Navigating the disability process: persons with mental disorders applying for and receiving disability benefits

Milbank Q. 2003;81(1):75-106, table of contents. doi: 10.1111/1468-0009.00039.


Persons with mental disorders are less likely to be working and more likely to apply for and receive SSDI and/or SSI benefits than are those without such disorders. Data from the National Health Interview Survey on Disability (NHIS-D) were examined to identify the predictors of SSDI/SSI application and receipt among persons with self-reported mental disorders. Compared with nonapplicants, applicants had higher levels of disability, fewer financial and interpersonal resources, and better access to information about the disability programs. Among applicants, similar factors distinguished recipients from those who did not receive benefits. Navigating the disability process is associated with the extent of impairment, economic and social disadvantage, and linkage to the disability determination process.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Disability Evaluation
  • Employment
  • Humans
  • Insurance, Disability*
  • Mental Disorders / economics*
  • United States
  • United States Social Security Administration