Thursday, November 24, 2022

Is Mental Health Considered A Disability

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The Effects Of Depression On Your Life

Depression can have genetic roots; it can be a piggyback disorder of a major chronic health condition ; or psychological damages may be related to a major accident like a serious car accident or a bad slip-and-fall incident.

Major depression can impact every aspect of your personal and professional life. It can affect not only your emotional and cognitive functioning, but also your social and physical functioning. Clinical depression can have the following negative effects.

  • affects your ability to work.
  • causes major disruption in your family.
  • decreases your ability to handle social situations or work-related demands.
  • increases the likelihood of developing physical conditions.
  • results in lost work days.
  • requires extensive psychiatric treatment and counseling.
  • leads to a huge economic burden for the victim.

Opportunity For Independent Living

The principle of independent living advocates for a society where people with disabilities have opportunities to live life to its fullest and take advantage of what society has to offer. Independent living enables people with disabilities to self-actualize and fulfill their rights and responsibilities as Canadian citizens.

How Much Does Mental Health Disability Pay

In general, long term disability insurance will pay benefits equaling 60 percent to 80 percent of your work-related income. If you earn $4,000 in after-tax income, an LTD policy would pay $2,400 to $3,200 a month if you suffer a qualifying disability.

How an insurance company covers mental health disability depends on whether it was a pre-existing condition when you applied or whether it developed after you purchased coverage.

Insurers have different underwriting guidelines. Compared with physical disabilities, benefits are often limited in cases of mental health disabilities because:

  • They are more difficult to diagnose than physical disabilities.
  • Itâs more challenging to prove their effect on job performance and ability.
  • They are more likely to be treatable than some physical disabilities that are permanent.

Some insurers will cover certain mental conditions but not others. Others may stipulate that if you have attempted suicide in the past, you cannot collect benefits for at least 10 years after the policy has been issued.

Another common way that some insurers limit benefits for mental and nervous disabilities is to impose a cap on how long you can collect benefits. For example, some carriers place a 24-month limit on disabilities, regardless of the length of your policy benefit period.

On the other hand, a few disability insurance companies do not have limitations on mental/nervous disorder claims.

Social Security Disability Insurance

SSDI pays benefits to you, and some members of your family, if you have a disability , only if youâre âinsuredâ. That means youâve worked long enough and paid enough into Social Security taxes. 

The amount will depend on how long you worked, and how much you paid into social security taxes.

For more details, including eligibility requirements, and how work credits work towards your insurance, visit SSAâs page on how to qualify.

Mental Health And Addiction Disabilities

When a mental health condition becomes a disability ...

Mental health issues and addictions are disabilities that are protected under the Code. For example, the Code protects people who have anxiety disorders, panic attacks, post-traumatic stress disorder , depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or addictions to alcohol or drugs, just to name a few.

People with mental health and addiction disabilities experience impairment and barriers in different ways. Disabilities are often invisible to others and may involve periods of wellness and periods of disability. All people with disabilities have the same rights to equal opportunities under the Code, whether their disabilities are visible or not.

People with addictions have the same right to be free from discrimination as anyone else with a disability. There is often a cross-over between addictions and mental health disabilities, and many people experience both. The Code also protects people from discrimination because of past and perceived disabilities.

Example: A person is not hired as a teacher because many years ago, she had an alcohol addiction. This is discrimination based on disability.

What If I Had A Disability In The Past

You are still protected from discrimination if you had a  in the past. That means that if your past mental health problem had a substantial, long-term and adverse effect, you will get the protection of the Equality Act.


Four years ago, Mary had depression that lasted 2 years and had a substantial effect on her ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities. She has not experienced depression since then.

If Mary is treated worse by her employer because of her past mental health problem, she will be protected by the Equality Act.

The Disability Reference Guide: Its Purpose And Function

The Disability Reference Guide is a tool for identifying, clarifying and promoting policies to address issues that affect people with disabilities. While the objective of the Guide is to help ensure that federal programs , policies and services maintain or enhance the social and economic inclusion of people with disabilities , much of the Guides content may be of use to other governments, organizations or institutions.

The Guide can help to ensure that legislation, policies, programs and services:

  • are inclusive of people with disabilities;
  • respect the rights and needs of people with disabilities; and,
  • promote positive attitudes and raise awareness about the needs of people with disabilities in order to prevent unintended negative outcomes.

Electing to use the Guide will help employees to:

  • systematically assess and address the impacts of all initiatives on people with disabilities;
  • obtain a more nuanced understanding of the multi-dimensional challenges that impact people with disabilities;
  • build partnerships across government departments, and with NGOs and other stakeholders that work with and represent people with disabilities; and,
  • act as a resource in the creation of policies and programs that reflect of the rights and needs of people with disabilities.

How To Apply For Disability Benefits With A Mental Illness

A person interested in learning how to get mental health disability can start by contacting the Social Security Administration to obtain information and to inform of their intent to initiate a claim. The Administration will then set up an interview to meet and collect pertinent documentation. Collected information will be reviewed before rendering a decision regarding the claim. If an initial claim is not accepted, the claim can either be dropped or an appeal process can be initiated.

Psychiatric disability benefits are assessed and evaluated based on a set of criteria specific to each disorder. Mental health disability benefits can only be obtained when the criteria are met, or when the sum total of several disabling conditions is equal to the criteria that prevent engagement in functional activities. An individual needs to be able to show that they are in receipt of and compliant with all recommended treatment options. Medical documentation is necessary to provide valid evidence of a psychiatric disability.

Understanding how mental health conditions are classified by the Social Security Administration can help you or a loved one make informed decisions on treatment, work and more.

Types Of Mental Health Disorders

Clients with mental health disorders may have trouble with major life activities. These include working, going to school, and taking care of themselves. Mental health disorders usually begin during adolescence or young adulthood but can start at any age. The symptoms are often hidden except during acute phases.

The standard criteria for classifying mental disorders is the Diagnostics and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders . The DSM is published by the American Psychiatric Association. Classification of mental disorders in the DSM has changed over the years. Some disorders have been added and others removed. The following sections describe a number of mental health disabilities.

When Does Mental Health Become A Disability

A disability is defined by the dictionary as any condition that limits a persons movements, senses, or activities. We will all have our own perceptions of exactly what a disability is, but it is widely accepted that those in wheelchairs or with guide dogs may be classed as disabled.

These disabilities are visible and have become a normal part of our society, but invisible disabilities exist too. These hidden disabilities could take many forms, but, some of the least recognised are disabilities that occur from poor mental health such as chronic depression or severe anxiety.

We have all heard of mental health before. In fact, everyone will experience days when their mental health may be bad, maybe you have just lost a job or even a loved one. For many people, bad mental health will come and go but, this isnt the case for everyone. Some people may suffer from mental health conditions that turn into disabilities. These conditions may not be visible in the same way as other disabilities but can still have a huge impact on a persons life. People who do suffer from mental health disabilities may be entitled to extra support or help that could improve their quality of life, so it is helpful to know when a mental health condition becomes a disability.

When does mental health become a disability?

Long-term conditions

When symptoms cause adverse effects

  • Lack of motivation
  • Extreme anxiety about certain situations or objects
  • Low self-esteem/self-worth

What Youth With Mental Health Needs Should Know

  • Starting a job can be difficult for any young person. If you happen to have a hidden disability, such as a mental health impairment, a new workplace can be overwhelming. If you have ever felt this way, you are not alone. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, the leading cause of disability in the U.S. for ages 15-44 is major depressive disorder . Along with questions about the job itself, you may have questions about when and how to disclose your disability. You may wonder if it is appropriate to ask for modifications in your new work setting. This fact sheet provides guidance to assist you with a successful transition into the workforce by answering questions regarding disclosure, accommodations and resources.

    Can Discrimination Be Allowed

    Some kinds of discrimination arent allowed. A service or employer cant discriminate directly against a disabled person.

    Indirect discrimination and discrimination arising from a disability can affect a disabled person. However, a service or employer can allow this if it is a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim. We explain this sentence below.

    What is a legitimate aim?

    The Equality Act doesnt say what a legitimate aim is, but this could be quite broad. Legitimate means valid. Something is likely to be a valid aim if it is fair and reasonable.

    This could include:

    • the health and safety of staff or people using a service,
    • the needs of the service, and
    • needing to make a profit.

    What does proportionate mean?

    Proportionate means fair. There must be a balance between the service or employers needs and your needs as a disabled person.

    When a service or employer is thinking about their aims, they should make sure they are fair. They should try to reach their aim in a way that discriminates the least.

    Is Mental Illness A Disability


    Psychreg on Mental Health Stories

    So, I want to pose a question: Is a mental health disorder a disability? I suspect the answer to this question hinges on how disability is contextualised. There are several ways of going about thinking about disability. I want to focus on the purely academic conversation out there in higher education today.

    This framework casts disability and its study as a social construct. Mental illness, or a mental health disorder, from a purely academic lens, wouldnt be an impairment but a divergence or from the norm.

    These norms, many academics suggest centre around , or a belief within society that privileges the existence of power differentials that suppress marginalised members of society and their circumstances. Given this framework, there really is no such thing as a mental illness, is there?

    There is only the disorder, which these academics believe is rooted in the medical normative narrative dominating what the social influencers make out to be good mental health. This is where my problem with disability studies and the predominant academic narrative surrounding mental illness is located.

    Other aspects of mental illness arent explained by social constructivism. These arent small or unimportant issues either. These are real issues for many people suffering from mental illness.

    Somatic Symptom And Related Disorders

    Section 12.07s disorders include hypochondria and other psychosomatic disorders where your brain interprets physical sensations as illness, and can actually make your body sick. Proving these disorders is difficult, as many of the sensations the patient experiences are not medically provable and may seem fake. However, the SSA does recognize the disorder and must pay Social Security to patients with real cases of these disorders.

    Symptoms include preoccupation with having a physical illness, discomfort, fatigue, and anxiety about your health, as well as physical symptoms that are not faked but have no medical explanation.

    Depression And Related Disorders

    This group is listed in § 12.03 of the Blue Book, and includes more than just depression. Depression, major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder I, bipolar disorder II, cyclothymic disorder, and dysthymia area all included in this section.

    These disorders include feelings of depression, loss of interest or pleasure, hopelessness, guilt, suicidal thoughts, and physical effects including changes in weight, appetite, sleep, and energy. If these thoughts, feelings, and physical effects are severe enough to interfere with your work, you may qualify for disability. Since this is likely one of the most widely-diagnosed disorders, proving your disability is severe enough to affect work is crucial to getting disability coverage.

    Basic Eligibility For Benefits

    The SSA must see that you meet basic eligibility requirements before further reviewing your application for benefits. This basic eligibility includes having:

    • A formal diagnosis of a potentially disabling condition
    • A diagnosed condition that will disable you for 12 months of longer

    After the SSA confirms that you meet basic eligibility, they will then move on to review your medical condition in detail and verify that you meet all program requirements for SSDI and/or SSI.

    Is Anxiety Considered A Disability

    More studies are now proving that mental disorders, such as anxiety, are as disabling as physical disorders. Accordingly, it is becoming a debate whether or not people with anxiety should receive the same benefits as those with physical disabilities. To answer this question, we must first understand what disabilities are and at what point does the government consider anxiety as a disability.

    How To Apply For Mental Health Disability

    Applying for mental health disability can be a lengthy process full of knots and tangles. Although the process isn’t always easy, it’s worth it when mental health disorders severely limit one’s ability to meet basic needs and self-care. Some tips for applying for mental health disability:

    • explore the websites for and
    • visit a local social security office for assistance
    • work with a social worker or case manager
    • check out , an organization of disability lawyers

    Mental health disorders can present challenges in daily living. When they interfere with your ability to function and meet basic needs, you may be eligible for mental health disability benefits, which can improve quality of life and wellbeing .

    APA ReferencePeterson, T. . Mental Health Disability Definition: Are You Eligible?, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2021, August 27 from

    Many Adults With Disabilities Report Frequent Mental Distress

    A recent study found that adults with disabilities report experiencing more mental distress than those without disabilities.2 In 2018, an estimated 17.4 million adults with disabilities experienced frequent mental distress, defined as 14 or more reported mentally unhealthy days in the past 30 days. Frequent mental distress is associated with poor health behaviors, increased use of health services, mental disorders, chronic disease, and limitations in daily life.2

    During the COVID-19 pandemic, isolation, disconnect, disrupted routines, and diminished health services have greatly impacted the lives and mental well-being of people with disabilities.3

    Schizophrenia Spectrum Disorder As A Disability

    According to section 12.03 of the SSA Blue Book, schizophrenia spectrum disorder may qualify as a disability. 

    You will have to meet the following requirements to qualify for disability with schizophrenia.

    Medical documentation showing evidence of ONE or more of the following.

    • Grossly disorganized behavior  
    • Youâre thinking and/or speech is disorganized

    Additionally, you also have to provide evidence of the following.

    1. Evidence of extreme limitation of one, or marked limitation of two areas of mental functioning.


    2. Evidence that your mental disorder in this listing category is âserious and persistentâ. 

    For details on medical documentation, areas of limitation in mental functioning, and definition of âserious and persistentâ, visit section 12.03 of the SSA Blue Book. 

    Trauma And Stress Disorders

    Obtaining Social Security Disability Benefits If You Have ...

    These disorders may have similar results to obsessive-compulsive disorders and neurological disorders, but they are often caused by some significantly traumatic event or because of extreme stress. Post-traumatic stress disorder is the most common of these disorders. Often, after witnessing or being involved in a very traumatic event, people suffering from these disorders find themselves facing symptoms that include depression, flashbacks, lack of interest or enjoyment, constant distress, aggression, overreactions, fear, anger, and trouble sleeping.

    These disorders can often place a huge toll on a persons day-to-day life, and may make daily tasks and work tasks nearly impossible. Often, people with a history of military service or victims of traumatic accidents or crime face these kinds of disorders. If their case is severe enough, qualifying for SSD may help support them.

    What Is A Mental Health Disability

    A mental health disability is a mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity. There is not one agreed upon definition of a mental health impairment. As you leave school and enter the work world, the terms used to describe your mental health impairment may change. If you have a mental health impairment, you may find your thinking, mood or behavior may be impacted by a psychological condition. Mental health impairments are real and not a sign of personal weakness.

    Some common mental health impairments are:

    • Depression, which affects a person’s mood, concentration, sleep, activity, appetite, social behavior and feelings
    • Bipolar disorder , which causes a person to experience extreme highs and lows
    • Schizophrenia, which affects a person’s ability to think clearly, manage emotions, make decisions and relate to others
    • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder , which occurs after exposure to a terrifying event or ordeal
    • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder , which causes intense recurring unwanted thoughts or rituals
    • Panic Disorders, which cause unexpected and repeated episodes of intense fear accompanied by physical symptoms such as chest pain, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, dizziness or abdominal distress

    Keeping Your Benefits Can Be A Lot Of Work

    Often, being approved for disability leave is just half the battle. Making sure patients keep their benefits for as long as they need also requires a considerable amount of effort and paperwork, according to Song.

    For patients who are expected to make a recovery and return to work, insurance carriers often require physicians to submit updates every month, Song said.

    But, he said, if Im not seeing them that regularly, it becomes difficult.

    Patient volumes dont always allow for monthly check-ins, he said. And monthly visits just arent necessary because a patient isnt going to progress that fast, he added.

    READ MORE: Depression and romantic relationships how to support someone you love

    How Are You Feeling

    We are often asked this question, and many of us say were fine. But this has been a difficult time lately, and emotions can be complex. You may be feeling sad, worried, or stressed.

    It helps to stay positive and remind yourself of your strengths. Visit How Right Nowexternal icon for inspiration and resources to find what helps.

    What If You Have Treatment For A Progressive Condition Which Makes You Better

    If you have treatment for a progressive condition which makes you better, you may no longer be treated as disabled. If the treatment makes you completely well, you’ll no longer be treated as disabled. But if the condition isn’t completely cured and still has some effects, you will still be treated as disabled.

    Is Mental Illness Technically Considered A Disability

    According to the National Institute of Mental Health Disorders, about 26 percent of Americans ages 18 and older suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder in a given year. Nearly 10 percent of Americans suffer from a depressive illness, such as major depression, bipolar disorder, or dysthymia.

    What happens if your mental illness limits or even prevents you from working? Does disability insurance cover mental health conditions?

    Find Out More About Learning And Physical Disabilities

    MindEd is a free educational e-learning resource for professionals on children and young peoples mental health. Resources can be used for individual professional training as well as prompting wider staff discussion.

    These sessions aim to help staff better understand learning disabilities:

    On this website there is also a page about children on the autistic spectrum which shares information about that specific condition.

    Social Security Disability And Mental Health Conditions

    The Social Security Administration acknowledges a broad array of mental disorders as having a probability of causing disability on a long-term basis. Any mental disorder that prevents a person from performing their job duties can be considered for Supplemental Security Income .

    Social security disability for mental health conditions can only be obtained if a person qualifies based on several basic criteria. A mental health condition must be diagnosed by a physician and prevent a person from completing job requirements that have been met previously. The mental illness must prevent a person from being practically trained for other available work and must be projected to be long term, lasting for at least one year.

    SSI psychiatric disability is heavily focused on a persons overall capacity to perform their job requirements as opposed to them having certain symptoms or specific diagnoses. Social security for mental illness is evaluated similarly to that of physical impairments as it pertains to a persons functional capacity for employment in light of their limitations.

    Whats Meant By Substantial Adverse Effect

    Realising Ambitions: Better Employment Support for People ...

    To be considered a disability, your condition must have a substantial adverse effect on your daily life. This means it must have more than a minor effect. The condition doesnt have to stop you from doing something completely, but it must make it more difficult. It may also be that you avoid doing certain things – for example, because they cause you a lot of pain or make you very tired.


    You have ME. Your condition makes it very difficult for you to do many daily activities such as getting dressed, walking and concentrating because of the extreme exhaustion you experience.


    You suffer from severe anxiety and agoraphobia. This means you avoid going outside as you often experience panic attacks when youre in a public place.

    In both these situations, it can be said that your condition has a substantial adverse effect on your daily life.

    Identifying Individuals At High Risk For Permanent Disability From Depression And Anxiety

    Felix Wedegaertner

    • Department of Psychiatry, Social Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Hannover Medical School, Hannover, Germany

    Mental illnesses, among which depression and anxiety are most common, are the leading cause for permanent disability. It is of interest to know what case characteristics determine if a person returns to the work force in spite of mental illness to tailor specific interventions. So far, there has been little research into this field. In the present study a sample of 202 workers who had permanent disability due to depression/anxiety were followed-up on. 22% started some kind of work during follow-up in a period of 30 to 75 months. Logistic regression analyses showed that quick progression into disability, short period of disability, younger age, adequacy of income replacement through insurance benefits and no previous disability predicted return to work. These findings also allow to identify individuals at high risk for progression into permanent disability that can benefit from supporting interventions.

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