What To Know About Depression And Social Security Disability Benefits

While you may understand that being unable to work due to a medical condition could qualify you for Social Security disability benefits, these benefits are also available for those who suffer from a debilitating mental disorder, such as depression. If you are afflicted with depression, you are far from alone: some 14.8 million people in the U.S. are suffering from this disease. It should not be surprising that those who are depressed find it difficult, if not impossible, to work at their job. While getting covered by Social Security for depression can be more challenging, it is possible. Read on to learn more about getting Social Security benefits for depression.

Social Security Requirements for Depression

Depression is listed as a covered condition under the heading of affective disorders in the Social Security Administration's (SSA) list of impairments (also referred to as the "bluebook") in section 12.04. You must have suffered the below symptoms for at least 12 months or expect to suffer from them for at least 12 months.

At least four (4) of the following in the depressive syndrome category:

  • Loss of interest in normal activities
  • Appetite changes
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Retardation
  • Lack of energy
  • Feelings of guilt and worthlessness
  • Problems concentrating
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Hallucinations, paranoia, or delusions

Or three of the following in the manic syndrome category:

  • Hyperactivity
  • Pressured speech
  • Flight of ideas
  • Inflated self esteem
  • Decreased need for sleep
  • Distractability
  • Engaging in high risk behavior
  • Hallucinations, delusions, paranoid thinking

Or a combination of the above two categories for the bipolar syndrome category.

Getting Your Claim Approved

It's vital to seek professional help from a mental health practitioner as soon as possible, since a paper trail of well-documented care is the main item of proof for the SSA. You must be able to show how your illness has affected your ability to do your job. Make sure that you:

  1. Keep all therapy appointments and never refuse treatment. Doing so sends a red flag to the SSA that your condition is not serious enough to keep you from doing your job.
  2. Keep a record of your treatments, medications and appointments.
  3. Get a complete set of treatment records from your therapist.

The SSA will deny you your benefits if you fail to present adequate proof of your condition, which can only be proven with your treatment records. Initial claims, even for eligible medical conditions, are frequently turned down by the SSA for various reasons, so don't be discouraged and just give up when you receive that denial letter. Instead, seek the advice and support of a Social Security attorney to ensure that you are represented at your appeal hearing and that you are able to get the benefits that you have earned and need now.

For more information, contact a company like the Gieg Law Offices.