January 26, 2010

Obtaining Social Security Disability Benefits for Depression


girl_on_stairs.JPGDoes major depression keep you from getting and/or keeping a job?
Many Indiana residents find themselves receiving a denial letter from the Social Security Administration (SSA) when attempting to receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. Indianapolis Social Security Disability Attorney Scott Lewis has found that, at the hearing level, Social Security judges (also known as Administrative Law Judges) are looking for particular things before they will grant a favorable decision on such claims.

One of the first questions that a claimant may want to ask themselves is “Can I do a simple unskilled job, or do my depression symptoms keep me from doing this type of work?” If your depression prevents you from doing even simple unskilled jobs, you may be eligible for disability payments. In reality, it is not quite that easy because the SSA is going to want detailed medical information documenting your condition.

The best scenario to win your Social Security disability claim would be an ongoing relationship with a qualified health care provider. At the law office of Scott D. Lewis, Attorney at Law, LLC, Lawyer Scott Lewis finds that a psychiatrist or psychologist is usually the most helpful in these types of claims. If the health care providers have detailed descriptions of how your depression affects you in everyday life and prevents you from carrying out normal activities of daily living, this can greatly enhance your chances of receiving SSDI or SSI benefits.

One of the ways a claimant may win a Social Security disability case for depression is to meet the SSA’s Listing of Impairment, 12.04 Affective Disorders. This listing deals with depression. Just a few items that the SSA may look for may include:

  • Sleep disturbance
  • Psychomotor agitation or retardation
  • Anhedonia or pervasive loss of interest in almost all activities
  • Hallucinations, delusions, or paranoid thinking
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Concentration/thinking difficulty
  • Decrease in energy

Another way of possibly winning a disability claim for depression may be proving that you have functional limitations that prevent you from working.  For example, you cannot be relied upon to perform a job when you have too many unexcused absences from your job due to depression or if you are taking unscheduled breaks at work to deal with your depression.  At the hearing level, many job or Vocational Experts (VE) will agree that a person with such limitations cannot perform jobs in the economy.

Finally, a claimant may find that they can receive a favorable outcome when the depression combined with other impairments prevents them from performing substantial gainful activity (SGA).  While the claimants depression may not raise to the level of severity as described in the listing of impairments, if combined with other disabilities, the SSA may consider you disabled.

In summary, Indiana Attorney Scott D. Lewis encourages his clients with depression to have a good relationship with their health care providers and fully describe how depression affects them so that their condition can be treated and clearly identified.  Contact Scott Lewis at (317) 423-8888 for a free consultation regarding your Social Security disability claim.

Filed under:Qualifying Disabilities and Impairments
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