If you are seeking disability benefits, our Columbia Social Security disability attorneys will explain that depression is considered the leading cause of disability for medical conditions that are considered non-fatal. Depression, in its many forms, is a mood disorder that can cause a person to feel gloomy, inadequate, or have an overwhelming sense of hopelessness. It can also cause fatigue and physical discomfort. Many people suffering from depression also experience an inability to concentrate or get along with others.
The Causes Of Depression
Medical experts believe that depression can be caused by genetic, biological, or environmental factors, or a combination of any of these three. Depression tends to run in families, occur more often at certain ages, and can be brought on by difficult situations in everyday life. Most people will suffer periods of depression. Events that take place in our lives, as your Columbia disability attorney will explain, can cause depression, such as the loss of a loved one or a divorce. However, these depressive episodes are short-lived and usually only associated with the event itself. If these symptoms continue for an extended period of time, clinical depression may be the reason. Most doctors agree that daily symptoms of depression occurring for more than two weeks straight is a sign of a depressive disorder that may require treatment.
Depression and Disability Benefits
Your Columbia disability attorney will explain that there is certain criterion that must be met for the Social Security Administration (SSA) to grant disability payments. This applies to all types of disabilities, not just depression. The SSA has established this criteria list in an effort to quickly process disability payments to those with severe disabilities. Your Columbia Social Security disability attorneys will explain that depression is classified as an Affective Disorder under listing 12.04 of their disability guide. To qualify for benefits under this disorder, the person in question must be suffering from four or more of the following symptoms:
- Inability to enjoy everyday functions or activities
- Overeating or undereating
- Loss of energy or stamina
- Inability to sleep (insomnia) or continually oversleeping
- Difficulty concentrating on anything
- Lack of physical movement
- Feelings that they are worthless or feeling guilt-ridden
- Hallucinations, delusions, or paranoia
- Suicidal thoughts or actions
In addition to this requirement, the SSA also requires that the depression:
- Affects your activities of daily living
- Inhibits social functioning
- Causes inability to focus on any one thought or task
- Has repeated periods of symptoms or worsening symptoms
If you have suffered from depression for over two years, your Columbia disability attorney will inform you, and you have been managing it with medications and therapy, you still may be able to claim disability benefits under the depression category. If a change to your routine, such as returning to work, will interrupt your treatment or cause you to relapse into a severe depression, you may qualify for benefits under the SSA listing.
Qualifying for Benefits When You Do Not Meet the Listing Criteria
I you do not meet the listing criteria for disability benefits for depression, you are not automatically declined. The most common way to be approved for these benefits is through a medical-vocational allowance (MVA). To determine if you qualify for the MVA, the SSA will evaluate your depression symptoms and determine how it affects your ability in an unskilled job position. Points they will look for include:
- Your ability to carry out simple instructions
- Your ability to make simple decisions in regard to work
- Your ability to interact and respond with management and coworkers
- Your ability to handle any changes in your work routine
It should be noted that if you are trying to qualify for disability benefits under the MVA listing without a physical disability, you will have a harder time qualifying for benefits. This does not mean that it is impossible, just harder. If you are denied benefits, you have the right to seek an appeal with the SSA. When you receive your denial letter you will be given a short period of time to file an appeal. This appeal will be brought before an Administrative Law Judge who will review the facts of your case. Their decision is the final word on your case.
SPEAK TO OUR COLUMBIA SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY ATTORNEYS TODAY ABOUT YOUR CASE
Filing for Social Security disability benefits can be a very long and complicated process. The SSA has admitted that the program is designed this way to encourage non-serious applicants from applying for benefits. However, even those who are suffering from a disability are often denied benefits on their first try due to a technicality. According to the SSA, over 70 percent of initial applications are denied. This may be due to incomplete applications, missing medical records, missed deadlines, or the inability to meet a disability listing. Thankfully, a majority of these applications are granted benefits during the appeals process. If you need to apply for disability benefits, or you have recently been denied benefits, you may benefit from speaking to a Social Security disability attorney about your case. The Bridgman Law Offices will review your case during a free consultation and inform you of your next steps in qualifying for disability benefits. Stop worrying about your case and call 888.632.9912 and schedule a free consultation with our Columbia Social Security disability attorneys today.