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The Law Offices of Frank J. Dito, Jr.

Social Security Disability and Adult Mental Disorders

Frank J. Dito, Jr.
Car accident, personal injury and workers’ compensation attorney serving Staten Island and Brooklyn New York.

When filing a Social Security disability claim there are 9 main categories of adult mental disorders that are considered valid impairments. The evaluation of your Social Security disability claim concerning these adult mental disorders is based upon:  

  • Documentation of the impairment;
  • Consideration of the degree of limitation the impairment(s) may impose on your ability to work; and
  • Consideration of whether these limitations have lasted or are expected to last for a continuous period of at least 12 months. 

9 Categories of Adult Mental Disorders

There are 9 main classifications that adult mental disorders fall into when considering a Social Security disability claim. The categories are as follows: 

  • Organic mental disorders (psychological or behavioral abnormalities associated with a dysfunction of the brain);
  • Schizophrenic, paranoid and other psychotic disorders;
  • Affective disorders (disturbance of mood accompanied by a full or partial manic or depressive syndrome);
  • Mental retardation;
  • Anxiety-related disorders (including obsessive-compulsive behavior);
  • Somatoform disorders (physical symptoms for which there are no demonstrable organic findings or physiological mechanisms);
  • Personality disorders;
  • Substance addiction disorders; and
  • Autistic disorder and other pervasive developmental disorders. 


Each classification has a variety of considerations for individual disorders. The evaluation of your personal disorder(s) is based upon the effect it has on your ability to perform gainful activity.

The Purpose of Classifying Adult Mental Disorders

During the evaluation of an applicant's Social Security disability claim the listings of adult mental disorders are used to help differentiate the criteria used to evaluate the severity of your disability. By classifying adult mental disorders, an evaluating party can easily look at the criteria of the specific listing and compare the medical and personal evidence to the listed criteria.

Each listing for a classification is divided into 4 sets of criteria that your disability must satisfy to be eligible for Social Security disability benefits. The evidence used to make this determination include medical evaluations, personal interviews, and the opinions of professional health care providers. Your prior work attempts may also be used as evidence of how your disability has impacted your ability to perform gainful activity.

Contacting a New York Social Security Disability Lawyer 

To successfully file and complete your Social Security disability claim you should seek the help of an experienced New York Social Security disability lawyer. Your lawyer can help you with the claim paperwork, as well as obtaining the necessary medical evidence for your disability claim. Even if your claim was denied, you should seek the advice of a lawyer to review your situation and appeal.

Before you file your Social Security disability claim, be sure to take advantage of this free consumer's guide: 5 Mistakes to Avoid When Filing a Social Security Disability Claim. Contact a New York disability lawyer at The Law Offices of Frank J. Dito, Jr., for help in building your disability claim at 800-310-5520.