Mood disorders are rising cause of SSDI claims

Here in Wisconsin when people think about disability benefits, they often think of someone who has been injured on the job or was involved in a catastrophic accident and left unable to work. However, there are also a variety of illnesses and mental health conditions that can leave someone in need of either Social Security disability insurance benefits or long-term disability benefits.

In fact, according to the Social Security Administration, 1.3 million Americans receive disability benefits due to what are categorized as “mood disorders.” While some might be taken aback by this, a mood disorder is not a diagnosis simply meant for someone who is moody. Rather, many people in the “mood disorder” category actually have a disabling anxiety-related or affective disorder.

Many people in Wisconsin who have not had much experience with anxiety problems still may be unconvinced. But, in order for applicants to ensure the SSA that they have a qualified mood disorder they must present medical documentation of things such as a Psychomotor agitation or retardation, thoughts of suicide, hallucinations, delusions and paranoid thinking, among other things.

According to the SSA, about 11.2 percent of men who are collecting disability are doing so for a mood disorder. Almost 20 percent of women collecting disability benefits have a mood disorder.

This makes mood disorder the second most common category of disability beneficiaries. The largest category is health problems related to the musculoskeletal system and connective tissue.

It remains very difficult for people who are legitimately disabled to obtain disability benefits. About 75 percent of disability claims are denied the first time around. Luckily, an appeal process is available and appeals can often be successful with the help of an advocate.

American workers pay into the disability insurance system throughout their working careers in the form of Social Security taxes. They should not be wrongfully denied benefits when they need them.

Source: CNS News, “1.3 Million Got Disability for ‘Mood Disorders’ – Including 33% of Beneficiaries in Puerto Rico,” Terence P. Jeffrey, Aug. 24, 2012

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