Washington State Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) can be a somewhat tricky and tedious process involving lots of hoops to jump through and a pile of paperwork. Who said bureaucracy was easy, right? However, sometimes it is the process that not can not only disqualify recipients, but also bar people who really need it, namely, people with psychological disabilities.

When you have a psychological disability, depending on the nature of your disability, you may not have the ability to understand the application and vetting process. This can have dire consequences for some of the people who may be most in need of it. It could mean the difference between homelessness and a dignified quality of life.

But, how do Washington State residents in need of SSDI know when you are eligible?

Mental Illness in the United States

According to the annual National Survey on Drug Use and Health distributed by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA), approximately 11.4 million adults (5% of the adult population) suffered from serious mental illness in the past year.


They define a serious mental illness is defined as, “one that resulted in serious functional impairment, which substantially interfered with or limited one or more major life activities.

Mental illness among adults aged 18 or older is defined as having had a diagnosable mental, behavioral, or emotional disorder (excluding developmental and substance use disorders) in the past year, based on criteria specified in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV).

The SAMHSA survey follows a shocking 2010 study conducted by the APA that found 45.9 million American adults aged 18 or older experienced mild to serious mental illness in 2010.

The rate of mental illness was more than twice as high among those aged 18 to 25 (29.9%) than among those aged 50 and older (14.3%). Adult women were also more likely than men to have experienced mental illness in the past year (23% versus 16.8%).

“Mental illness is a significant public health problem in itself, but also because it is associated with chronic medical diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity, and cancer, as well as several risk behaviors including physical inactivity, smoking, excessive drinking, and insufficient sleep,” said Ileana Arias, Ph.D., Principal Deputy Director of CDC. “[The] report…provides further evidence that we need to continue efforts to monitor levels of mental illness in the United States in order to effectively prevent this important public health problem and its negative impact on total health.”

The very fact that experts feel that these disorders are not only diagnosable, but also treatable, is a further case that those suffering from psychological disabilities need a social safety net in order to sustain themselves and become productive members of society again.

Psychological Disabilities

There are serious psychological disorders that can make a person eligible for SSDI in Washington State. They fall under the category of Cognitive, Psychological & Psychiatric disorders that keep a person from gainful employment due to irrational behavior, serious problems concentrating, being a danger to others, or social issues that keep them from being managed or work in a team atmosphere. The disorders include:

ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) –

  • Anxiety Disorder – Symptoms include difficulty staying focused and paying attention, difficulty controlling behavior, and hyperactivity (over-activity).
  • Autism – This is generally discovered in early childhood and is characterized by difficulty in communicating and forming relationships with other people, in using language and abstract concepts, and in extreme cases, fantasy dominates over reality
  • Bipolar Disorder – The bipolar sufferer alternates between periods of irrational manic elation and potentially self-destructive depression. Sometimes over short or long periods of time.
  • Depression – This is characterized by severe despondency and dejection, typically felt over a period of time and accompanied by feelings of hopelessness and inadequacy. This can lead to long periods of reclusiveness, social anxiety, and substance abuse.
  • Drug Addiction – A person is addicted to either illegal or prescription drugs. Overcoming them is a long tough road that may require a stress free and supportive environment such as rehab and a halfway house.
  • Organic Mental Disorders (including organic brain syndrome) – A derangement or abnormality of function; a morbid physical or mental state.
  • Panic Attacks – a sudden feeling of acute and disabling anxiety induced by stress, social situations, or feelings
  • PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) – This is a mental health condition that’s triggered by a terrifying event. Symptoms may include flashbacks, nightmares and severe anxiety, as well as uncontrollable thoughts about the event.
  • Schizophrenia – A long-term mental disorder of a type involving a breakdown in the relation between thought, emotion, and behavior, leading to faulty perception, inappropriate actions and feelings, withdrawal from reality and personal relationships into fantasy and delusion, and a sense of mental fragmentation.

SSI & SSDI Lawyers of WA

If you or a loved one has become disabled and are not able to work or have recently been denied social security benefits it is important that they contact the Social Security Disability Benefits Attorneys at Phillips Law Firm today for a free consultation.