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How do I receive Social Security disability for mental illness?

A common issue afflicting people in Kissimmee is mental illness. Since the problems a person might be having don't show up on an X-ray or CAT scan, they're often dismissed as in their heads. They are, but not in the derogatory way that is often meant. Mental conditions are real and affective disorders have certain criteria for the person suffering from it to receive Social Security disability benefits for mental conditions. Knowing these criteria before filing can be the key to receiving approval.

Issues falling into this category will indicate a disturbance of mood along with depressive syndrome or partial manic behavior on a full or part-time basis. The person can feel depressed or elated. In order for a person to be granted benefits, the person must meet the requirements of of both categories A and B or C according to the Social Security Administration. For A in subset 1 of depressive syndrome, there must be a persistent, continuous, or intermittent depression with: a loss of interest in most activities; weight changes and disturbances in appetite; trouble sleeping; psychomotor retardation or agitation; a reduced amount of energy; guilt and worthlessness; trouble thinking and/or concentrating; considering suicide; or delusional thoughts, paranoia or hallucinations.

For A in subset 2, there must be manic behavior with one of: hyperactivity; pressure of speech; flight of ideas; self-esteem that is inflated; a reduction in sleep requirements; being easily distracted; involvement in painful activities; paranoia, delusional thinking or hallucinations. In 3, there must be bipolar disorder with episodes of manic behavior and depression. For B, there must be two issues present of: restricted activities on a daily basis; difficulty functioning socially; difficulty concentrating persisting or pacing; or episodes of decompensation on a repetitive basis.

For C, there must be a medical history of chronic affective disorder and it must have lasted for two years. There must be decompensation and a history of a year or more not being able to function separate from a very supportive living situation. When seeking Social Security disability benefits for mental conditions, it's important to understand the qualifying mental conditions. An experienced legal professional can provide invaluable assistance before moving forward or even after the attempt to receive benefits was denied and an appeal is necessary.

Source: SSA.gov, "Affective disorders," accessed on Nov. 3, 2014

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