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How To Get Social Security Disability Benefits For Depression

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Medical Vocational Allowance For Depression

Can I receive Social Security Disability Benefits for Depression?

The standard of proof for getting disability benefits for depression is high, and some people may not meet the standard but still are unable to work. If that happens you can still be eligible for disability benefits under the Medical Vocational Allowance. To qualify this way you need to download the Residual Functional Capacity evaluation form from the SSA website. Your doctor or psychologist needs to fill out this form and provide detailed information about your illness and the limitations you have as a result of that illness.

Then, the SSA will look at the RFC evaluation and your work history, the skills you have, and the limitations caused by your illness. They will try to find some type of work that you can do with the skills and limitations that you have. If they cant find any kind of work that you can do then you will be eligible to receive Social Security disability benefits.;

What Happens After My Depression C&p Exam

To view a copy of the exam after, you can request a copy from the regional VA office or by running a new bluebutton report from My HealtheVet

The VA does not provide copies of the exams to you unless they are specifically requested.

It is always a good idea to do a follow-up and get the information, so you can look at it yourself and see what was provided to the VA.;

What happens if the C&P exam does not show that the veteran has depression, or that the depression is not shown to be as severe as you believe for it to be?

In those cases, the veteran will need to provide evidence that counters what was written in the exam.

Many different types of evidence could suffice, but the more you have, the better off your chances of receiving a VA disability rating. You could include additional medical evidence, lay evidence, and other arguments that are in your favor.

Also Check: Where Is The Disability Resource Center Located

You May Qualify For Legal Assistance

Filing your disability for depression claim through a Social Security attorney doubles your chances for approval on your first try. Since these lawyers always work on contingency, you pay $0 for legal assistance if you dont win benefits. The SSA approves 1 in 5 first-time applicants for benefits, on average , and most of them have legal assistance . If you apply on your own, youll likely wait almost two years to receive your first disability for depression payment.

You can sign up for a free phone call from a lawyer whos available to answer your claim questions today. This means youll get free legal advice over the phone without ever leaving your house. Youre not obligated to do anything else or have that lawyer file your disability for depression claim. But if that lawyer does help you win benefits, then youll only pay a small, one-time fee.

Ready to see if you may qualify? Click the button below to start your free online benefits evaluation now!

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Length And Levels Of Depression

Your depression or bipolar disorder must have lasted or be expected to last for at least a year, and must be at a level at which you would be unable to perform a job on a consistent and regular basis. The SSA does not require that you be depressed every day of the month, but you must show your depressive symptoms occur frequently enough to prevent you from working.

Quite often, your medical treatment records for a particular visit will say that you are “feeling better” or that your depression has “improved.” The SSA might use these records as a reason to deny you disability benefits. If your medical records include such notes, you can explain at a hearing before an administrative law judge whether you have good days and bad days with your disorder, and how often each occurs.

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.

Read Also: How Much Does Disability Pay For Bipolar

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.

Mental Residual Functional Capacity

As stated above, qualifying for disability benefits with depression alone is very difficult and quite unlikely. However if you believe your depression is severe enough to still qualify, your best chances for approval is to have your doctor fill out a mental residual functional capacity form. This form describes what tasks you are capable of in a work environment such as your ability to:

  • Communicate properly
  • Focus and retain attention
  • perform tasks in a timely manner

The mental RFC is important because it tells the SSA why your condition prevents you from performing unskilled work from a doctors perspective. If your doctor finds you are capable of unskilled work while filling out a mental RFC, your condition of depression will most likely not qualify for disability benefits by itself.

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Special Problems In Depression And Anxiety Cases

Depression and anxiety present special problems in a Social Security case. As noted above, a significant percentage of Social Security claimants allege depression or anxiety and both adjudicators and judges are very hesitant to find that a claimant meets a listing unless language in the medical record specifically mirrors the language of the listing. ;This is especially true in 2018 as Social Security decision makers are under a great deal of pressure from Congress to reduce the number of approvals. Social Security judges are less likely to approve younger claimants unless the treatment records contain evidence of in-patient hospitalizations, suicide attempts and multiple unsuccessful work attempts. ; Younger claimants with invisible illnesses are seeing approval rates decline.

**Here is what I look for when evaluating a depression disability case**

Depression and anxiety symptoms may change over time, especially as you try different medications. Therefore, it is extremely important that you provide your doctor with an accurate and complete list of symptoms and their side effects.

You can help your case and your lawyer by keeping copies of all the forms and applications you completed for Social Security. If you have, in fact, developed new symptoms, your representative can update your file early enough so that any consultative exams can be scheduled well in advance of your hearing thus reducing any more delay.

Is Depression A Mental Disability

Social Security Disability for Depression? Do I Qualify?

Depression and learning disability. Depression is a common mental disorder that causes people to experience depressed mood, loss of interest or pleasure, feelings of guilt or low self-worth, disturbed sleep or appetite, low energy, and poor concentration. Depression is different from feeling down or unhappy.

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Dallas Attorneys Assisting With Disability Benefits For Those With Major Depressive Disorder

Mental health issues can be debilitating, but they are not always outwardly obvious. Fortunately, both medical authorities and the general public have become more aware of how mental illnesses can affect people. This means that those who struggle with these conditions are more likely to be considered disabled. Major depressive disorder, which is usually referred to simply as “depression,” is one of the most common mental illnesses, and it can significantly affect a person’s ability to maintain employment. Because of this, those who struggle with depression may qualify for Social Security disability benefits.

While the likelihood that a person will be able to receive disability based on depression and other mental illnesses has increased over the past few decades, it can sometimes be difficult to prove that these issues have met the requirements to be considered a disability. To ensure success when applying for disability benefits, those who suffer from depression will need the assistance of a skilled and experienced lawyer. The Law Offices of Coats & Todd can provide legal help in these cases, and with over 60 combined years of experience, we know how to demonstrate that a person qualifies for Social Security disability benefits.

What If I Joined The Military With Depression Can I Still File A Va Disability Claim For It

What happens when youve been living with depression even before you joined the military?

It is possible to file a VA claim for depression, however there must be a stressor in the military that shows that the depression was made worse.

This is known as aggravation of a pre-service disability condition.

To qualify, you will need to have a

  • A current diagnosis that is provided by a VA medical professional, such as a doctor, psychologist, or psychiatrist.
  • Evidence of an incident that occurred while they were in the service that caused the depression to get worse.
  • Medical evidence of a link between the event and the depression getting worse.

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Using Social Securitys Special Language

I approach depression and anxiety cases by studying your medical record, then creating a checklist form that tracks most of your symptoms. These forms also include the specific functional limitations set forth in the judges handbook used by your Social Security Judge. Experienced representatives should know which vocational factors carry the most weight with Judges in a particular hearing office.

For example, a limitation that describes interference with concentration such that you would not be able to understand and carry out complex job instructions is not particularly limiting, since many jobs exist that only require you to understand and carry out simple job instructions.

On the other hand a limitation that says you would be unable to perform jobs requiring interaction with the public or that you would have difficulty interacting with co-workers or supervisors is extremely significant since there are very few jobs that would permit you to work alone and unsupervised.

Qualifying Outside Of The Depression Listing

Depression and Qualifying for Social Security Disability ...

Meeting the requirements of the depression listing, above, isn’t the only way to receive an approval for disability. If Social Security finds that your depression isn’t severe enough to meet the listing above, it will determine if you can be approved by being granted a “medical-vocational allowance.” Social Security will consider how your depression symptoms affect your ability to do any type of unskilled work, by looking at your ability to:

  • carry out simple instructions

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An Attorney Can Help You Through The Process

Anxiety and depression can make even the smallest task feel insurmountable. If you or a loved one is suffering from mental health conditions that prevent you from working, contact a social security disability attorney at Hawks Quindel for help completing an application, filing an appeal, or making your best case at a hearing. We work on a contingent basis, meaning you do not pay us unless we help you win financial benefits.

Am I Eligible For Social Security Disability

Because depression affects every person differently, it’s important to know that the Social Security Administration only will consider you to be eligible for SSD benefits if it hinders your ability to work and make a living.

The Social Security Administration has certain criteria that determine whether a person is eligible to receive SSD benefits. Your depression must:

  • Prevent you from working full-time
  • Have lasted, or is expected to last, for at least one year
  • Be life-threatening

If you meet the criteria, you can submit an application to the Social Security Administration. Keep in mind, the claims process is complex and confusing. They will review your medical records for:

It’s critical that you see your doctor regularly and follow your prescribed treatment plan. Without doing so, you likely will not qualify for SSD benefits.

Also, the Social Security Administration will check to see if you paid into the Social Security system within the past five years. If you haven’t worked enough or recently enough to qualify for SSD benefits, you may qualify for Supplemental Security Income .

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Is Your Condition Severe

Your condition must significantly limit your ability to do basic work-related activities, such as lifting, standing, walking, sitting, or remembering for at least 12 months. If it does not, we will find that you are not disabled.

If your condition does interfere with basic work-related activities, we go to Step 3.

Do You Have 5+ Qualifying Depression Symptoms

Social Security Disability Benefits for Depression

You must submit medical evidence showing you have at least five of these depression symptoms:

  • Your mood is generally depressed
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Little to no interest in activities you once enjoyed
  • Weight gain or loss because youre never hungry or overeating
  • Feeling like you have less energy
  • People who know you well say you move slower than you did before or act agitated, almost like youre angry
  • Trouble focusing on or completing your usual work, home, school or social activities/tasks
  • Feeling worthless or guilty for no good reason
  • Thinking about death often or having suicidal thoughts

Ask your therapist, psychiatrist, psychologist or primary care physician for complete medical records that relate to your depression, including:

  • Your diagnosis date
  • Current prescription medications, including dosage, frequency and side effects
  • Treatment notes showing how your doctor manages your depression symptoms
  • Any tests your doctor used to rule out other health issues, including bloodwork for hormone or thyroid disorders

Also Check: How To Appeal A Va Disability Claim

How To Apply For Disability Based On Depression

If you’re applying for Social Security disability insurance , you can file your whole claim online on Social Security’s website. Applying online is generally the fastest way to apply for benefits, but you can fill out the application at your own speed. Most individuals filing for SSI only can’t file the entire application online, but they can get started on Social Security’s website. If you’re not comfortable online, you can call Social Security at 800-772-1213 to start your claim. For more information, see our article on applying for Social Security disability benefits.

If you’d like help with your application, or you just can’t get started, think about working with an SSDI expert. According to a survey of our readers, applicants who filed an initial application without expert help were denied 80% of the time. Click for a free case evaluation with a legal professional to determine whether your depression is severe enough to qualify for benefits.

What Is Mental Rfc

Describes the work youre able to perform even with the limitations your mental illness places on you.

After your application, RFC evaluates your mental capabilities and the activities required to perform. The following criteria are used.

  • Intellectual functioning
  • Social functioning

You will now be categorized under the labels: markedly limited and moderately limited. Insufficient evidence is also an option.

The SSAs satisfaction is essential; otherwise, it will be difficult getting anything from your disability. SAA works on the following areas;

  • Understanding and Memory

Your level of understanding and making correct decisions is assessed by SSDI, who are interested in the severity of your condition based on your capability of following instructions, remembering, and executing simple tasks. If you can follow through with simple instructions, you are marked limited and can perform unskilled labor. On the other hand, you can be marked as a misfit if your condition is affecting your memory and ability to understand simple instructions.

  • Social Interactions

How well you can focus on interests and activities is also important in determining your mental RFC. The SSA calls this concentration, persistence, and pace related to your ability to pay attention and concentrate long enough to complete everyday work or tasks.

  • Adaptation

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Approval Rates For Mood And Anxiety Disorders On Appeal

If youâve received an initial denial letter because you didnât meet Social Securityâs medical criteria, thatâs no reason to give up. If you request a hearing before an administrative law judge , the likelihood of receiving benefits goes up dramatically. Government statistics from 2007-2015 show that nearly six in ten applicants who listed mood or anxiety disorders as their primary impairment were approved after a hearing.

Several factors contribute to the better outlook at hearings. For one thing, it takes a long time to get to a hearing. While the wait can be frustrating, it can help you build stronger evidence. This is particularly critical with mood and anxiety disorders. If you can show that your mental condition has continued to be severe and to keep you from working, a judge is more likely to be convinced that youâre eligible for disability benefits, and that your condition isnât short-term.

Our survey points to another important reason for the higher approval rate at hearings: More applicants enlist the help of a lawyer at this stage in the process. Nearly three-quarters of all readers who went to a hearing were represented by an attorney, compared to 30% at the initial application stage. And applicants with lawyers had a much greater chance of winning disability benefits .

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