As any sufferer of a mood disorder can attest to, mental impairments can be especially debilitating. For instance, mood disorders such as depression, anxiety and bipolar disorder can incapacitate a person to the point in which he or she has difficulty concentrating, remembering pertinent facts or even getting out of bed in the morning. Sadly, many types of mental and mood disorders can make it virtually impossible for sufferers to perform the essential work functions needed to keep a job.
Thankfully, the Social Security Administration (SSA) recognizes mental disorders, including many mood disorders, as conditions in which the sufferer may be eligible for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits. Unfortunately, however, mental disorders have become an increasingly larger problem in recent years, and only appears to be getting worse for sufferers.
In fact, the New York Times recently reported that the estimated number of Americans receiving SSD benefits due to their debilitating mental disorders sits at 11.5 million, which is roughly twice the number of recipients a mere 15 years ago. In addition, more than 1.4 million of those receiving SSD benefits suffer from mood disorders such as depression.
Even worse, a 2008 study in The American Journal of Psychiatry found that individuals with serious mental illnesses, but still able to work, earn an average of $16,000 less than those who do not suffer from mental illness.
With statistics such as these, it is no wonder why SSD benefits are vital for those who are unable to work due to a disability. And, even for those who can work in a limited capacity, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits can often provide much needed assistance given the possible wage discrepancies. However, the application process for SSD/SSI benefits can be a tricky endeavor. An experienced SSD/SSI attorney can often help in explaining the application process and whether a person suffering from a mental disorder may be eligible for benefits.
Source: The New York Times, “The Half-Trillion-Dollar Depression,” Catherine Rampell, July 2, 2013