Mental Health Services and Government Assistance for Low-Income Americans

by Amos Z

A wide array of mental health conditions can make Americans eligible for government assistance coming from a number of different agencies, including the Department of Veterans Affairs which sponsors several programs focused on individuals struggling with mental illness.

These services are provided in numerous ways, including outpatient and inpatient settings, with general mental health services being a part of the primary care package described by the Patient Aligned Care Teams and VA-sponsored nursing homes where veterans receive care from trained professionals.

Apart from psychiatric care, patients can also get access to unique psycho-social services created with the purpose of making life easier for veterans dealing with schizophrenia and other more serious mental illnesses.

We’ll go over the many assistance programs available to veterans dealing with mental illness and give you an insight into how they work and what you can do to apply for benefits.


In order to qualify for benefits, an individual must first be part of the VA Health Care system, although there are certain exceptions based on state law, with requirements explained in full detail on the official website for the program.

However, for individuals with mental health conditions that the VA deems to be service-connected, there’s no need for you to enroll in their healthcare system, and you will be provided with treatment nonetheless.

On top of this, one’s discharge conditions mustn’t be dishonorable, as dishonorable discharge prevents individuals from qualifying for VA mental health benefits.

That being said, those that received other types of discharge from service, including undesirable, bad conduct, and other negative discharges may be able to qualify for benefits, albeit this will be up to the VA office to decide, so don’t take it for granted.


Contrary to popular belief, applying for benefits through the VA or any other government agency is far from difficult, and apart from the heaps of documentation you will have to provide, the process itself is fairly simple.

The main thing to keep in mind is that you’ll have to provide proof of your service to the country, as well as certain personal information and your income level.

Applying can be done both online and in-person, although the process is much more streamlined when done digitally, as the information is submitted right away rather than waiting for it to be processed by VA staff.

Upon receiving your application, the VA will carefully examine whether you’re eligible for the program and determine the benefits you may be entitled to.

Disability claims are important in the application process as they can contribute to the benefits one may receive, and certain mental health issues can qualify inder disabilities so long as they prevent the individual from doing any productive work or living a normal life.

Disability insurance

Even if you may not qualify for VA benefits based on your service status and your mental health condition, you may still be able to collect your SSA benefits.

With Social Security Disability Insurance, individuals whose disability/mental illness prevents them from working can collect benefits as long as they were diligent in their Social Security tax contributions during their time in the workforce.

Millions of Americans have collected their SSDI checks based on mood, psychiatric, or other types of mental disability, allowing them to pay for their expensive medication/treatment and make their lives just a tiny bit easier.

As it’s a need-based program, those with more severe symptoms are bound to receive their benefits first and will be pushed to the front of the queue, with the next criteria in line being one’s income level, meaning that those with income at or below the federal poverty guideline will take priority.

Both SSI and SSDI are run by the Social Security Administration and have made great contributions to the quality of life of mentally disabled Americans.

About mental health

Oftentimes, people will try to undermine the importance of government benefits for Americans struggling with mental illness or other mental disabilities.

However, what they don’t know is that one in every 20 Americans is dealing with a serious mental illness, sometimes without even knowing it, and their symptoms can make life much harder than it is for the average person.

From how unpredictable these symptoms are to how they can affect one’s quality of life, mental health isn’t anything to sneeze at, and government benefits can be a godsend to anyone dealing with a serious mental illness.

SSI and SSDI give these individuals access to funds that can make a huge difference, as the majority of mentally disabled individuals have difficulties finding and retaining work.

On top of all of this, qualifying for these benefits can be extremely hard, as the agencies administering them have strict criteria that have to be met in order to receive assistance.

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