Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) covers individuals who suffer from not only physical conditions but also mental conditions. When determining eligibility for SSDI benefits the whole person is considered. This includes any physical or mental condition, your education, past work, and even your ability to communicate in English.
If you suffer from a mental condition that is preventing you from working, Social Security will consider whether you meet a social security listing or what your residual functional capacity is.
When a condition is of listing severity, an inability to perform SGA is presumed from the medical records. Typically, the mental listings have “a” and “b” criteria. The A criteria typically analyze the symptoms resulting from the condition. The B criteria analyze your restrictions of ADLs, maintaining social functioning, and ability to maintain concentration, persistence, or pace. If the listing has C criteria that usually focuses on repeated episodes of decompensation or an inability to function outside of a highly supportive living environment.
The most common listings for mental impairments are:
12.02 – Organic mental disorders.
12.04 – Affective disorders.
12.05 – Intellectual disability.
12.06 – Anxiety-related disorders.
If your mental condition does not meet a listing then the next consideration is your residual functional capacity (RFC). Your RFC is based on the most you can do despite your psychological limitations. Some limitations might be your ability to focus or concentrate, maintain a regular schedule, or follow instructions from employers.
If this all seems very confusing to you, don’t worry, it is! Because the regulations to obtain SSDI benefits are so confusing, Social Security has provided a way for individuals to seek legal help with their claims. You are able to hire an experienced social security attorney, without paying anything out of pocket. Any fee that your attorney would potentially receive is regulated through social security. So if you are thinking of applying for benefits, or you have already done so, please contact an attorney.