Several types of disabilities qualify for benefits through the Social Security program and some of these conditions are mental. Depression is one of the most common mental illnesses, affecting an estimated one in ten adults in this country, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Depression sufferers should understand when their conditions qualify them for Social Security benefits and how to apply.
Common symptoms of depression include low energy, inability to concentrate, difficulty sleeping, and suicidal thoughts. Individuals suffering from bipolar disorder alternate between episodes of manic and depressive thoughts and actions. A diagnosis of depression is not enough to qualify for Social Security benefits. The individual must suffer from severe depression that makes it impossible to work.
The Social Security Administration (SSA) refers to a disability listing for Affective Disorders when deciding whether to approve benefits for individuals suffering from depression. Included on the list of documents to review are notes from mental status evaluations, psychiatric or psychological testing, hospital reports, and treatment notes from a physician, psychologist, or psychiatrist. A disability lawyer can help an individual determine what information to submit to the case examiner.
Individuals who suffer from depression but do not meet the official disability listing may still qualify for benefits. The SSA will assess the residual functional capacity, or RFC, of the individual. An RFC details what the individual can do and explains how depression prevents the individual from performing certain job tasks. Type and degree of mobility, communication and interpersonal skills, and reliability level are noted in an RFC. If the results indicate that the individual cannot successfully perform any occupations, benefits will likely be granted.
It can be difficult to qualify for Social Security benefits due to depression because this is one of the Social Security disability injuries that manifests itself in different ways and is not always obvious. Individuals dependent on drugs or alcohol who also suffer from depression may have trouble proving that their symptoms stem from depression rather than substance use. Getting assistance from a disability lawyer is recommended because this legal expert knows how to present the facts in an effective way.
Depression sufferers often feel alone and hopeless. They should realize that disability attorneys are strong advocates in the fight to receive Social Security benefits. Depression can be extremely debilitating, preventing a person from working in any occupation, and individuals suffering from it at that level should exercise their rights to compensation.