More than a half million mentally ill or mentally retarded individuals received Social Security or Supplemental Security Income disability payments in 1980. To become eligible for these payments, claimants must go through a multilayered adjudication process to establish the severity of their condition. Yet because of their symptoms, many mentally disabled individuals are unable to fend for themselves properly through this process. The author describes the different levels in the adjudication process, outlines the problems the mentally disabled encounter in applying for benefits, and proposes an advocacy program for mental health professionals to follow in assisting claimants in applying for benefits. Such an advocacy program should be given high priority in the operational budgets of all publicly funded mental health and mental retardation facilities, the author asserts.