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Depression and Social Security Disability

Published on September 29th, 2020

If you suffer from depression that is keeping you from SGA (Substantial Gainful Activity), and your condition has prevented you from working for 12 months or longer, you may be entitled to Social Security Disability benefits.

Basic Requirements for SSI and SSD Claims

When applying for Social Security Disability or SSI benefits, it’s important to understand the disability evaluation process. Both SSD and SSI are processed in an identical manner with regard to the way each claim is evaluated and the definition of disability.

The first requirement to be eligible for SSD is your condition must have prevented, or is expected to prevent, SGA for 12 months (or more), or is expected to be terminal. However, even if your condition is expected to end in death, performing SGA will cause your disability claim to be denied before it is ever sent for a medical decision. There is no way around this rule.

The second requirement is that you must have a severe physical or mental condition that is medically verifiable. The severity must be established using acceptable medical sources. Medical doctors, psychologists, psychiatrists, and other medical professionals are acceptable medical sources for the SSA.

Depression is Evaluated Under the Criteria of Affective Disorders – Listing 12.04

Social Security must evaluate “objective” medical evidence when establishing the existence and severity of your depression. This evidence might consist of treatment notes that describe your symptoms and signs (occurrences that are observable and indicate psychological abnormalities in the areas of mood, thought, behavior, perception, memory, or orientation) as notated by your treating medical professional.

Severity is determined by evaluating the functional limitations imposed by your depression on your daily activities (cooking, shopping, paying bills, etc.), persistence, concentration, or pace (ability to stay focused, complete tasks ordinarily found in work settings, and social functioning (interactions with friends, family, or employers).

Impairment criteria for listing 12.04 may be satisfied using one of two methods, each requiring expert documentation. Nevertheless, if you have been unable to perform substantial work activity because you are severely depressed, you should consider filing for Social Security Disability and/or Supplemental Social Security benefits.

About Depression

Depression, also referred to as clinical depression, unipolar depression, major depression, and major depressive disorder, is a mental disorder that is commonly recognized by grief, sadness, low mood, irritability, and a loss of interest in normal activities. There are no laboratory tests to diagnose depression, however, a physician may run tests for other conditions prior to making a diagnosis. A psychological evaluation will usually follow the medical check-up.

Depression can be a once in a lifetime event, or chronically recur throughout one’s life. An episode can last for days, weeks, months, or be present for a lifetime. Symptoms include crying spells, body aches, low libido, low energy, and fluctuations in eating and sleeping habits.

Depression is often paired with other mental conditions like ADHD or anxiety, and there are different ratings of depression ranging from mild to severe. The cause is generally unknown, and risk factors are often debated but many doctors feel that events like death, trauma, and stress can trigger depression.

Contact Our Knowledgeable Disability Lawyer Near Knoxville

Today, depression is regarded as a serious condition that can be disabling. If you, or someone you care about is suffering from depression, seek treatment from a medical professional – therapy is available. If your depression has become disabling, you may be entitled to Social Security Disability benefits. Contact one of our dedicated disability lawyers near Knoxville for more information and a free case evaluation today.

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