Can You Receive Social Security Disability For Untreated Mental Illness?

If you suffer from any mental disorder or illness that has prevented you from holding down steady work, you may qualify for Social Security Disability benefits (SSDI). However, the guidelines surrounding disability for mental health issues can be complicated -- particularly relating to your ability to receive SSDI benefits if you are not making an effort to treat or manage your mental illness. Can you receive SSDI if you do not want to seek treatment for your disorder? Read on to learn more about the receipt of SSDI benefits for individuals suffering from mental illness.

Can you receive SSDI or SSI for untreated mental illness?

In general, to receive SSDI, you must demonstrate not only that you are not able to work the job for which you've specifically trained (for example, attorney or mechanic), but that you are unable to hold down any employment. In the mental illness context, the Social Security Administration (SSA) must determine that your mental illness is so severe that it prevents you from reliably working any available job. Because this is a very high threshold, many mental illness SSDI claims are initially denied.

Failing to treat or manage your mental illness only adds to this difficult hurdle. The SSA may argue that, if you chose to take medication or receive counseling to help you with your condition, you could hold down a job -- and therefore, don't need SSDI payments. However, you may be able to demonstrate that, even if treated, your mental illness is severe enough to keep you from seeking or obtaining a full-time job. Unlike many other disabilities, mental illness and other types of mental disorders can allow you to feel and act perfectly fine one day yet feel completely incapacitated the next day. 

To demonstrate that your mental illness prevents you from holding down employment, you'll probably want to hire an experienced SSDI attorney from a legal office like Oot & Associates Law Offices who can help compile your medical records and convincingly demonstrate your qualifications for SSDI. 

What happens if you are denied for Social Security benefits?

If your request for benefits is denied, you always have the option to appeal this determination. Your denial letter should specify the reason or reasons for your denial. Although these reasons are short and without much explanation, this does give you a starting point for preparing your appeal. Sometimes, you'll only need to gather additional paperwork, while other times, you'll need to prepare a detailed argument in favor of your eligibility for benefits.