Florida Disability Attorney — Depression and Social Security Disability

Depression affects the lives of many people. Scripps Research Institute reported that 16.5% of Americans struggle with at least one depression episode in their lifetimes. Business Wire also reported that one in two Americans struggle with depression on a day-to-day basis.  Depression is defined as a type of mood disorder characterized by gloom, sadness, and feelings of hopelessness and inadequacy. Most people already know that depression is accompanied by tiredness and a general loss of energy. What most people don’t know is that if your depression reaches an extent that the Social Security Administration sees appropriate, you may qualify for Social Security disability benefits.

There is a specific criterion that can be found in the Social Security’s impairment listing manual which outlines what needs to be found in each specific case of depression in order for an individual to qualify for Social Security benefits. When the SSA evaluates your claim for benefits, they’ll look to see whether you have at least four of the following symptoms:

  • Anhedonia or pervasive loss of interest in almost all activities
  • Appetite disturbance with change in weight
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Psychomotor agitation or retardation
  • Decreased energy
  • Feelings of guilt or worthlessness
  • Difficulty concentrating or thinking
  • Thoughts of suicide
  • Hallucinations, delusions, or paranoid thinking

The SSA will also look at how your depression affects your daily activities. You may be asked to make lists of daily activities, and your family and friends may be asked to submit letters describing how depression affects you.

Social Security will also need your medical records from all places from which you have sought help for your condition. Psychiatrists, doctors, psychologists, nutritionists, and other medical professionals may be consulted to make the determination on whether or not your depression is severe enough for Social Security benefits.

Social Security may request you attend a mental status examination if your medical records do not provide enough information about your depression. The SSA pays for this examination, and all other examinations they request for you to have. 

Once Social Security gathers all the necessary documentation, your case will be reviewed. At this time, you may receive a phone call from Social Security asking for more information about your condition. A Psychiatric Review Technique Form that evaluates your depression’s severity will be completed, as well as the Mental Residual Functional Capacity Form that covers the degree to which your ability to perform work-related functions is impaired. More information about depression can be found on Social Security’s website at:

http://www.socialsecurity.gov/disability/professionals/bluebook/12.00-MentalDisorders-Adult.htm

 Liebenhaut Law handles Social Security cases in and around the Tallahassee area. If you have any questions concerning Social Security benefits, SSDI cases, how your depression may qualify you for benefits, or any other concerns, please do not hesitate to call our office at (850) 270-6977.

By: Matt Liebenhaut