Social Security Disability and Depression
Depression is a mental disorder which is often associated with low or depressed mood. It is common to see people who are suffering from depression, to feel hopeless and sad, live a life of low self-esteem and lose interest in activities they formerly found pleasant.
They often have disturbed sleep since they either suffer from insomnia or excessive sleep. Inability to concentrate, low energy, difficulty in fulfilling work responsibilities, relating to others and taking care of daily activities are some of the effects of depression in people. In extreme cases, a depressed person can contemplate suicide.
Depression can be situational or clinical. In situational depression, symptoms subside after a few days or weeks, whereas clinical depression is characterized by hopelessness and depressed feelings which last for long periods of time, from months to years.
Many factors can lead to depression. Prominent among them are genetic factors, environmental factors, and stress.
Doctors diagnose depression by thorough physical examination to rule out other conditions that can cause depressive symptoms. For instance, illnesses or reaction to certain medications. By using your physical and family history, your doctor will discuss your symptoms with you. No specific medical test is used for diagnosing depression. Instead, your doctor will look at the overall pattern and severity of your symptoms.
Below are some symptoms of clinical depression:
- Loss of appetite
- Thoughts of suicide
- Diffused anxiety
- Sleep patterns disturbed (insomnia, waking early, or sleeping excessively)
- Difficulty concentrating
- Low self-esteem
- Feelings of worthlessness and pessimism
- Loss of interest in activities and people
- Feeling “empty”
- Loss of interest in sex
- Difficulty making decisions
Depression can be treated with psychotherapy and antidepressant medications. These treatments have been proven to be almost 80% effective. Other treatments are exercise, change in diet, joining a social group, among others.
Applying For Social Security Disability Having Been Diagnosed For Depression
The Impairment Listing Manual of the Social Security Administration (SSA) does not have a separate listing for Depression. However, this condition is considered under Section 12.04 Affective Disorders.
If you are a victim of affective disorder, you can apply for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. However, there are criteria which your medical records must satisfy. At least, one of them.
The first set of criteria:
- Your Depression must result in difficulty or marked restrictions in no less than two of the following areas:
- Social functioning
- Your ability to maintain concentration, persistence, or pace
- Repeated and extended occurrences of deterioration
- Activities of Daily Living
- Whether consistently or infrequently, your depression results in no less than four of the following conditions:
- Difficulty thinking or concentrating
- Agitation or retardation of psycho-motor function
- Hallucinatory episodes, delusions, or paranoid thinking
- You are unable to experience pleasure or you have a pervasive loss of interest in nearly all activities
- Feelings of guilt or worthlessness
- Significant changes in eating habits and weight
- Suicidal thoughts
- Sleep disturbances
- Decreased energy levels
Assuming you are unable to qualify for the first set of conditions, if you are meeting each of the condition in the second set of criteria listed below, you may qualify for benefits. Here it is:
- No less than two years documented record of your medical history of depression.
- A medical record that shows that your ability to perform any work due to your depression is limited
- A medical record that shows that when your symptoms worsen, you are subject to repeated and extended periods of time.
- A medical record proving that the worsening of your symptoms is as a result of the aftereffects of a disease
- A medical record that shows that your Depression is so chronic to the extent that living at least 12 months outside a ”highly supported living arrangement” is impossible. You also need to provide evidence for the continuity of this arrangement.
Should you meet the requirements of the medical examinations highlighted above, you can be awarded either a medical vocational allowance or complete disability benefits. Several people have received this type of benefits titled “medical-vocational allowance.”
Contact A Qualified Social Security Disability Attorney
Winning a depression disability case is not an easy task. However, you may qualify for Social Security Disability (SSDI) benefits if you meet stringent requirements listed above. You need a qualified Social Security disability attorney to assist you to collect and present the appropriate documentation. The Social Security lawyer will ensure that you have the best possible chance of being awarded the benefits.