Archive for November, 2013

Nov 2013

Qualifying for Disability Benefits When You Are Depressed

Massachusetts attorneysThe Social Security Disability system is designed to protect people who cannot work because they suffer from an illness, injury or impairment.  Anyone who has a long-term condition that impacts him in such a way that work is impossible should qualify for SSD benefits. This includes people with mental illnesses.

Unfortunately, an experienced Social Security lawyer in Fall River knows that qualifying for disability benefits can be very difficult, especially on the basis of a mental health condition.  The Social Security Administration (SSA) has a very strict definition of what it means to be disabled, and the SSA also reviews applications very thoroughly to help ensure that no fraudulent benefits claims are approved. This can result in many people with legitimate claims not receiving benefits, especially with mental health conditions that may be harder to diagnose and that may not provide patients with objective proof of their impairments.

One type of disability that many people experience is depression. Those who are severely depressed and who cannot hold down a job as a result should be entitled to receive either Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Unfortunately, many depressed individuals have their benefits claims denied.

Depression and Social Security Disability

Concerns about depressed patients being denied SSD benefits are very pertinent because depression has become a leading cause of disability. According to a recent article from Fox News, research has now revealed that depression is the “second leading cause of the global disability burden.” The research comes from a new study conducted by the Queensland Center for Mental Health, which is part of the University of Queensland in Australia.

This Australian study revealed not only that depression is common, but also that it can affect individuals of any age. In fact, signs of depression have even been identified in kids who are just three years old.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has also taken steps to measure the global burdens of depression. According to the WHO, about four percent of the world’s population – or 350 million people -are depressed. Individuals in Central and Southern Asia, Central America and Afghanistan have some of the highest rates of depression.

For patients in the United States who are depressed and who cannot work as a result, it is important to understand the SSA’s requirements for obtaining disability benefits. The SSA lists different disabling conditions that can qualify an applicant for benefits on a Listing of Impairments, which is also called The Blue Book.  Depression among adults is addressed in section 12.04 of Part A (Adult Impairments).

According to the relevant section, an individual who is depressed may be eligible to receive SSDI or SSI benefits provided:

  • The depression causes disinterest in activities, a lack of energy, and problems concentrating, sleeping or eating.
  • The depression makes it difficult to perform routine activities of daily living (ADL).
  • The depression interferes with normal social function.
  • Decompensation occurs (repeated, lengthy periods where your symptoms get worse).

You will need clear medical proof that you meet the relevant criteria in order to qualify for disability benefits based on depression.

Social Security lawyers in Fall River can help if you are applying for disability benefits. Contact the Law Offices of Deborah G. Kohl at (508) 677-4900 for a free case consultation