Data compiled by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) shows that nearly 9 million Americans currently receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). At least 35% of those individuals who received that support in 2013 were described as having a mental health condition.
Many of the individuals who receive disability benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA) have been suffering from their condition for an extended period before it catches up to them and renders them unable to work.
The SSA allows individuals who have an impairment that is expected to prevent them from working for at least 12 months to file for SSDI. Recipients must have had payroll taxes deducted from their paycheck during five out of the last 10 years to qualify to receive benefits though.
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) another program administered by the SSA. SSI benefits are generally reserved for lower-income individuals who find themselves disabled. This program's funds are allocated on a needs basis. SSDI awards may vary depending on how many assets you have, whether you've paid into the SSA system and what your household income is. As many as 8 million individuals receive SSI benefits in the U.S.
Adults only qualify for SSI if they have an impairment that affects their ability to work a regular schedule.
Children may be eligible for mental health-related SSI benefits if they are suffering from a condition that leaves them with "marked and severe functional limitations". This presenting concern must be expected to last for a year or longer. Individuals who receive benefits as children aren't guaranteed to also receive them as an adult. A reevaluation occurs once a child celebrates their 18th birthday.
Qualifying for either SSI or SSDI benefits isn't guaranteed. Many individuals apply for and are denied benefits on technicalities. Other applicants have their applications denied because their condition may be disabling, but it's not considered to be a disability under the SSA's definition of the word.
A qualifying conditions attorney in Oakland can review your medical records and let you know if your diagnosis is considered as a disabling condition in the eyes of the SSA. If it is, then your lawyer can walk you through the application process for disability benefits here in California.