Is Mental Illness Considered a Qualifying Disability?

Given the stressors of modern daily life, mental illness is more prevalent than ever. The range of conditions from depression to PTSD all have very serious symptoms and can lead to debilitating conditions that can stop the normal course of life in its tracks.

While many believe that only physical conditions can qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI), that’s actually not the case. There is a range of mental health illnesses and impairments that, when severe enough, will qualify as a disability.

Which Mental Disorders Qualify for Disability Benefits?

Section 12.00 of the SSA’s impairments list details a variety of mental illnesses that could be deemed serious enough to support a successful disability claim.

These illnesses include:

  • Neurocognitive disorders
  • Schizophrenia spectrum and other psychotic disorders
  • Depressive and bipolar disorders
  • Intellectual disorders
  • Anxiety and OCD disorders
  • Personality and impulse control disorders
  • Autism spectrum disorder
  • Trauma and stress-related disorders
  • Eating disorders

While this isn’t an exhaustive list, it does show the wide range of potential impairments that could be deemed severe enough to qualify for disability benefits.

How Mental Illnesses Qualify for SSDI

Simply put, the condition/conditions must meet all of the following criteria:

  • Have a medical diagnosis from a doctor or other qualified professional
  • Prevents the applicant from doing any full-time work
  • Expected to last a year or more

Things to Consider About the Disability Benefits Application Process

The application process for SSI and SSDI is purposely rigorous and requires detailed documentation to prove the applicant’s ongoing disability. Be prepared to submit documentation from doctors, therapists, and even friends and family who can attest to the severity of the disability. This paperwork is critical to the potential success of an application.


Even the most thorough applications can be denied for arbitrary or technical reasons. If that ends up being the case, the team at Drew L. Johnson, P.C. can help. Call (541) 434-6466 to schedule a free consultation if you feel you or a loved one has been wrongly denied SSI or SSDI benefits.