Here is a wonderfully helpful post by guest blogger, Ram Meyyappan from The Social Security Disability Help website
Applying for Social Security Disability with Depression
Severe depression can make it impossible to maintain employment, or at least to maintain gainful employment. If you suffer from persistent depression despite receiving appropriate treatment and following prescribed therapies, you may be able to receive disability benefits through one of both of the Social Security Administration’s (SSA’s) disability Programs:
SSDI and SSI Basic Eligibility
Both SSD programs require you have a persistent and severe medical condition that prevents you from maintaining gainful employment. SSDI also requires you have work credits built up from your employment history. SSI, on the other hand, has no work credit requirements, but is instead a need-based program with strict income and financial resource limitations.
For more information on specific eligibility requirements for SSDI or SSI, please visit: http://ssa-custhelp.ssa.gov/app/answers/detail/a_id/245/~/difference-between-social-security-disability-and-ssi-disability
Qualifying Medically for Disability with Depression
To meet the SSA’s medical requirements to receive SSD benefits, your application and medical records must show your depression results from an organic mental disorder, which simply means there must be clinical evidence of a physical cause, like a chemical imbalance in the brain. You must additionally suffer from at least one of the following persistent and severe symptoms:
- Impaired memory
- Personality changes
- Severe fluctuations in mood or mood disturbances
- Issues with impulse control
- Exaggerated and uncontrollable emotional outbursts
- Loss of intellectual ability or IQ impairment
You must also suffer from at least two of the following severe limitations:
- Issues completing normal activities of daily living
- An inability to maintain relationships or interact socially
- Trouble concentrating or completing tasks
- Recurrent and lengthy episodes of decompensation when your previously controlled symptoms worsen significantly despite following prescribed therapies
You can also show the severity level required for receiving SSD benefits by proving your depression symptoms:
- have been ongoing for two years or more despite consistently receiving treatment
- result in at least one of the following:
- recurrent and lengthy episodes of decompensation
- inability to adjust to changes, even minor ones, without experiencing an episode of decompensation
- an inability to function without consistent support and monitoring, with documentation that indicates you will continue to require that same level of support and monitoring on a daily basis for a significant period of time
It is also important to understand that depression is often accompanied by other medical conditions, like anxiety, drug addiction, and eating disorders. If can also commonly result from other chronic illnesses, like physical impairments such as fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, and lupus.
If you suffer from any other medical condition, whether mental or physical, your application for disability benefits must also contain detailed information about that condition and its effects on your everyday abilities. The SSA will take all of your impairments under consideration when determining if your meet the medical eligibility requirements to receive SSDI and/or SSI benefits.
More information on applying for disability with depression can be found here: http://www.disability-benefits-help.org/disabling-conditions/depression-and-social-security-disability
Applying for Benefits
Applications for disability can be completed and submitted online with the SSA’s website, or in person at your local SSA office. If you apply in person an appointment is required and you can set the appointment date by contacting the main help line at 1-800-772-1213.
Collect as many of your medical records and other documentation as you can before applying and be sure to submit that evidence to the SSA along with your application. You may additionally want to get help with your claim from an advocate or attorney that is more familiar with the application and review processes, including applications filed with a diagnosis of depression.
It can take several months for your application to be reviewed, so be patient. It is also common for claims to initially be denied. If you are denied, be sure you proceed with filing the required appeals to continue trying to get disability benefits. You should also consider hiring a disability attorney or advocate to help you with the appeals process.
Article by Ram Meyyappan
Social Security Disability Help
If you would like to be a guest blogger on this site, please contact me at langecarrie (at) gmail (dot) com. Guest posts must relate to suicide prevention, grief support, mental health, or in some way be pertinent to the content of this blog. Thank you!