If your insomnia or another condition that causes insomnia makes it impossible for you to work, you can qualify for disability benefits and health care through the Social Security Administration (SSA). In 2021, nearly 8 million workers received disability for a medical condition.
To help you qualify, we’ll explain how the SSA defines insomnia, when it can qualify for disability, and how to get benefits for insomnia.
Yes, insomnia is considered a disability and can qualify for monthly disability benefits when it interferes with your ability to work.
Insomnia is a sleep disorder that can make it hard to fall or stay asleep. It can also cause you to wake early so that you don’t get adequate sleep. Common insomnia symptoms include tiredness, mood swings, depression, anxiety, difficulty focusing, increased errors, and stress about sleep — all of which can make it difficult to work.
Insomnia often occurs on its own, but it can also be a symptom of a more serious condition. According to the SSA, the following conditions can all qualify for disability and often cause insomnia:
Learn more about other conditions that qualify for disability.
Yes! If you’re experiencing insomnia and its symptoms make it impossible for you to work, you can qualify for Social Security disability benefits. You can also get disability if your insomnia is a symptom that accompanies another qualifying condition, like those mentioned above.
To receive benefits payments, you’ll have to prove that your insomnia meets the SSA’s strict medical criteria. Working with a disability lawyer can help increase your odds of approval.
Although insomnia can be frustrating and make it difficult to keep up with your regular activities, just experiencing insomnia isn’t enough to qualify for disability. To qualify, you’ll have to show the SSA that your insomnia is severe and ongoing, which can be challenging because the SSA doesn’t include insomnia as an official listing in its directory of qualified conditions, also known as the Blue Book.
Here are some criteria that may improve your chances of approval with insomnia:
If you answer yes to most of the following questions, you may qualify for disability:
If your insomnia is severe and you have plenty of documentation, you can apply for disability as soon as you’re ready. You can still apply if you’re unsure whether or not you’ll qualify, but it’s worth noting that the application is lengthy. It might not be worth applying if you’re unlikely to win your benefits claim.
Apply now if:
Consider waiting and applying later if:
Probably don’t apply if:
You can also take our free 2-minute disability quiz to find out whether or not you qualify before you apply. If you do qualify, we can introduce you to an experienced disability lawyer who can increase your odds of approval. Better yet, you’ll only have to pay your lawyer if you get approved for benefits.
The type of benefits you should apply for depends on your work and income history. The SSA offers Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) for people who’ve worked for years — generally at least five of the last 10 years — while Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is available for people with little to no monthly income and few assets.
Both programs use the same application and in some circumstances you can qualify for both at the same time. If you’re unsure which is the best fit, you can apply for both SSDI and SSI to let the SSA determine the right benefits for your situation.
Qualifying is difficult no matter what condition you have or how severe it is. Unfortunately, insomnia is particularly challenging because it doesn’t appear in the SSA’s Blue Book. But that doesn’t mean you can’t get disability for insomnia.
Only 20% of people win their benefits on their initial application. No matter how you proceed, patience pays off. About 50% of people who appeal their claim and end up in front of a judge get approved for monthly benefits.
Need more advice? Check out our step-by-step guide to applying for disability.
Under SSDI, the maximum monthly benefit is $3,600, while SSI offers a maximum of $914 per month in 2023. The maximum amount you get doesn’t vary by condition and will largely depend on your work and income history.
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