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Can a person with a mental illness get disability benefits?

When a West Virginia reader is unable to work due to a medical problem or illness, it can lead to serious financial issues. Without income, a person may not be able to pay for necessary medical expenses, afford reasonable housing and buy basic necessities. This is why Social Security benefits exist – to provide support for people who cannot support themselves by holding gainful employment.

You may know that this type of support is generally available to individuals who have serious medical conditions, but you may not know this also applies to people who cannot work because of a mental illness. If you have a mental condition that precludes you from holding regular employment, it's possible that you may have a rightful claim to disability benefits.

Mental illness and your career

Many people find that they are able to work and manage the symptoms of their mental illness simultaneously. Perhaps you were even able to do this yourself for a period of time. However, things can change, your illness may keep you from working consistently. You may need long periods of time off, and you may not be able to complete your job-related tasks. At this point, you may determine that returning to work is not possible and that you need to file for disability benefits.

Even with a serious mental illness and lack of ability to work, you may find the benefits claim process lengthy and frustrating. Before you begin, it can help to understand the following facts about Social Security disability benefits:

  • If you will be unable to work for at least 12 months and you paid into the Social Security system when you could work, you could be eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits.
  • After receiving SSDI benefits for a period of 24 months, you will them be eligible for Medicare benefits.
  • It is also possible that you could be eligible for Supplemental Security Income in addition to or instead of SSDI benefits, which is why it's important to explore all options available to you.

When you understand the process of filing for and securing benefits, it can make it easier for you to get the support that you need. Even with a valid claim, however, it can still be difficult to be successful with your initial application. This is frustrating, but you can appeal or seek a reconsideration of your claim. Many people find it helpful to seek legal guidance as they embark on the process of security benefits from the Social Security Administration.

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Shawn Taylor, PLLC
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Charleston, WV 25301

Phone: 304-932-4619
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