May 18, 2021

Individuals May Encounter Difficulties When Applying for Disability Benefits With Mental Health Disorders

During Mental Health Awareness Month in May, Allsup and NAMI bring awareness to the importance of Social Security disability benefits for U.S. workers   

Belleville, Illinois — May 18, 2021 Allsup, a nationwide provider of Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) representation services, analyzed 2018 and 2019 data on the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) disability programs and found that fewer former workers with mental disorders who applied for disability benefits were approved in 2019 compared to 2018.

Approximately 3,000 fewer individuals with mood disorders, such as anxiety and depression, were approved for benefits under the federal disability insurance program in 2019 compared to the previous year. This was a drop from 38,329 in 2018 to 35,172 in 2019. The approval rate for these claims decreased slightly to 5.2%. “While the approval rates for SSDI benefits fluctuate slightly from year to year, they have remained in the single digits over the past several years for people with mental health disorders,” said Mary Dale Walters, Senior Vice President of Strategic Communications at Allsup.

Allsup is joining with NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness), the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization that focuses on improving the lives of individuals and families affected by mental illness, to recognize Mental Health Awareness Month in May.

In 2019, of former workers who filed SSDI claims for organic mental disorders, such as delirium, dementia, amnesia and Alzheimer’s disease, only 2.2% were approved to receive a monthly income payment, Medicare and other benefits they paid for through FICA payroll taxes. In addition, those with schizophrenic and other psychotic disorders saw a 1.8% approval rate. The low figures may indicate a lack of institutional understanding about the debilitating nature of mental disorders and, in some cases, lack of awareness by those who are disenfranchised as the result of their illness.

The emphasis on self-care and mental wellness in the months following the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic has brought attention to the significance of mental health. That combined with the medical complications individuals are experiencing, including compromised mental health from COVID-19, are important signals to prioritize this issue.

“The long-term ramifications of the COVID-19 virus are still being studied, but we are seeing more COVID survivors with neurological and mental health disorders,” Walters said. The impact is real, and it means we must ensure funding for vital mental health services and, for the most severely affected, fair access to Social Security disability benefits.

For more information about apply for Social Security disability benefits, visit or call (800) 678-3276.

To reach the NAMI HelpLine call (800) 950-NAMI and for 24/7 access to resources visit:


Allsup and its subsidiaries provide nationwide Social Security disability, veterans disability appeal, return to work, and healthcare benefits services for individuals, their employers and insurance carriers. Allsup professionals deliver specialized services supporting people with disabilities and seniors so they may lead lives that are as financially secure and as healthy as possible. Founded in 1984, the company is based in Belleville, Illinois, near St. Louis. Learn more at and @Allsup or download a free PDF of Applying for Social Security Disability Insurance: Getting It Right The First Time.


NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, is the nation's largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness.