Depression has become increasingly common amongst Americans, as some 14.8 million people suffer from its debilitating effects. Trying to hold a job and provide for your family while depressed can be an almost overwhelming challenge. If you are unable to work at your job because of your depression, you may be able to qualify for monetary benefits from the Social Security Administration. Here's what you need to know about depression and collecting Social Security benefits.
The Social Security Administration's "blue book" lists depression as a qualifying condition in Section 12.04: Affective Disorders. In order for you to qualify for benefits, you must show that the below symptoms have been present for at least 12 months, or are expected to persist for at least 12 more months. You must also be able to show that these symptoms prevent or interfere with your ability to work at your job.
The criteria for qualifying is listed in Section 12.04: A1 and specifies that you must exhibit at least four of the following symptoms of depression:
- Apathy towards almost all activities
- Loss/increase of appetite and/or weight gain/loss
- Disturbed sleep
- Feelings of guilt or worthlessness.
- Brain fog
- Suicidal thoughts.
- Hallucinations, delusions, or paranoid thinking plus two of the following:
- Marked restriction in daily living activities.
- Marked difficulties in social functioning.
- Marked difficulties in concentration or persistence.
- Repeated episodes of decompensation, each of an extended duration.
How to ensure that your claim for benefits gets approved:
- Seek treatment from a mental health professional, preferably a psychologist or psychiatrist.
- Keep careful records of your treatments.
- Don't miss any appointments and don't refuse or delay any recommended treatments.
It's vital that you be able to show the Social Security Administration an unbroken period of treatment as proof that you have been seeking help for your depression. It's difficult enough to prove physical disabilities to the SSA, and even more so with mental disabilities. Not seeking or receiving regular treatment for your depression is a red flag to the SSA that your condition is not severe enough to qualify for approval.
By following the above tips, you can increase your chances of being approved for Social Security disability, but don't be surprised or give up if your initial claim is denied. Proving mental disorders is more challenging, but not impossible. Once your claim as been denied, it's time to get some professional legal help. Contact a Social Security attorney, like Cohen & Siegel LLP, who will assist you in filing for your appeal. There are strict timelines for filing, so don't delay. You can get the financial help that you need for your depression, so get a qualified professional on your side as soon as you know that your first claim has been denied.