Many people in the Boston – North Salem area suffer from sharp mood swings that can interfere with their ability to carry out the functions of their job. The victims of this ailment may have difficulty earning a living because they are unable to hold steady employment. If the disability were caused by a physical malady, these victims would most likely not hesitate to apply for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits. When a mental disorder is the cause of the disability, however, victims are less likely to seek federal assistance. While a mental illness is difficult to diagnose and verify because it rarely presents objective symptoms, these disorders are nevertheless eligible for SSDI benefits if the basic eligibility requirements are met.

The disability must first be diagnosed as permanent or expected to last at least 12 months. The illness must also prevent the victim from engaging in substantial gainful activity. Substantial gainful activity is defined as the inability to earn more than $1,220 per month. The Social Security Administration has listed eleven types of mental disorders that can serve as the basis for disability benefits. The disorders range from neurocognitive disorder, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder to eating disorders.

The SSA has different sets of criteria for each disorder. For example, symptoms of bipolar disorder include irritability, depression, elevated or expansive mood or a loss of interest or pleasure in almost all activities. In either case, the person has significant difficulties in functioning. An applicant for benefits must produce clinical notes from a licensed caregiver that documents both the existence and effect of the symptoms. As with almost all forms of disability, the applicant must also produce employment records or oral testimony to prove the inability to engage in substantial gainful activity.

Anyone seeking SSDI benefits for themselves or a loved one may wish to consult an attorney knowledgeable about the process of applying for benefits and pursuing an appeal if the initial application is denied.