The Social Security Administration (SSA) has updated the list of mental disorders that qualify for disability benefits for 2017. The main determining factor remains the individual’s inability to work due to the condition. Merely having one of the listed conditions does not automatically qualify a person to receive Social Security benefits. While it is necessary to have a doctor or psychiatrist complete paperwork detailing the severity of the person’s condition, institutionalization or round-the-clock care is not required to qualify. A Social Security disability attorney can advise individuals who feel they may qualify for disability on the best course of action.

PTSD and other stress disorders

Stress disorders like PTSD can affect veterans, victims of crimes, and those involved in traumatic incidents. They can make many daily tasks and maintain a job nearly impossible.

Autism spectrum disorder

There are many disorders like Asperger’s that fall under the umbrella of the autism spectrum. Some disorders may include intellectual impairment while others do not.

Impulse control disorders

Listed under section 12.08 of the SSA’s Blue Book of disabilities, personality and impulse control disorders like borderline personality disorder and paranoia are also included.

Psychosomatic disorders

Symptoms of psychosomatic disorders may involve feelings of physical discomfort, fatigue, and anxiety about overall health. The patient’s feelings of poor health are not due to physical illness, but the SSA may pay disability to people with psychosomatic disorders.

Anxiety-related disorders

Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), social anxiety, agoraphobia, and other anxiety disorders are included in section 12.06 of the SSA’s list. These conditions are viewed as separate from PTSD and similar trauma-related conditions.

Intellectual impairments

These conditions were once referred to as mental retardation. They include learning disabilities, poor social skills, and poor practical skills.

Neurocognitive disorders

This category includes conditions like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Huntington’s disease, and traumatic brain injury.

Psychotic disorders

Conditions like schizophrenia cause individuals to have disorganized thinking and difficulty achieving goals. When severe, the conditions make it impossible to hold a job.

Eating disorders

Severe eating disorders can lead to social withdrawal, mood disorders, and other disabling conditions and may qualify for disability payments.


The Blue Book’s section 12.03 covers depression and related disorders like bipolar disorder and dysthymia. Depression is a common diagnosis, and a Social Security disability attorney may be able to help victims obtain SSA benefits.