Just like any form of disability, people who suffer from mental disabilities have the opportunity to receive monthly financial support from the government.
This is possible when you can prove that the mental disability you’re suffering from has prevented you from maintaining employment or performing work that can earn you a living.
Before you can be eligible for benefits for mental disability, you must fulfill some conditions and meet certain criteria.
This article will discuss all you need to know about mental disability benefits and how much you’ll receive for mental disability when you become eligible.
Table of Contents
- How Mental Disability Benefit Works
- Mental Disabilities that are Eligible for Benefits
- Medical Information that Proves Your Eligibility for Disability Benefits
- How Much Money Do You Get Paid for Mental Disability?
- How to Apply for Mental Health Disability Benefit
How Mental Disability Benefit Works
Mental and psychological disability benefits are often administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA). The SSA is a body that is responsible for providing millions of disabled people with monthly benefits to help them cover their living expenses, medical bills, and other financial commitments.
These benefits are administered by the SSA through two different programs, which are:
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)
This type of benefit is available only for disabled adult workers who have paid their social security taxes. They are benefits given to adults with permanent disabilities alongside their family members.
Those who are eligible for a mental health disability benefit under this program must have formerly worked and made payment into the social security program within 5 years in the last 10 years.
In addition, they must have a mental health disability that prevents them from working for at least a year.
Those who earned more when they were working have the privilege of being entitled to a higher disability payment through their average indexed monthly earnings (AIME). And those who earned less are eligible for a lesser pay through the same average lifetime earnings.
Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
Unlike SSDI, this type of benefit is given to those with limited resources or low income. It is usually given to both adults and children with mental disabilities who have little or no support system.
Children who are eligible for this benefit must have a mental disability that lasts for at least a year; while adults who are eligible for this benefit must have a disability that prevents them from working or earning a sustainable income.
Once you’re eligible to receive benefits under this program, you’re automatically qualified for Medicaid benefits.
Mental Disabilities that are Eligible for Benefits
According to the Blue Book (the SSA’s medical guide for evaluating every disability application), numerous forms of mental disabilities can enable you to receive mental disability benefits or payment.
They include the following:
- Affective disorders
- Anxiety Disorders
- Autism and related disorders
- Personality disorders
- Schizophrenia, paranoia, and psychotic disorders
- Somatic symptom disorders
- Substance addiction
- Intellectual disabilities
- Organic Mental Disorders
Note: You must be able to prove that you’re suffering from any of the above mental disabilities by showing evidence that you’re being treated for it. And that the disability has prevented you from being gainfully employed or from working to earn a sustainable income.
Medical Information that Proves Your Eligibility for Disability Benefits
- Details of your mental disability diagnoses from a psychiatrist or psychologist
- The proper documentation of your treatment records that illustrates your medication, therapy, among other vital information that pertains to your disability treatment
- Documentation of the effects of your disability on your activities of daily living (ADLs)
- Scan results of your brain and proof of any physical abnormalities where applicable. Such abnormalities should be able to document an organic cause for symptoms of your disability
- Proper documentation of stages of an increment in symptoms
If you’re unable to meet the above criteria to prove your eligibility, you can, however, still get your mental disability benefits by using a medical vocation allowance.
This type of approach put the following into consideration:
- Your work history
- Your age
- Educational background
- Transferrable skills
After the above has been accessed, your treating physician (psychiatrist or psychologist) will have to fill out a residual functional capacity (RFC) form on your behalf, which shall be used to claim your mental disability benefits.
The RFC is meant to comprehensively explain the things you can and cannot do, especially when it relates to you working or earning a sustainable income.
How Much Money Do You Get Paid for Mental Disability?
Since the SSA gives out disability benefits through two different programs (SSDI and SSI), the amount of payout varies.
Similarly, mental disability and its level of severity vary from individual to individual.
However, since 2021, the average SSI benefit an adult receives is $586 monthly. As for SSDI, adults receive an average of $1,277 or $1,153.2 monthly.
In addition, SSI gives a maximum monthly amount of $841 to an individual, $1,261 to an eligible couple, and $421 to a caregiver or essential person.
It is crucial to note that an individual who has over $2,000 in assets cannot qualify for mental disability benefits. The same applies to married individuals who have more than $3000 in assets.
Wedding rings, burial savings, car, or primary home are not included in the assets considered.
How to Apply for Mental Health Disability Benefit
The process of applying for a mental health disability benefit can be done by your family member or caregiver once you meet the requirements that qualify you to receive payment.
The following are the various steps to undertake when applying for mental disability benefits.
Fill out the application form
This is the first thing you need to do when applying. You’ll have to fill out a disability benefits application form alongside a medical release form.
Work with a social security disability attorney
To hasten your application and enable it to get approved on time, work with a lawyer or social security claims representative who is experienced in disability claims. Doing this will enable you to receive adequate guidance on the various processes involved in getting your benefits without hassles.
Never relent with your application
There are cases where your application might be denied for various reasons like high income, inadequacy in medical evidence, or failure to follow the required treatment. If this happens, don’t relent in applying again after rectifying the issue.
The hassles that come with the application process stop once your application is approved, then you start receiving payment. The payment will continue for as long as you’re considered mentally disabled.