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How Social Security Disability benefits are evaluated?

Illinois law recognizes that mental health disabilities under certain conditions may entitle a person to disability benefits. Certain mental health illnesses, such as schizophrenia, may make it next to impossible for a person to lead a normal life and work or hold on to employment for a long time without regular healthcare.

In order for a person to be eligible for Social Security Disability benefits, that person will need a detailed medical practitioner's certificate. The person must prove two things: that the person is both disabled to the degree that the mental health disability adversely affects that person's ability to work; and the mental health disorder has continued and will last for at least one year.

Under Illinois law, to evaluate the degree of the health disorder or disability, mental disabilities have been divided into nine different categories, among them intellectual disabilities, anxiety and schizophrenia. Such impairments must serve as a mental health disability for the impaired person. None of the disabilities or mental health disorders should be considered by themselves. Rather, a person's complete mental health condition is assessed in order to determine whether that person is eligible for social security disability benefits.

The severity of a mental health disorder as well as the prolonged nature of the impairment may be taken into account to assess social security disability benefits to which the person is eligible. Each category listed for the purpose of disability benefits also has additional categorizations. It may be beneficial for someone suffering from mental disabilities, or for the person's family, to seek legal help to successfully complete the paperwork to receive the appropriate social security benefits.

Source: SSA.gov, "Disability Evaluation Under Social Security," accessed on Oct. 30, 2014

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Alan E. DeWoskin, P.C.
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