Depression

Depression is commonly cited as a reason for applying for social security disability insurance (SSDI) benefits. While suffering from depression is not always considered to be a disability, some severe and chronic forms of depression can qualify a person for benefits. This is especially true if the sufferer experiences extreme fatigue or exhaustion as a result of their condition.

Many people will suffer from depression over the course of their lifetime, but most people do not experience chronic depression. Triggers for episodes of depression can include stress and traumatic experiences, but some people experience long-term emotional disorders without having a specific trigger.

Major depression that is diagnosed by a mental health professional can severely limit a person’s ability to complete job tasks. The sadness, hopelessness and lack of energy associated with depression may be so severe that a person is unable to care for themselves. While cases of depression that are severe enough to make it unable for a person to work are rare, it is possible for a sufferer to be considered disabled if they have a chronic, severe case of depression.

Getting Disability for Depression

There are disability listings related to depression that can help a person who suffers from the disorder qualify for SSDI benefits. Depression is a condition that is addressed by the Social Security Administration (SSA), but a person must have severe depression in order for this listing to apply. Severe depression is defined as having four or more of the symptoms listed below.

– No interest in activities that were once enjoyable

– A marked decrease in energy level

– Changes in appetite that result in eating too little or overeating

– Trouble with sleeping, including insomnia or sleeping too much

– Concentration problems

– A tendency to stay sedentary

– Guiltiness or feelings of hopelessness

– Paranoia or hallucinations

– Thoughts of suicide

The symptoms listed above must be severe enough to impair a person’s ability to lead a normal life. The SSA requires that these symptoms significantly affect activities of daily living or interfere with social interactions. A person can also qualify for benefits if their depression makes it difficult to focus or gets progressively worse.

People who have taken time off of work because of their depression may qualify for disability even if their condition is improving with treatment. Individuals who fall into this category would need to prove that going back to work would cause a recurrence of debilitating symptoms of depression in order to be eligible for SSDI benefits.

Failing to meet the requirements set forth in the SSA listing does not necessarily disqualify a person for benefits. An applicant who does not meet these requirements will need to ask for a medical-vocational allowance in order to receive SSDI benefits. The SSA will evaluate an individual’s ability to follow directions, make decisions related to work tasks, interact with coworkers and supervisors in a work environment and cope with any changes that may occur in the workplace.

Getting Help with Filing

Applying for SSDI benefits is particularly difficult when the reason for filing is based on an emotional disability. It is not always easy to explain the severity of symptoms to the SSA, and many people who apply for benefits are denied after the initial application. I have ten years of experience in social security cases and appeals, and am ready to fight for your benefits. Contact me today to get started on your case.

Ruth F. Kolb, Esquire has been practicing social security disability law since 2003 handling all levels of representation from initial claims through all stages of appeal.