What You Need to Know
- SSDI benefits can help but are often hard to get.
- Many people have no idea what the MHPAEA is.
- NAMI is great place to start for people who need local service providers.
For many Americans, the increase in COVID-19 vaccinations and lessening of restrictions has meant a return to previous routines. But for the millions who suffer from a mental health condition, which may have begun during or been exacerbated by the circumstances of the pandemic, the obstacles to treatment and recovery remain daunting.
Nearly one in five Americans lives with a mental illness, but far fewer get the treatment they need or are aware of the resources available for treatment. With that number likely to increase as more Americans, known as COVID-19 long-haulers, are diagnosed with neurological conditions after contracting the virus, it’s imperative that we raise awareness of the supports and resources available for all those managing a mental disability.
One of the most important resources for any American dealing with a life-altering disability is Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), but former workers with severe mental disorders have historically run into difficulties applying for disability benefits.
Of applicants filing for benefits because of a mental illness that they believed affected their ability to maintain employment, the Social Security Administration (SSA) approved 5.2% fewer claims in 2019 when compared with the number for the previous year.
These numbers may indicate a lack of institutional understanding about the complexity, debilitating nature and treatment of mental disorders and, in some cases, a lack of awareness by those who are disenfranchised as the result of their illness. But SSDI is available to all those with a medical condition who meet the Social Security Administration’s definition of disability, which includes mental and neurological disorders, who are unable to work for more than a year as a result.
Health insurance coverage is another important consideration for individuals living with a mental disability.