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Disability benefits for mood disorders vary by location. Why?

Social Security disability benefits can be given out for illnesses, injuries or mental conditions. The Social Security Administration has a list of conditions which qualify one for disability payments. Who receives these payment, where they are and what they receive them for is tracked by the federal government.

Recently the SSA announced that 1.3 million people received Social Security disability benefits for mood disorders. The amount of benefits paid for mood disorders is rising faster than the other categories, and there seems to be a significant difference in the percentage of people filing for these benefits in different states or regions. The report gives us the data, but does not go very far in explaining why the benefits should vary so greatly in terms of geography.

For example, 33.3 percent of those receiving Social Security disability benefits in Puerto Rico are claiming mood disorders. In contrast, it is 3.1 percent in American Samoa. Massachusetts is the highest state with 22.8 percent and North Dakota is the lowest with 9.2 percent. In Wisconsin, 177,574 people are receiving SSD benefits, of which 70,177 are for mood disorders. This places Wisconsin at about 13 percent.

Why the variance? Part of the issue may be related to the fact that the SSA has split out some categories into separate categories. For example, mood disorders, schizophrenia and mental retardation used to be grouped together under mental conditions, and now they are recognized in separate categories.

The current report that ended as of December 2011 states that 15.2 percent of all workers collecting disability nationwide were collecting due to mood disorders. The category was second only to musculoskeletal system and connective tissue, which was 29 percent of all disability beneficiaries.

Collecting Social Security disability benefits can be confusing and time consuming but can be made easier with the help of a legal professional experienced with such matters.

Source: CNS News, "1.3 Million Got Disability for 'Mood Disorders' - Including 33% of Beneficiaries in Puerto Rico," Terence P. Jeffrey, Aug. 24, 2012

At our La Crosse law firm we represent individuals who wish to obtain Social Security Disability benefits for illnesses, accident injuries or mental conditions.

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