Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI or SSD) pays monthly disability benefits to people with all kinds of disabling impairments, including both physical and mental. The SSD publishes a manual it calls a Listing of Impairments, which most people refer to as the “Blue Book.” The Blue Book includes an entire section of listed mental impairments that will qualify for approval of full disability payments.
At London Eligibility Disability Advocates, we have represented and advocated for the rights of thousands of SSD and SSI claimants who suffer from mental disabilities. If you think you might be eligible for disability benefits based on any mental impairment, please call or contact London Eligibility today so we can give you the information you need.
What Mental Health Impairments Qualify for Disability Benefits?
The Social Security Administration (SSA) recognizes the pain and limitations suffered by people who live with a mental impairment that prevents them from working. The Blue Book of listed impairments qualifying for disability benefits includes eleven separate categories of mental impairments:
- 1). Neurocognitive disorders
- 2). Schizophrenia spectrum and other psychotic disorders
- 3). Depressive, bipolar, and related disorders
- 4). Intellectual disorder
- 5). Anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorders
- 6). Somatic symptom and related disorders
- 7). Personality and impulse-control disorders
- 8). Autism spectrum disorder
- 9). Neurodevelopmental disorders
- 10). Eating disorders
- 11). Trauma and stressor-related disorders
Under each of these categories is a list citing more specific criteria and features that must be present for the person suffering from the condition to qualify for disability benefits.
However, in the real world, people don’t always fit neatly into strictly defined categories. Millions of people suffer from more than one impairment which makes it impossible to judge their degree of impairment when focusing on each illness in isolation. Instead, the reasonable approach is to view a disability claimant’s impairments as a complex of conditions that combine to limit the sufferer’s ability to work.
Wisely, the Social Security Administration does apply this reasonable measure and looks at the entirety of a claimant’s overall impairment. The value of this approach is most valuable in cases where the SSD applicant’s impairments are such that no single one qualifies alone. But when viewed as a group, perhaps including both physical and mental impairments, the person’s inability to work is clear.
The Importance of Using a Professional Disability Lawyer or Advocate
It’s not unusual for a disability claim to be based on more than a single impairment. Many people suffer from a combination of conditions that together render them disabled. But each separate impairment must be clearly identified as a contributing source of disability when an SSD or SSI benefits claim is submitted.
All claims contain some complexity that would best be handled by a professional who works with these issues every day, not by an inexperienced person whose errors may delay or even cause the claim to be denied. While every disability claim package submitted to the SSA needs experienced preparation, this is especially true in cases in which the claim is based on more than one impairment.
How Is the Amount of Your Social Security Disability Payment Calculated?
Social Security Disability benefits are only available to people who worked and paid taxes long enough to accumulate a minimum number of work credits. For every fiscal quarter during which you were employed and made at least $1,510, you earned one work credit. If you made $6,040 in any one year, you would also earn four work credits, the annual maximum. In most cases, a disability claimant must have 40 work credits, including 20 that were earned within the ten-year period preceding the disability claim.
Determining Your Monthly Disability Benefit Amount
The amount of every person’s monthly disability benefit amount varies because the dollar amount is determined by each worker’s highest lifetime earnings. The SSA looks at the 35 highest annual incomes you reported during your working career. Each of those annual incomes is then “indexed” against the national average income for that year to adjust for changes in the cost of living over the years.
Then, those 35 indexed annual earnings are added together, divided by 35 to get an annual average, and then divided again by 12 to find your Average Indexed Monthly Earnings or AIME. Then, your AIME figure is put through the following formula:
- 1). Add 90% of the first $1,115 of the AIME figure, plus
- 2). 32% of the AIME over $1,115 up to $6,721, plus
- 3). 15% of the AIME over $6,721, then
- 4). Round down to the nearest $0.10 if not already a multiple of ten
The resulting figure is your Primary Insurance Amount (PIA) which is your monthly benefit.
The amount of your monthly SSD benefit amount is equal to the amount of your Social Security Retirement benefit. Both figures are arrived at by using the same formula.