Many Social Security disability claimants are unfamiliar with how the program works and often start by asking the wrong questions. How much disability pays for mental health issues does is one of those questions. 

Your diagnosis has everything to do with your eligibility for benefits. However, your state does not determine the amount of your monthly allowance! 

On the other hand, the amount that you contributed to the system via FICA taxes, the composition of the household, and the state of residence could enter into the calculation of your monthly allowance.

Rather, we can make rough estimates of what you might receive by relating several diagnoses to the FCIA contribution levels.

How Much is a Disability Check?

What is your monthly social security disability check for mental illness? To get a reliable answer, you first need to consider the parameters of two different programs.

  • Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) pays benefits to you and some family members if you worked long enough and paid FICA taxes
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI) covers disabled adults and children who have limited earnings and resources 


An SSI recipient with a mental illness could receive a disability check that exceeds the national median of $ 794 based on their state of residence. FICA grants are not included in the equations for those who become disabled before they reach working age. 

Some states add additional payments to federal SSI benefits. Forty-six states will provide an additional amount of between $ 10 and $ 400, depending on marital status, living conditions, and other factors.


Your professional history and family composition will determine how much Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) pays to approved beneficiaries with a mental disorder such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, autism, post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, or anxiety disorder. 

SSDI refers to applicants who meet the minimum professional career requirements.

Family Composition

An SSDI recipient with a mental illness could receive more than the national average monthly amount of $1,258 based on family composition. Each qualifying family member can receive an additional 50% of your check, up to a total maximum of 150% to 180%.

  1. Your spouse is over 62
  2. Your spouse cares for a child younger than 16 or disabled
  3. Your unmarried child relies on you for support
  • Younger than 18
  • Younger than 19 still in high school 
  • An older child whose disability began before 22 

Work History

An SSDI beneficiary with a mental illness should receive an amount near the average of $ 1,258 per month because diagnoses will not affect benefit levels. 

Create a Social Security account to view your income records and correct errors as government-managed records affect the size of your monthly check. 

Your total contributions to the system so far will determine whether your future checks will be below or above average. Your income history is a representation of the total FICA taxes paid, which is the annual contribution multiplied by the number of years. Look, the sums can be very different.

Amounts by Mental Health Diagnosis

Although your income and previous work history will determine how much Social Security disability pays each month, your mental health diagnosis may have indirect effects based on the age of symptoms.

Take into account some of these condition-based factors that could affect the size of your check. Similarly, two related programs have other caveats that you need to be aware of. 

Short-term disability covers mental illnesses differently

  • Individual
  • Group
  • State-based

Collecting unemployment for mental health reasons rarely works 

  • Able to work
  • Actively seeking new employment


The estimated amount that Social Security Disability pays to beneficiaries diagnosed with schizophrenia is lower for men than for women due to the typical age of onset for each sex.


The average age of onset for men is in their late teens and early twenties, which means their careers may be nonexistent or extremely short, and their incomes may be meager due to a lack of experience.

  • Males with onset during their teen years might qualify for SSI with an average monthly base amount of $794 because they never work and pay FICA taxes.
  • Men with onset in their early twenties could be eligible for SSDI but at lower benefit levels because of short work history in entry-level jobs. 

For example, consider possible monthly SSDI payments for a man who makes $ 25,000 a year whose schizophrenia began shortly after he entered the world of work and before he made significant gains due to his work experience.


The average age of onset for women is between 20 and 30 years old, which means they can accumulate 10 to 15 years of work experience and FICA tax payments before symptoms prevent them from retaining a job. 

Therefore, women diagnosed with schizophrenia are more likely to receive higher SSDI benefits than men because they pay FICA taxes for more years and earn more each year from experience-based increases. 

For example, consider possible monthly SSDI payments for a woman who makes $ 35,000 a year whose schizophrenia began nearly a decade after she entered the world of work and after receiving significant pay increases based on her work experience.


The estimated amount of Social Security Disability for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) depends on when the heartbreaking event occurred and when you started and left work. Since there is no typical age of onset for PTSD, it is impossible to break down performance levels to make a meaningful estimate.

  • People with PTSD victimized during childhood might receive SSI and the typical $794 monthly amount.
  • PTSD recipients of SSDI might receive more or less than the average $1,258 monthly check if the trauma occurred later or earlier in their adult life.

Depression and Anxiety

Likewise, there is no typical amount that Social Security Disability pays each month for depression or anxiety because your diagnosis does not determine the size of your check. Therefore, begin with the two average figures and add or subtract accordingly.

SSI average of $794 (less common for depression or anxiety) plus the supplemental payments provided by the state where you live SSDI average of $1,258 goes higher or lower based on previous FICA contributions: annual amount times number of years.

Mood disorders can affect people at any age, making it challenging to break down estimates based on FICA contributions in a meaningful way. 

  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder
  • Panic Disorder
  • Social Anxiety Disorder
  • Specific Phobias: average onset age 7 years old 
  • Stress Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: average onset age is 19 
  • Major Depressive Disorder: average onset age is 32
  • Persistent Depressive Disorder: average onset age of 32
  • Situational Depression: can happen any time
  1. Death of loved one 
  2. Divorce
  3. Unemployment

To Sum Up

Disability with a mental illness pays people differently because each person’s illness affects that person differently. Disability benefits for a mental illness also vary depending on whether the person with a disability receives SSI or SSDI benefits. 

The average adult SSI payment in 2021 is $ 586 per month and the average adult SSDI payment in 2021 is $ 1,277. If you have a mental health condition, how much disability pays for a mental health condition also depends on other factors, such as income if you are applying for SSI benefits. 

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