Mental illnesses have not always gotten the recognition they should as a debilitating condition. However, there is more recognition today that allows you to get help when you need it for mental conditions that make it difficult for you to hold a job or function in your daily life. 

According to the Social Security Administration, you may qualify for Social Security Disability benefits for a mental illness if you meet specific criteria. You have to meet the basic qualifications for getting the benefits, which include having enough work credits and meeting the SSA definition of disability. 

Medical criteria 

Each disability will have a listing of medical requirements it must meet. You will have to show through documentation and other proof from your medical provider that your illness meets these requirements. 

Functional criteria 

Functional criteria are the limitations your mental illness causes you. The SSA will assess this in relation to how your mental illness affects your ability to work. Because SSDI is for people who cannot work, you will have to show through these criteria that your mental illness limits you in a way that makes it difficult or impossible for you to work. 

The SSA sets four areas of mental functioning necessary to work and hold a job. Your condition must limit you in at least two of these areas. 

Serious and persistent criteria 

Finally, you must show that your mental illness is a condition that will last at least one year or more and prevent you from working during this time. To prove this, you need a documented mental health history that shows at least two years of issues with this condition.