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It is possible to receive disability with mental illness.
When your case is evaluated by a disability examiner, he or she will first look to see if your mental disability is listed in the Social Security Administrations List of Impairments. Some of the included mental illnesses are anxiety-related disorders, autism, schizophrenia, and mental retardation. Within each category there is a description of what qualifies a person as being disabled with that particular illness. If your disability matches one of these conditions, you will be awarded benefits. If your disability is not as severe as the condition describes, you will need to prove that your condition prevents you from holding down a job, and that your condition will last for at least 12 months.
Mental health disabilities can be harder to qualify for benefits because the degree of the condition can fluctuate in severity and be hard to track or categorize. DDS examiners do not always understand how certain mental conditions can change day to day. They have to use the description given in the List of Impairments when they make their decision to approve or deny a claimant.
It can be helpful to ask your doctor to fill out a Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) form to submit with your disability application. Your own doctor, who knows you best, can give his or her opinion on your case and what the prognosis is for you to return to work. If you are prescribed medication, make sure you continue taking the medication. This shows the examiner or ALJ that you are following your doctor’s instructions, and that your symptoms are severe enough to require continued medication.