New York Psychiatric Disorders Disability Lawyer

Social Security Disability (SSD or SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefit payments keep millions of disabled people economically afloat. It is important to know that a qualified disability can be either physical or mental. Don’t think that only people with physical disabilities are eligible.

If you suffer from a psychiatric disorder that prevents you from maintaining a steady work life or interferes so significantly with your daily living that you can’t work, please contact nydisability.com and Attorney Daniel Berger’s Disability Law Office for help getting the maximum disability benefit payments you deserve. Daniel Berger’s specialized law practice concentrates exclusively on helping disabled people like you learn about their rights and fighting to get them every dollar to which they are entitled.

“Qualified Disability” Includes Mental and Psychiatric Impairments

In both SSD and SSI programs, a benefit recipient’s disability needs to prevent them from being able to work often or consistently enough to earn as much income as the Social Security Administration’s (SSA)income eligibility cap. In this blog post, we’ll explain how mental and psychiatric impairments are fully recognized as disabilities eligible for disability benefits from the federal government. We’ll also cover some of the more common psychiatric disorders claimants suffer with and how to know if you too may qualify for disability benefits.

Social Security Administration’s Definition of a “Disability”

While the Social Security Disability (SSD) program and the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program have different rules about who they cover, both programs share the same definition of a “qualified disability.” To the Social Security Administration (SSA), a benefit qualifying disability is a medically determinable physical or mental impairment lasting or expected to last at least 12 months (or result in death) and which prevents the person from performing substantial gainful activities.

All Social Security disability applications are measured by whether the claimant’s condition meets those criteria. The SSD benefits are available only to workers who meet requirements relating to the length of their work history. SSI benefits are available no people who may not qualify for SSD benefits but whose low income and limited financial resources qualify them for monthly payments to meet their daily living needs. The payments and entitlements of each program differ but the disabilities are assessed by the same measuring tool.

Severity of Your Mental or Psychiatric Disorder

Like most physical and mental impairments, each person’s experience can be different from the next person’s experience. Some people who live with mental disorders can function in the workplace sufficiently well with medication or therapy to keep working. Others suffer so profoundly, and their lives are so overwhelmed by their illness, that working is impossible.

SSD and SSI do not recognize anything but “total disability.” And, as noted above, the measure of total disability is having a diagnosable impairment that prevents you from working enough to earn $1,350 in a month (in 2022).

What Mental or Psychiatric Disorders Qualify for Disability?

The SSA publishes what is referred to as “the Blue Book” in which it lists many qualifying physical and mental impairment that meet the government’s disability standard. Disability lawyers and advocates call these Blue Book listed impairments the “listed impairments.” If you have a listed impairment with symptoms as described in the listing, your benefits application should be granted.

However, you must keep in mind that many people clearly qualify and win disability benefits by having a combination of impairments not specifically listed in the Blue Book. Millions of people suffer with “compound diagnoses” indicating they suffer with more than one illness. Even if no single illness or impairment is sufficiently severe to meet the definition of a disability, it is often the case that a person’s multiple impairments add up in total to a clearly disabling condition.

NOTE: In both the SSD and the SSI program, the amount of your benefits payment depends on income factors and NOT on whether your illness is more disabling than another person’s. If you are eligible for SSDI, your benefit is determined by a formula based on your lifetime earnings. If you are eligible for SSI, your benefit payment amount is based on your income.

Common Mental and Psychiatric Disorders that Qualify for Disability

Disabilities that affect the mind, brain chemistry, brain function, moods, or behavior are as significant and disabling as any physical impairment. Everyone living with any of these disorders deserves the respect of others and of their government. Here are some major psychiatric condition that qualify for SSD and SSI disability benefits:

  • Neurocognative Disorders — Examples of this type of impairment can affect executive functions like memory, decision-making, and planning. (Alzheimer’s, dementia, HIV, brain tumors, vascular disease, etc.)
  • Schizophrenia, paranoia, and psychotic disorders — Symptoms can include an inability to intiate or complete goal directed behavior, flat affect, mood disturbances, paranoia, or odd beliefs and physical mannerism, or delusional thinking. (Schizoaffective disorder, schizophrenia, or other medical source)
  • Depression, bipolar, and related disorders — These disorders can cause a disinterest in any social activities, hopelessness, irritability, sadness, guilt, sleep disturbance, elevated or expansive moods, and other symptoms.
  • Intellectual disabilities — This disorder includes developmental disorders, significantly subaverage intellectual functioning, and poor skills in adaptation and conceptualizing. (formerly referred to with the now disfavored term “mental retardation.”)
  • Anxiety Disorders and Obsessive Compulsive — Symptoms include excessive fear, worrying, apprehension, avoidance of people, places, events, feelings, situations, or hypervigilance, sleep disturbance, panic attacks, compulsions, etc.
  • Autism and related disorders — The Blue Book describes this as “characterized by qualitative deficits in the development of reciprocal social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication skills, and symbolic or imaginative activity; restricted repetitive and stereotyped patterns of behavior, interests, and activities; and stagnation of development or loss of acquired skills early in life.” (§12.10(8)(a)) (Autism is not covered or assessed under intellectual deficit as autism does not correlate with subaverage intellectual functioning.)
  • Personality disorders — This impairment can manifest itself as persistent suspicion and distrust, social detachment, hypersensitivity to criticism, excessive interest in control and orderliness, perfectionism, angry responses disproportionate to circumstances, etc. (borderline, intermittent explosive disorder, dependent-obsessive, etc.)

Get More Information About Psychiatric or Mental Disorders and Disability Benefits

Answer to all your questions are a phone call, email, or just a “chat” away. The Disability Lawyer, Daniel Berger and nydisability.com are here to provide you with all the information you need to determine if you or a loved one may be eligible for either SSD or SSI benefit payments or both. If you are thinking of filing a disability claim but are afraid to, let nydisability.com go forward with you. We will bring you through it.