Q: My Depression Makes It Impossible To Work But Social Security Wont Approve Me For Benefits What Can I Do
You struggle with suicidal thoughts and feelings of worthlessness on a daily basis as part of your depression. Youre on medication and see a therapist regularly, but you just cant seem to manage this disease.
Your disorder makes working impossible. You arent able to handle changes in routine well, and you just cant seem to get along with any of your coworkers. Youve applied for Social Security disability benefits, but were turned down.
Now you are out of a job and have no way of getting any income.
Social Security Has A List Of Criteria You Must Fulfill To Qualify For Disability Benefits For Depression
By Bethany K. Laurence, Attorney
Depression can be so disruptive to a person’s life that it interferes with everyday life and makes it impossible to work. If your depression is so severe, even with antidepressive medication, that you can’t work any type of job, you may be able to qualify for Social Security disability benefits. Your condition will have to be well documented as well as severely debilitatingit must affect your ability to function socially, concentrate, and/or manage the tasks of daily living. And you must have been diagnosed with depression that is persistent , even though you may not be continuously depressed .
To qualify for disability benefits for depression, your condition must be severe enough to meet requirements the Social Security Administration has set out in its impairment listing on depressive disorders OR it must interfere with your functioning to such an extent that the SSA agrees that there are no jobs that you can do.
The Ssas Disability Programs
Disability benefits are available through two separate programs:
Each program requires you meet medical eligibility rules as well as program-specific technical and/or financial requirements:
- For SSDI, you must have a work history during which you paid Social Security taxes and accumulated work credits. Most adults who worked even part-time before their depression affected their job will qualify for SSDI benefits.
- For SSI, you must have limited income and other financial resources and assets. There is no work requirement for SSI, but an adult cannot have more than $2,000 saved in resources to qualify for SSI.
Each program pays a monthly cash benefit and offers eligibility for medical coverage through Medicare or Medicaid as well.
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Qualifying For Disability Benefits For Depression
The Social Security Administrations Blue Book outlines the various symptoms that qualify individuals to receive disability benefits. It outlines three sets of qualifications. The first of these requires medical documentation of at least five of the following symptoms:
- Depressed mood
- Feelings of guilt or worthlessness
- Difficulty concentrating or thinking
- Thoughts of death or suicide
Additionally, the depression must be shown to be either extremely limiting to mental functioning OR serious and persistent.
To qualify as extremely limiting, the depression must interfere with information processing, interacting with others, concentration, or managing oneself. Two or more of these areas must be affected.
For depression to be considered serious and persistent, the disorder must persist for at least two years. You must also show evidence of ongoing treatment AND an inability to adapt to changes.
Disability Lawyers Serving Pennsylvania
If youre living with severe anxiety or depression in Pennsylvania, you may be a good candidate for monthly SSI or SSDI benefits. To set up a free and private legal consultation with an experienced disability benefits lawyer, call Young, Marr & Associates at 701-6519 in Pennsylvania right away.
DISABILITY RESOURCE CENTER
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Symptoms Of Ptsd Include:
- Intrusive thoughts: flashbacks, distress when exposed to symbols of the trauma, recurrent and involuntary memories, nightmares.
- Avoidance of stimuli associated with the event: avoiding the place where the event occurred, avoiding thoughts and feelings associated with the event.
- A significant mood change experienced after the event: detachment from others, blaming oneself for what happened, persistent negative emotional state, decreased interest in significant activities.
- A shift in reactivity associated with the event: increased irritability, hypervigilance, sleep disturbance, exaggerated startle response, problems with memory or concentration.
In order to meet the criteria for a PTSD diagnosis, you must experience symptoms from all of the above categories for more than one month. The above symptoms must also cause a significant disturbance or impairment in social, occupational, or other areas of daily functioning. Individuals with PTSD are also often diagnosed with other mental health conditions, such as anxiety and depression.
Comparing Ltd And Social Security Disability Claims Based On Mental Illness
Receiving LTD benefits for bipolar or depression is just as difficult, if not more so, than receiving Social Security disability benefits. The major difference is that Social Security does not put any time limitation on the receipt of benefits for mental illnesses; if you are approved, your SSDI benefits won’t be cut off after two years, although you may be subject to Continuing Disability Reviews. In general, your chances of receiving LTD or SSDI based solely on a mental illness are roughly similar, but your LTD insurer is much more likely to terminate your disability benefits after you’ve been approved. Find out more about LTD benefits and SSDI benefits.
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Rule 1# Returning To Work Along With Ssdi Benefits:
If you return to work while receiving the SSID benefits, SSA will consider your case as engaging in substantial gainful activities, but there is only one exception given; the trial work period. This trial period allows a person to return to work without losing the benefits of SSDI. According to this exception, you can work up to 9 months despite how much you can earn.;
Provide Evidence From Your Doctor
When determining whether your depression is disabling, your insurance company will likely also want the opinions of your treating doctor.;Your doctors support is key. Your doctors reports should focus on:
- The frequency and severity of your symptoms;
- Any positive mental status exam findings;
- Their direct observations of you during office visits; and
- The specific restrictions and limitations that prevent you from working.
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What Are The Top 10 Disabilities
Between 2006 and 2015, only about one-third of Social Security Disability Insurance applicants were approved for disability benefits. During the initial application stage, only about one-fourth of applicants were approved. The remainder had to go through a reconsideration or appeals process in order to receive benefits.
The top 10 most common disabilities that were approved for coverage include:
Do I Qualify For Social Security Disability
You can receive benefits for a disability like depression through SSDI or SSI, but only through SSI if you dont qualify for SSDI because you havent paid into Social Security, dont have enough work credits , and/or made below a certain amount of money. SSI is only for disabled people who have limited income.
In order to qualify for Social Security disability benefits through SSDI, you must meet the following criteria:
You are unable to work or earn less than $1,260 a month
You have a qualifying disability that is considered severe
You have been unable to do your previous job for at least one year due to your disability
You cannot hold another job based on your age, education, work history, and skills because of your disability
To earn work credits, you must have held a job in the past where you paid into Social Security. The number of Social Security work credits that you earn are based on your annual wages. The amount of income required to earn a work credit changes from year to year, but you can earn a maximum of 4 credits per year. The number of work credits required to qualify for SSDI varies based on the age at which you became disabled.;
If youre unsure if you qualify for SSDI, you can learn more online or by calling the Social Security Administration at . Social Security representatives are available to answer the phones Monday to Friday between 8:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.;
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Do You Meet The Criteria For Social Security Benefits
A sleep disorder can be characterized by periods of wakefulness or oversleeping. A depressed person may have serious issues sleeping or over-sleeping, which in turn can lead to a general functional limitation and other health issues. Suicidal thoughts can plague a person suffering from the mental illness of depression. These can range from vague ideations to actual plans that present a sizable risk factor to those suffering from severe depression.
Depressed mood is a term signifying the overall emotional state of a depressed person. This ongoing and disabling depression may present itself as a negative outlook or feelings of sadness. It is normal for life changes to bring on a depressive episode, but depressive symptoms going on longer than 14 days may indicate clinical depression that needs treatment.
Diminished interest in personal activities is another sign of a depressive disorder. A loss of investment in your work or business, a lack of interest connecting to family members or friends, or failure to find engagement in once meaningful hobbies can all be signs of depression. Functional limitations due to your depression might include the psychomotor agitation of nervous motions like pacing or wringing hands. Depression can indeed manifest as a physical disability such as slowed reaction time or inability reminiscent of a learning disability, such as the inability to follow directions or retain information.
Social Security Benefits For Depression
Depression takes its toll on all aspects of life, including the ability to perform well on the job. The disease can affect sleep, interpersonal communications, concentration, and physical health as well. Although many people with depression are able to continue working, severe depression may stop you from earning a gainful living or from holding a job at all. If this is true for you, then you may be able to qualify for benefits through the Social Security Administration .
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Can You Go On Disability For Depression
It is possible to go on disability for depression, but an individual with this disorder must meet certain criteria to be eligible to receive benefits. The specific criteria are listed in Social Securityâs listing manual. In some cases, applicants may be granted disability on the basis of a medical-vocational allowance if the depressive symptoms are severe and other factors are present in the applicantâs work history, age, and level of education.
Depression is listed as Social Securityâs impairment listing 12.04, Depressive, Bipolar, and Related. To qualify for Social Security disability benefits for depression, you must demonstrate that you have a severe form of the disease by manifesting at least five of the following symptoms:
â Depressed mood
â Diminished interest in all or almost all activities
â Poor appetite or overeating that results in a demonstrable change in weight
â Sleep disturbances
â Inability to concentrate or think clearly
â Feelings of guilt or worthlessness
â Thoughts of suicide or death
â Slow physical movement or reaction time
â Slowed speech and physical agitation such as hand wringing or pacing
Additionally, you must meet certain functional criteria that show that your ability to work has been impaired as a result of the depressive disorder. An extreme or âmarkedâ limitation in two of the following areas is necessary to receive disability benefits for depression:
How Do You Apply For Disability In Ny
There are two ways to apply for disability benefits in New York. You can either apply online at or you can apply in person at a local Social Security office. Schedule an appointment by calling 1-800-772-1213 between 7:00 AM and 7:00 PM Monday through Friday or show up at the office without an appointment. To apply for disability online, you have to meet the conditions listed below:
â The applicant must be 18 years of age or older.
â The applicant must not be able to work due to an unexpected medical condition that will likely last for at least 12 months or result in death.
â The applicant must not be currently receiving benefits through their own Social Security record.
â The applicant must not have been denied benefits for a disability within the preceding 60 days.
If the application was denied recently, there is an Internet Appeal application that the applicant can use to request a review of the denial determination that was made.
Once an applicant has applied for disability, they can then apply for Supplemental Security Income online if certain requirements are met. An applicant is eligible to file for SSI if they meet the following requirements:
â The applicant must be between the ages of 18 and 65 years.
â The applicant should not have ever been married.
â The applicant must not be blind.
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The Social Security Administration Recognizes Your Condition As Disabling
Eligibility for social security disability benefits requires either that the disability lasts, or is expected to last, 12 months or longer, or will result in your death. This means that disability benefits are paid only for long-term disability; short-term disability does not qualify.
The Social Security Administration;Blue Book;lists more than 100 medical conditions the SSA considers disabling. Each condition has specific criteria applicants must meet, through medical evidence, to prove their disability. Being able to meet these criteria doesnt guarantee that the SSA will rule that you are disabled enough to receive disability benefits. Some people can meet a listings criteria from a medical standpoint yet, either through workplace accommodations, treatment, or an ability to adapt to or work through any pain, still be able to work. But meeting the criteria for a specific listing increases your chances of approval.
After You Apply For Benefits
After you submit your application, your state’s disability determination services agency will assign your claim to a claims examiner for review. If your examiner doesn’t find enough evidence of your medical condition in your medical records, you may be required to attend an interview or undergo a “consultative mental exam” with an SSA-approved psychiatrist or psychologist to verify your condition. The process can take several months, but the more evidence and medical documentation you are able to provide, the better your chances of being able to get your claim approved.
If you receive a denial letter and feel your case is strong enough to win an appeal, consider contacting a disability lawyer. Applicants who go to an appeal hearing represented by a lawyer have a better approval rate than applicants who represent themselves.
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Schmidt Kramer Can Help
At Schmidt Kramer, we understand how disappointing and frustrating it is when you are denied the Social Security benefits you believe you deserve. Instead of getting mad, hire an attorney. Doing so will likely provide a better outcome.
Contact us today through our website chat feature, our online form, or by giving us a call at . Speak to one of our experienced attorneys about your situation and find out if we can help.
How Depression Can Be Disabling
Many people suffer from depression associated with emotionally painful situations , but for the most part these periods of depression will be situational and short lived. However, if a person has an episode of depression with severe daily symptoms that last for two weeks or longer, their condition may be considered to be major clinical depression. Major clinical depression interferes with a persons ability to cope with daily stresses and obligations, often rendering an individual unable to function effectively in their everyday life, including work and family activities.
What causes depression? There seem to be biological and genetic factors, as well as environmental factors. Individuals can be predisposed to depression and the condition is sometimes seen among several members within a family. Stress and other environmental factors are also linked to depression.
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Medical Qualifying With A Mental Illness
The SSA conducts a detailed review of your medical records to determine your eligibility for benefits. During this review, they try to match your records to a disability listing in the Blue Book. The Blue Book is the SSAs medical guide that is used to evaluate every disability application.
Disability listings outline the severity level requirements and the specific medical evidence needed to support a claim for benefits. Mental illnesses appear in Section 12.00 and include:
- 12.06, Anxiety-related Disorders you may qualify under this listing if you have a severe phobia, post-traumatic stress, a panic disorder, or another anxiety-related condition.
- 12.08, Personality Disorders this is the listing under which you may qualify if you have severe, clinical depression.
- 12.04, Affective Disorders if you have bipolar disorder, your application will be reviewed under this listing.
Extensive medical records are necessary to qualify, including:
- Information on your diagnosis, ideally from a psychiatrist or psychologist
- Brain scans or other evidence of physical abnormalities that document an organic cause for symptoms, if applicable
- Treatment records, documenting medications, therapy, and other management methods used and their effects
- Thoroughly documented episodes of increased symptoms or periods of decompensation
- Well documented affects of your symptoms on your everyday abilities or activities of daily living