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Mental Disorders and Social Security Benefits


Approximately 43.8 million Americans suffer from a mental disease, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness. However, while one in five Americans suffers from a mental illness, only one in 25 suffer from an illness that substantially interferes with their major life activities. For these individuals, working may no longer be an option, or they may not be able to fully support themselves with the part time or low-wage work that they do. The Social Security Administration (SSA) provides social security benefits if an individual is psychiatrically disabled.

The 11 Listings of Mental Disorders

There are 11 Listings of mental disorders recognized by the Social Security Administration whereby if the Social Security applicant meets or medically equals one of these Listings, they are presumed disabled. However, these conditions must be extensively verified by a physician. The 11 disorders, along with the evidence required to meet the condition, include the following:

  • Neurocognitive disorders: Marked by a clinically significant cognitive decline, poor memory, inhibited decision making, inhibited language and speech, loss of insight and judgement, and more.
  • Schizophrenia spectrum and other psychotic disorders: Characterized by paranoia, hallucinations, delusions, disorganized speech, social withdrawal, loss of interest or pleasure, and more.
  • Depressive, bipolar, and related disorders: Characterized by irritability, elevated or depressed mood, mood swings including an interest or loss of all pleasure, sleep disturbances, suicidal thoughts, reduced impulse control, and more.
  • Intellectual disorder: Characterized by significant and sub-average intellectual functioning, manifested by IQ tests prior to age 22, poor social and conceptual skills, and more.
  • Anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorders: Characterized by excessive anxiety, fear, worry, and apprehension, as well as avoidance of thoughts, people, feelings, places, and activities.
  • Somatic symptom and related disorders: Includes physical symptoms that cannot be explained by clinical investigation or another medical condition or disorder, and symptoms include fatigue, anxiety, pain, gastrointestinal symptoms, blindness, deafness, and more.
  • Personality and impulse-control disorders: Includes behavior that is characterized by inflexibility, maladaptiveness, pervasiveness, including those of anger, preoccupation with orderliness, and more.
  • Autism spectrum disorder: Symptoms include short attention span, impulsivity, abnormalities in developing cognitive skills, unusual sensory stimuli responses, hyperactivity, and more.
  • Neurodevelopmental disorders: Symptoms include low impulse control, poor motor controls, deficit in social skills, repeated accidental injuries, and more.
  • Eating disorders: Includes preoccupation with body shape and weight, vomiting, excessive exercise, social withdrawal, and more.
  • Trauma- and stressor-related disorders: After being involved in a traumatic event, symptoms may include distressing thoughts or dreams, anxiety, depression, anger, difficulty sleeping or concentrating, and more.

Contact a West Palm Beach Social Security Attorney Today 

Social Security benefits premised on mental disorders are difficult to obtain without the help of an experienced attorney, such as those at the Celeste Law Firm, so call us today.



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