaluations for each are different depending on the individual applying.

While the range of qualifying mental illnesses varies, not everyone may qualify. Knowing what to expect may assist some applicants when filling out SSI benefit application forms.

Those With Persistent Symptoms

The SSA uses several different criteriums to gauge whether an individual’s symptoms are serious enough to prevent them from working. In most cases, applicants must prove the symptoms affect their ability to function and have done so for at least two years. Applicants may want to gather evidence of this from their doctor or psychiatrist before applying.

Those With Anxiety And Depression

Anxiety and depression are often closely linked, as some individuals often suffer from both at once. A traumatic event may trigger either problem. Anxiety and depression often present very similar symptoms, which may include:

  • Fatigue
  • Overwhelming feelings of sadness
  • Trouble falling asleep
  • Racing thoughts

Applicants may want to ask their therapist for a letter outlining their history as related to these disorders, as it may increase their chances of receiving assistance.

Applicants who want to qualify based on their issues with mental illness may want to organize the appropriate paperwork before applying online. This might include how their mental illness impacts them on a day-to-day basis and what limits it causes, as the SSA uses such criteria to make its decision concerning the dispersal of benefits.

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