Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits for Depression
Elements of a Qualifying Depression Disability Case:
Length of your Clinical Depression
In order to qualify for disability insurance, your situation must have (or will in the future) lasted for 12 months or more and place you in a state unable to perform everyday job tasks.
Your doctor, psychologist or psychiatrist written statement on your condition carries significant weight in the application process. A qualified doctor can give his or her opinion on your working capabilities, and the overall long-term effects of the disorder. Social workers’ and therapists’ reports are considered somewhat less credible by the SSA.
Full Listing of Treatments
If you have received medication, the SSA wants to know the amount of time, type and dosage, and the effect the treatment has had on you. If you haven’t received any treatment for you situation, the SSA will consider your condition “mild” and likely reject your application.
Meeting a “Disability Listing”
The SSA may automatically qualify you by following the following procedure: (according to the SSA’s Listing of Impairments, Sec. 12.00)
A mental status examination is performed in the course of a clinical interview and is often partly assessed while the history is being obtained. A comprehensive mental status examination generally includes a narrative description of your appearance, behavior, and speech; thought process (e.g., loosening of associations); thought content (e.g., delusions); perceptual abnormalities (e.g., hallucinations); mood and affect (e.g., depression, mania); sensorium and cognition (e.g., orientation, recall, memory, concentration, fund of information, and intelligence); and judgment and insight. The individual case facts determine the specific areas of mental status that need to be emphasized during the examination.
Overview of Clinical Depression
Depression affects individuals differently, but there are some common signs and symptoms. Having one or two of these symptoms doesn’t necessarily mean you have depression, some simply accompany everyday life. But if your symptoms have lasted for months, and even progressed further, it may be that you are dealing with depression. When these symptoms become overwhelming and disabling, it’s vital that you (or have a close relative/friend help) seek professional help immediately.
Signs and symptoms of depression include: (HelpGuide.org)
- Feelings of helplessness and hopelessness. Having a bleak outlook—believing nothing in life will ever improve.
- Loss of interest in daily activities. No interest in former hobbies, pastimes, social activities, or sex. You no longer experience joy and pleasure regularly.
- Appetite or weight changes. Significant weight loss or weight gain—a change of more than 5% of body weight in a month.
- Drastic sleep changes. Either insomnia, especially waking in the early hours of the morning, or oversleeping (also known as hypersomnia).
- Easily Angered or irritable. Feeling agitated, restless, or even violent. Everything and everyone gets on your nerves, and your tolerance is low.
- Loss of energy. Feeling fatigued, sluggish, and physically drained. Your whole body may feel heavy, and even small tasks are exhausting or take longer to complete.
- Self-loathing. Strong feelings of worthlessness or guilt. You harshly criticize yourself for perceived faults and mistakes.
- Reckless behavior. You engage in escapist behavior such as substance abuse, compulsive gambling, reckless driving, or dangerous sports.
- Concentration problems. Trouble focusing, making decisions, or remembering things.
Types of Depression
Major depression is characterized by the inability to enjoy life and experience pleasure. The symptoms are constant, ranging from moderate to severe. Left untreated, major depression typically lasts for about six months. Some people experience just a single depressive episode in their lifetime, but more commonly, major depression is a recurring disorder. However, there are many things you can do to support your mood and reduce the risk of recurrence.
Dysthymia (recurrent, mild depression)
Dysthymia is a type of chronic “low-grade” depression. More days than not, you feel mildly or moderately depressed, although you may have brief periods of normal mood. The symptoms of dysthymia are not as strong as the symptoms of major depression, but they last a long time (at least two years). These chronic symptoms make it very difficult to live life to the fullest or to remember better times. Some people also experience major depressive episodes on top of dysthymia, a condition known as “double depression.” If you suffer from dysthymia, you may feel like you’ve always been depressed. Or you may think that your continuous low mood is “just the way you are.” However, dysthymia can be treated, even if your symptoms have gone unrecognized or untreated for years.
Many new mothers suffer from some fleeting form of the “baby blues.”Postpartum depression, in contrast, is a longer lasting and more serious depression triggered, in part, by hormonal changes associated with having a baby. Postpartum depression usually develops soon after delivery, but any depression that occurs within six months of childbirth may be postpartum depression.
Seasonal affective disorder
Many people feel sad when summer wanes, but some actually develop depression with the season’s change. Known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD), this form of depression affects about 1% to 2% of the population, particularly women and young people. SAD seems to be triggered by more limited exposure to daylight; typically it comes on during the fall or winter months and subsides in the spring.
Hiring an SSDI Attorney
In cases of filing for benefits with a bipolar disorder, there are no guarantees for qualifying. The best way to ensure you receive the benefits you deserve is by retaining a knowledgeable Social Security Lawyer. While the overwhelming majority of all applications are rejected at both the initial and appeals stages, nearly two-thirds of cases brought to a hearing (with a competent lawyer representing the disable person) are accepted. Call the Summit Disability Law Group and let us help you navigate the complicated legal structure so you can receive the benefits you deserve.