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Chartbook on Mental Health and Disability

Section 4: Access, utilization, and cost of services

4.5. What percentage of people who receive Social Security disability benefits has a mental disorder?

According to the National Health Interview Survey on Disability (NHIS-D), about 4.3 million people receive some form of disability benefits (including both federal benefits and disability pensions) for a mental disorder. This represents about 18.3% of people with mental disorders, or about 1.7% of the U.S. population.

Most people who receive disability benefits for a mental disorder are covered under one of two Social Security benefit programs, Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and/or Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

Mental disorders that prevent substantial gainful employment (including mental retardation) are the leading reason that people receive both SSI and SSDI. Mental impairments also are associated with the longest entitlement periods.

In 2001, 28.0% of SSDI recipients and 35.4% of SSI recipients received payment based on a mental disorder (not including mental retardation).

More than one in four SSDI recipients and one in three SSI recipients has a mental disorder.

Figure 25 (see data table for text-only version)

Figure 25: Percentage of people with mental and other disorders receiving SSDI and SSI

Source: Social Security Administration (2002)

Surveys: Social Security Program Administration Data, 2001

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