Information on this page:
Receiving Disability Benefits for Depression
Those who have suffered from depression understand just how debilitating the condition can be. According to Healthline, it is estimated that at least 16.2 million (6.7 percent) of American adults have had at least one major depressive episode in any given year. Depression can occur once, or you can have recurring episodes. Ongoing feelings of deep sadness and hopelessness in conjunction with other symptoms such as indecision and low energy occur in 1.5 percent of U.S. adults and are more prevalent in women than in men. At least half of these cases are considered to be very serious—so serious they prevent the individual from performing day-to-day tasks and from working and making a living.
Depression and disability benefits may be looked at with a certain level of suspicion by the SSA. If you are attempting to secure Social Security disability benefits for depression, Carmichael Law Group can help you get the benefits you need and deserve. We can help you prove that you meet the requirements set by the SSA and that your depression makes it impossible for you to work. The attorneys at Carmichael Law Group are highly skilled, experienced, and knowledgeable in every aspect of Social Security disability because this is not only what we do—this is all we do. We help clients all across the nation.
At Carmichael Law Group we will skillfully tell your story—a story that show the impact your condition has had on your life and on your ability to work. It is imperative that you have a highly experienced attorney who knows exactly how to tell your story in the best way possible, while also ensuring you will pass the SSDI five-step review process which includes:
- Do you make too much money?
- Is your impairment severe?
- Is your condition in the official impairment list?
- Does your condition interfere with the type of work you did previously?
- Can you do a different job?
What Is Depression?
Depression is a serious mental health disorder that is characterized by a loss of interest in life and normal activities and a persistent depressed mood. While it is not entirely clear what causes depression, possible causes include a combination of biological, psychological, and social sources of distress that could cause changes in brain function. In fact, these changes can actually include altered activity of the brain’s neural circuits. Physical and behavioral symptoms can result from persistent feelings of sadness or loss. These symptoms include:
- Loss of appetite
- Low energy
- Changes in sleep patterns
- Difficulty concentrating
- Changes in daily behavior
- Low self-esteem
- Thoughts of suicide
Treatments for depression usually include medication and therapy to attempt to normalize the brain changes associated with the disorder.
Is Depression a Disability Under Social Security Disability Rules?
If you are unable to work as a result of the severity of your depression, and you either have been unable to work for a year or expect that you will not be able to work for at least a year, you can file a claim for Social Security disability benefits. Under the depression listing in the SSA impairment listings, you must be able to show you have at least five of the following symptoms to be considered for disability benefits:
- A decreased interest in virtually all activities
- An appetite disturbance—either over-eating or no appetite—resulting in significant weight changes
- Depressed mood
- Sleep disturbances—oversleeping or insomnia
- Depressed mood
- Difficulty concentrating
- Thoughts of suicide or death
- Feelings of guilt or worthlessness
- Slowing of physical movement and reactions, including speech
- Increased physical agitation, such as pacing or hand wringing
In addition to five of the above symptoms, you will need to provide documentation that shows you have either an extreme limitation in one of the areas below, or you have “marked” limitation in two of the areas below:
- Adapting or managing oneself (practicing good personal hygiene, getting dressed, shopping for groceries, cooking meals, or paying bills)
- The ability to complete tasks (concentrating, persisting, or maintaining pace while performing tasks)
- Interactions with others (using socially appropriate behaviors)
- The ability to understand, remember or apply information (understanding instructions, learning new things)
Providing medical documentation that shows you meet the impairment listing comes with its own challenges. Statements from your psychologist, former bosses, co-workers, family members, social workers, or anyone else who can speak to the impact your depression has had on your ability to work can make a significant difference.
Providing Proof for Depression and Disability Benefits
A residual functional capacity (RFC) form completed by your physician can significantly help you obtain disability benefits for your depression. This RFC form will detail what you can and cannot do physically and mentally. Regarding depression, the RFC will detail your ability to focus, note whether you have difficulty concentrating and remembering things, and will document your social skills and overall mental state. This RFC helps give the SSA a full picture of what you can and cannot do on a daily basis.
Your medical records will be equally important as a detail of the treatments you have undergone, and whether those treatments helped your depression. Prescription drugs you have taken, therapies you have undergone, and whether the drugs or therapies helped or caused other issues will be a part of these medical records. It’s important that you be able to show you have adhered to each physician’s treatment plan, yet you are still disabled—i.e., that you have tried your best to recover, but that recovery has not occurred.
Getting Help with Your Depression and Disability Benefits from Carmichael Law Group
It is particularly important that you have an experienced SS disability attorney from Carmichael Law Group by your side from start to finish. Since depression can be a difficult condition to obtain disability benefits for, having an attorney who knows the system inside and out can truly make a difference. Do not wait, hoping you can handle your depression disability application or an appeal on your own. We understand the process and we know exactly what it takes to have your application for disability benefits approved. Contact Carmichael Law Group today.