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Can you get benefits for mental health illnesses?

When most people think about disability benefits, physical disabilities often come to mind first. But these days, employers and employees alike have a greater awareness of the true impact mental disorders can have on someone’s ability to work.

But can you get benefits for these mental disorders and illnesses? For many workers suffering from these conditions, the answer is yes.

Umbrellas of disorders

Social Security discusses mental disorders that may qualify you for benefits. First, different mental health disorders get grouped into specific umbrella categories based on primary shared symptoms. For example, there are categories for anxiety-based disorders and disorders revolving around depression.

Under these umbrellas are numerous mental health disorders. For example, the anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder umbrella covers issues like generalized anxiety disorder, agoraphobia, social anxiety disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

What you need to apply

You can often apply for benefits if you suffer from listed ailments or even issues that remain unlisted. However, you must fit certain criteria first. For example, people with anxiety disorders must show a number of anxiety-based symptoms.

You also need the correct documentation, too. This often includes notes from doctors or psychiatrists, a history of prescribed medication and even written letters from people within your life. This can include friends and family, teachers, coworkers or employers.

At the very base of it all, you must show that your disorder significantly impacts your ability to live life like normal. In particular, in order to receive benefits, this disorder must get in your way of working and making a living. If you can prove this, then you can apply for benefits.