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Can Michiganders receive SSDI benefits due to mental illness?

There are many types of illnesses that may qualify a Michigan resident for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits for illness. From heart disease to cancer, many debilitating illnesses can be qualifying conditions for SSD benefits. Michigan residents may not realize that mental illness can also be a qualifying disability.

In order to qualify for either SSDI or SSI benefits in connection with mental illness, an applicant must demonstrate that his or her mental impairment is so severe that it prevents him or her from being able to work. An inability to work due to a mental impairment, though all too real for many Michiganders, can be more difficult to establish than physical impairments.

According to the Social Security Administration (SSA), some mental impairments are "inherently disabling." The SSA will presume that individuals with these conditions cannot perform "substantial gainful activity." A person must provide documentation to the SSA for the SSA to evaluate whether an individual's symptoms meet the criteria for an inherently disabling mental impairment.

The SSA has a number of mental illnesses listed that may qualify an individual for benefits, including mental retardation, depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, autistic disorders and bipolar disorder. Additionally, even if the SSA does not list a person's specific mental illness in its official blue book, he or she may qualify for SSDI benefits if he or she can establish that the mental illness prevents him or her from working and that the condition will likely last for a minimum of 12 months.

It can be challenging for a person with a mental illness to pursue SSDI benefits due to the obstacles he or she is likely already facing in conjunction with a mental illness. An attorney may be able to provide much-needed advice and guidance for a person with a mental illness who is interested in obtaining SSDI benefits.

Source: FindLaw.com, "Mental Health Disability Claims," accessed on May 20, 2016

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