Federal Disability Benefits for Mental Disorders

For each qualifying mental disorder, the Social Security Administration (SSA) has put together a detailed set of guidelines, which explain the symptoms, limitations and circumstances that need to be present in order for someone with that condition to be eligible for disability benefits.1Social Security disability benefits are available for those living with a wide range of mental impairments, including various types of psychological, emotional and cognitive disorders.

If you or a loved one is living with a mental disorder and needs experienced help pursuing federal disability benefits, you can rely on a Denver disability lawyer at Tomazin, Hillyard & Clor, LLP.

For more than 30 years, our attorneys have been advocating disabled people’s rights while helping them successfully navigate the disability claims process. Whether you are applying for the first time or you need assistance appealing a wrongful denial or termination of benefits, our Denver disability attorneys are here for you, ready to help. Simply contact us today to find out more about how we can protect your interests and help you secure the benefits you likely deserve.

The SSA Listing of Mental Impairments

The official listing of mental impairments that the Social Security Administration (SSA) has put together is commonly referred to as the Blue Book. According to those guidelines, some of qualifying mental disorders for disability benefits can include (and are by no means limited to):

  • Brain impairments, such as traumatic brain injury, brain cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease
  • Developmental disabilities, like autism, Asperger’s syndrome, and ADHD
  • Mood disorders, such as bipolar disorder, depression, panic disorders, and anxiety disorders
  • Psychotic disorders, like schizophrenia
  • Other mental disorders and impairments, such as mental retardation, pain disorders, organic mental disorders, eating disorders, obsessive compulsive disorder, and chronic insomnia.

Here, it’s critical to understand that other mental impairments that are not specifically listed in the SSA’s Blue Book may also qualify an individual for disability benefits – so long as that person can prove that the condition severely limits his or her ability to get or keep a job, to carry out daily tasks, and to appropriately interact with others.

Mental Disorders & Disability Benefits: More Important Information

  • Evidence to establish mental impairments – Proving the existence of a mental impairment can be more challenging (than establishing a physical condition) because the symptoms and impacts of mental disorders can be less readily apparent. There are, however, various pieces of evidence that can prove the presence of mental disorders, including (but not at all limited to):
    • Psychiatric or neurological test results
    • Reports and treatment notes/records from doctors
    • Therapy records
    • Prescription medication records
    • Reports or statements from non-medical professionals, such as friends, teachers, and social workers who can offer more details about the scope and severity of the mental disorder (and how it impacts a specific individual).
  • Mental evaluation exams – After submitting the above (or other) evidence when applying for disability benefits, the SSA may ask you submit to a mental evaluation (also referred to as a consultative exam). This request may be made, for instance, if there are still lingering questions about the nature of the impairment (because, for example, there are not treatment records for the last 60 days). These exams are conducted by doctors specifically selected by the SSA. As a result, it can be important to come to the exam prepared to discuss your condition (and to bring someone with you for support to ensure your interests are protected).

Get Experienced Help Pursuing Benefits: Contact a Denver Disability Lawyer at Tomazin, Hillyard & Clor, LLP

Don’t try to deal with the SSA alone. Instead, position your claim for success by contacting a Denver disability lawyer at Tomazin, Hillyard & Clor, LLP at (303) 771-1900 or via email using the contact form on this page. When you contact us and set up a free initial consult with one of our attorneys, you can receive honest, straightforward advice regarding your best options for securing benefits.

From offices based in Denver and Greenwood Village, our attorneys provide the highest quality legal service and representation to people throughout the Denver metro area, Arapahoe County, and the state of Colorado.


1: SSA’s impairment listings for mental disorders in adult applicants and in children applicants

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