This communication aimed to analyze the profile variation of disability benefits due to mental disorders. Secondary data published by Brazilian Social Security between 2008 and 2011 were evaluated. Mean annual variation rates over the period were calculated for the economically active population, as were the number insured, paid out overall sickness benefits and for mental and behavioral disorders. Mental disorders are the third most common reason for disability benefits. There was an average annual increase of 0.3% in new benefit claims, with a 2.5% fall in mean annual incidence. Work-related disease was identified in 6.2% of cases, most of it due to mood disorders. The government should use the data from the Social Security Institute to support a debate of public policies regarding mental health.