Mental Health Disability for Dissociative Identity Disorder

August 3, 2017 Crystalie Matulewicz

Receiving mental health disability benefits for dissociative identity disorder isn't always necessary. But DID can become a disability. Here's what to do.

It's okay to request mental health disability for dissociative identity disorder (DID). Dissociative identity disorder affects each person in different ways -- including his or her ability to work. While many people with DID are able to go to school and work regularly, other people have a more difficult time. Severe mental illness can keep you from working, and DID is no different. For some, mental health disability with DID is their only option.

Mental Health Disability Is for Impairment in Functioning

Like many other psychiatric disorders listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), one of the criteria for a DID diagnosis is significant distress or impairment in one or more major areas of functioning. This can be social functioning, educational functioning, occupational functioning, or otherwise.

There is no concrete definition of what exactly impairment in functioning looks like, but most clinicians agree that any negative impact in these areas constitutes impairment. Failing grades in school, fights with others, inability to hold a job, or not being able to work full-time are just a few examples of how functioning can be affected (Mental Illness as a Disability). For people with DID, there may be impairment in only one area, or in all areas of functioning. There is no right or wrong.

Mental Health Disability Is There for a Reason

Many people with DID work, but for others, full-time work is just not possible. Symptoms can be severe and persistent enough that working is not realistic; then mental health disability becomes an option. Frequent dissociation, derealization/depersonalization, trauma reactions, and other DID and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms can impair one's ability to work.

A mental health disability is not about a lack of trying. Many people with DID want to work. Many people try to work and end up losing their job or quitting because they just aren't able to do everything they need to do. Some employers are great at understanding and may work with employees who need time off or extra assistance -- but that is not the case everywhere. Sometimes, work may be an impossible feat and even a risk to safety.

Admittedly, the stigma of receiving disability exists, but there is nothing wrong with not being able to work. DID can affect someone just as any physical illness can. Sometimes, no matter what you do, you just can't overcome your symptoms, and that's okay. In these instances, it may be necessary to apply for mental health disability with DID.

Applying for Mental Health Disability Benefits with Dissociative Identity Disorder

The mental health disability application process can be difficult. It takes time and effort to finish all of the paperwork, and there is no guarantee that disability will be approved. But help is out there. There are free and low-cost services that help people fill out forms or to file appeals if you are denied. Your local social services can assist in providing other forms of assistance if you find yourself unable to work. Don't be ashamed of your DID and don't be ashamed to ask for the help you need.

Remember, everyone's DID is different, and everyone's ability to work is different. Don't judge others for what they can and can't do, and don't judge yourself if you find yourself unable to work. You and your system are the first priority.

APA Reference
Matulewicz, C. (2017, August 3). Mental Health Disability for Dissociative Identity Disorder, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 23 from

Author: Crystalie Matulewicz

Crystalie is the founder of PAFPAC, is a published author and the writer of Life Without Hurt. She has a BA in psychology and will soon have an MS in Experimental Psychology, with a focus on trauma. Crystalie manages life with PTSD, DID, major depression, and an eating disorder. You can find Crystalie on FacebookGoogle+, and Twitter.

February, 13 2024 at 10:23 am

I just don’t understand any of this. I have been diagnosed with DID and ptsd. I’m to the point I just Wana die going from job to job pitting stress on my family because I can hold a job.

May, 8 2019 at 9:13 am

I just wanted to post that your local Independent Living Center can help with applying for disability. They have certified benefits advisers on staff that can help with applying for disability and with appealing a decision. I work in an Independent Living Center and have helped a lot of people get benefits. I also work with the mentally unstable because I am a peer with a mental illness. An ILC is the best place to work because they recognize that people have disabilities. My boss has given me the opportunity to leave work when I need to and to take Thursdays off while im in intense therapy. ILC are made up of people with disabilities and I probably wouldn't be able to work if I didn't work at an ILC.

March, 18 2018 at 4:20 am

I can't believe I've stumbled across this because I haven't been able to understand what's wrong with me I'm Listening to k- love and I finally know what's going on with me . thank you.

August, 20 2017 at 1:40 pm

Hi Crystal, not sure if you'll see this, but do you know if/how DID could affect you on your medical records negatively? I'm too afraid to have it be in the medical system as a diagnosis, but now realizing I am not getting the help I need because of that.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Crystalie Matulewicz
August, 22 2017 at 10:37 am

Having any mental health diagnosis on your medical record can be a help or a hindrance. While doctors and medical professionals aren't supposed to judge based off of your mental health diagnoses, there are some out there that are dismissive of other health issues (physical ones) or brush issues off as being part of anxiety. In that sense, it can be damaging.
However, depending on where you are and your specific needs, having your DID diagnosis on record could allow for mental health treatment coverage if you are insurance.

Keith Floyd
August, 5 2017 at 1:38 pm

Thanks. I need help with process

August, 4 2017 at 11:29 pm

I lost my job largely due to my having DID. I had, for many years been stable, and no-one would ever have known the chaos that I was often trying to manage inside. However, due to circumstances in both my personal and working life, that stability begain to slip, and I was switching more and more with little or no warning... It was usually not obvious to anyone that this was happening at work, but when I began (again) to lose time, it affected my attendance. I finally looked for help via my GP and mental health services, but between the DID and a physical condition which caused several problems for me, I had to take more time off than ever: and when it was decided that to save money, the organisation I worked for would have to cut staffing, my post was one of those at risk. I was told that everyone would have to be re-interviewed for their posts: but that the liklihood of my retaining my job was low.. basically, no matter how good I was at my job, (and I WAS good) it was likely that even if someone else was not as skilled or as good, if their attendance and sickness record was better than mine, they would be offered the post over me. The best option I had was to take 'voluntary' redundancy, which I did: the stress of that, the breakdown of my 24 year relationship, and subsequent moving home destabilised me further, to the point where I now could not keep a job. After decades of working with no help or support to figure out what was happening to me: gain some kind of .. not control, but co-operation so that I could function normally, and not have strangers see what was happening to me, I now feel that I have failed: that my system is in tatters, and that I am a useless burden, instead of the independent, valued, productive person I once was.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

August, 30 2017 at 6:52 pm

Hi Susan, sorry for all that you are going through. It feels the same over here too, and sounds like we have some similarities. Not sure what my options are, or how to get help. Drowning for about 15 years and don't know how to escape.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

October, 14 2017 at 2:56 pm

My story is so similar to yours, it happened to me in much the same way. That was over 15 yrs ago. My 24 yr marriage fell apart as well. One thing I do is volunteer work. It gives me the opportunity to feel productive and I can back away when I need to. The fact is there are many organizations that desperately need volunteers. Especially small local charities. Volunteering saved my life and gives me a sense of worth.

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