Social Security Disability Benefits For People With Mental Illnesses

January 26,2010
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The terms “mental illness” and “mental disorder” refer to a wide range of impairments—including autism, bipolar disorder, and depression—that affect a person’s thoughts, feelings, mood, and ability to relate to others, and as a result make it more difficult to cope with the ordinary demands of life. According the National Institute of Mental Health, roughly one in four American adults (about 57.7 million people) experiences a mental health disorder each year. While all people are at risk, doctors believe that factors such as genetics, environment and social influences determine a person’s propensity to develop a mental illness.

Depending on the nature of the condition, mental illnesses are treated through medication, and psychosocial, behavioral and interpersonal therapies as well as support groups and other community services. Treatment is largely aimed at managing the condition’s effects, allowing the person to significantly reduce the illness’ impact on his or her independence and achievement.

The attorneys at Hermann Law Group LLP represent persons suffering from both mental and physical impairments in claims for Social Security disability benefits. We’ve represented thousands of clients in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut over a combined 50 years of experience. Contact our firm toll free at 877-773-3030 for a consultation at no cost to you.

A person suffering from mental illness may be eligible for Social Security disability benefits if he or she is unable to work for a year or more as a result of the impairment. The SSA categorizes mental disorders in nine categories:

  • Organic mental disorders
  • Schizophrenic, paranoid and other psychotic disorders
  • Affective disorders
  • Mental retardation
  • Anxiety-related disorders
  • Somatoform disorders
  • Personality disorders
  • Substance addition disorders
  • Autistic disorder and other developmental disorders

If your disorder meets the requirements of one of these categories, you must still show that it has lasted or is expected to last for a continuous period of at least 12 months and that the condition is severe enough to prevent you from working. Persons whose mental impairments do not meet the requirements of one of these categories can still be eligible for benefits if the person provides the necessary medical documentation to show that the impairment is sufficiently severe.

The Social Security claims process is long and often difficult to navigate. As a result, persons who think they may be eligible for Social Security benefits should apply as soon as possible. While many disability firms use non-attorney “claims representatives” to work on behalf of a claimant, at Hermann Law Group, you will meet with a disability attorney from the start. We will work diligently to obtain the medical documentation necessary to prove your disability, file the claim for you and appear on your behalf at hearing, if necessary.

We understand what the local Social Security Administration staff and Administrative Law Judges are looking for in reviewing a benefits claim and are can present your claim in the most compelling and effective manner. We are so confident in our abilities that in Social Security Disability cases, we will not charge you a fee unless we win your case.

Our offices are conveniently located in Westchester and Dutchess counties in New York, as well as Hackensack, New Jersey and Danbury, Connecticut. Please call or contact us to make an appointment.