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How To Win Disability Hearing For Depression

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How Do You Prove You Cannot Work Due To Depression

How to Testify Effectively in a Depression Social Security Disability Hearing

Anyone who has suffered clinical depression understands that it can ruin your career and relationships alike. However, you should never assume the insurance company will understand how your individual symptoms impact you and your job. To increase your chances of claim approval, you must explain why each of your symptoms prevents you from performing your job duties.

For example, during a depressive episode, you be unable to get out of bed due to your severely depressed mood and fatigue forcing you to call in sick. You may be preoccupied with your debilitating symptoms and unable to focus, concentrate, or pay attention during an important meeting or telephone call with your biggest client. Or your lack of interests, low energy and feelings of hopelessness may make routine tasks seem overly stressful or cause you to procrastinate and miss a strict deadline.

There are many ways depression symptoms can impair your ability to work. These need to be explicitly outlined in your evidence when submitting your claim.

What Are The Three Types Of Depression Which Are Eligible For Ssdi

Psychiatrists will classify the severity of the depression as mild, moderate, or severe forms. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorder is among the bodies determining the qualification for the benefits. Either way, the states of depression that are eligible for the SSDI are only three and are dependent on your productivity at work, the capability to attend school, and how you interact with others. The disorders are

1. Major Depressive Disorder This form of depression occurs when you are experiencing persistent sadness for prolonged periods occasionally. Normal episodes of sadness are normally a part of being human, but the mood changes are severe when you suffer from a major depressive disorder.

This conditions trigger may occur following life events like the death of a loved one, divorce, or diagnosis of a chronic illness. Clinical depression will have led to a significant deterioration of your moods and behavior, affecting your social life, work, or school. Studies done in 2017 show that about 7% of adults in the U.S have experienced an MDD episode. Some individuals never seek out professional help, but most do. They learn how to overcome, function, and heal from the disorder.

Talk to an expert physician at Mango Clinic for mental health issues or click the banner below to book your appointment.

Treatment can be by the use of antidepressants and psychotherapy. To improve symptoms:

Residual Functional Capacity For Depression

If you cannot show that you meet the listing for depression, you may still qualify for benefits if the Administrative Judge finds that your residual functional capacity prevents you from working. To determine your residual functional capacity, the Administrative Law Judge will look at all of your impairmentsmental and physicaland determine what sort of work you may be able to do.

Oftentimes, people suffering from depression also have physical problems, such as chronic pain, or other chronic illnesses also make it difficult to do physical work. With depression, a persons ability to concentrate and stay on task during the workday is often affected. Moreover, people suffering from serious depression are likely to miss work due to lack of motivation or medical appointments. If the Administrative Law Judge finds that youre going to be having unexcused absences or be off task while at work due to mental illness, they may find you disabled for these reasons as well.

Please be aware that it is very difficult to win Social Security Disability benefits for depression unless youre treating providers are very supportive and write specific statements on your behalf supporting your disability claim. Having a supportive treating family physician, psychiatrist, or psychologist is very important for these types of claims.

The following are some of the clinics in West Michigan we find to be most helpful in supporting Social Security Disability Claims for mental illness:

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What Are The Disabling Symptoms Of Depression

Clinical depression is marked by pervasive feelings of sadness, despair, and loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed. It is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain.

The way depression manifests may differ from case to case, but the most common underlying symptoms include:

  • Pervasive feelings of sadness and worthlessness
  • Fatigue and loss of energy
  • Inability to concentrate or focus
  • Slowed speech and physical movements
  • Unusual sleep patterns
  • Loss of interest or enjoyment in all activities
  • Loss of appetite and/or significant change in body weight and
  • Suicidal thoughts.

Any of these symptoms, if presenting severely and frequently enough, can be disabling.

Though it may be obvious to you why you can no longer work with depression, your insurance company will require details of all your symptoms and the ways in which they specifically impair your ability to perform your job duties.

Remember that depression presents differently in each person. To fairly evaluate your long term disability claim for depression, your insurer must understand how your condition personally affects your functioning.

Social Security’s Alternative Listing For Depression

Social Security Disability and Depression

Social Security provides another way to meet the listing for depression for those who can’t show they currently have the functional limitations above because they’ve been living in a highly structured or protected situation or undergoing intense therapy.

If you are in this situation, you may be able to meet a second set of functional criteria. You can do this if your disorder has been medically documented as serious and persistent over a period of at least two years and you have either been living in a highly structured setting or you’ve been receiving ongoing medical treatment, mental health therapy, or psychosocial support that diminishes the symptoms of your mental disorder. You must also show that you have little ability to adapt to demands that are not already part of your daily life or to changes in your environment.

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Getting Your Doctor’s Support

Make sure that you have your treating physician prepare a mental residual functional capacity form on your behalf. A mental RFC is a detailed report that discusses how your anxiety and depression affect your pain thresholds and your ability to do certain job functions. Your attorney will use the mental RFC to create hypothetical questions designed to counter the VE’s testimony.

Although any doctor can prepare a mental RFC for you, the SSA will give more weight to a doctor who specializes in treating mental illness. Therefore, you should make sure to seek the help of a psychiatrist or psychologist in the treatment of your anxiety or depression.

Social Security Should Grant Disability Benefits For Depression Or Bipolar Disorder To Those Who Have The Symptoms And Limitations Listed In Its Listing For Depression Or Bipolar Disorder

By Bethany K. Laurence, Attorney

Depression is a common complaint made by individuals trying to obtain Social Security Disability Insurance benefits or Supplemental Security Income disability benefits. Depression can cause symptoms of poor concentration, low energy, problems sleeping, and suicidal thoughts. If you have bipolar disorder , you may have depression mixed with periods of manic behavior with rapid speech.

To receive disability benefits, you will need to show proof of more than just a diagnosis of depression or bipolar disorder. You will need to present evidence that your depression or bipolar disorder is so severe that you are unable to work or function well. According to Social Security statistics, about two-thirds of applicants who apply for disability on the basis of major clinical depression or bipolar disorder end up getting approved .

Following is a list of important issues the Social Security Administration will consider when evaluating your claim, and tips for how you can increase your chances of obtaining benefits.

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Get Appropriate Treatment For Depression

When evaluating your depression long term disability claim, the insurance company will want to see youre receiving appropriate treatment. Even if your claim is approved, they will still require proof of ongoing treatment for your condition.

The insurance company can easily use non-compliance and lack of appropriate care as a reason to deny or terminate your depression long term disability claim.

To demonstrate appropriate treatment, your treatment team should include specialists such as a psychiatrist and/or psychologist. Treatment options may include:

Again, it is important to follow your doctors recommendation. Your insurance company will want to see you are in treatment and doing everything in your power to improve your symptoms.

What Is Social Security Disability

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Social Security is a federal government program that provides financial benefits to people who are in need. It is funded by federal taxes, and its benefits are paid out to people who are eligible for retirement, have low income, or are unable to work because of specific health conditions.

There are two types of Social Security programs that help people who are disabled:

There are a number of different impairments that qualify for Social Security disability. They include medical conditions like cardiovascular, respiratory, and endocrine disorders, as well as mental health conditions like schizophrenia, autism spectrum disorder, bipolar disorder, and depression.

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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.

Are Your Medical Records Sufficient

In many mental health cases, you will see handwritten notes from either a primary care physician, a psychologist or a psychiatrist. The good new about this is that many patients with depression have a consistent history of regular visits to a mental health professional, as well as a solid professional relationship with that professional.

A common problem with mental health treatment records, however, relates to the fact that claimants often change providers because of insurance changes, financial problems or because of an apparent lack of progress.

You should be aware that depression is a fairly common mental health condition and the work activity limitations arising from depression or anxiety can range greatly. Social Security decision makers will look for some very specific things in your medical record. There are basically three ways to win a depression or anxiety case:

  • you can meet the listing for depression as set forth at 12.00
  • you can prove that your functional capacity for work been so diminished by your mental health condition that you would not be able to reliably perform any kind of job even an unskilled, low pressure type of job?
  • your mental health condition in combination with other medical problems leave you unable to reliably perform any kind of job
  • Lets review each way you can win a depression or anxiety case:

    Remember three important points about the medical listings in mental health cases:

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    Employment And Disability Rights For Depression

    Many people worry about losing their jobs because of depression. As a general rule, employers can fire anyone as long as they give proper notice and dont do it for a discriminatory reason.

    However, most employers wont fire workers who need sick leaves. Under Canadas human rights laws, employers have a duty to help employees with medical conditions that affect their work. Allowing sick leave is a reasonable accommodation that employers should give.

    To take a sick leave, youll need to provide a doctors note. It should confirm that you cant work and need the leave. Youll need to bring these notes often every three to six months to confirm that you still cant work.

    If your application gets denied, you can stay on sick leave while you appeal. Most employers wont mind, as long as you have a doctors note.

    If your employer attempts to fire you while youre on sick leave, then you may have legal rights to severance pay. You might even be able to get the termination overturned if it was done because of your condition. However, these situations are complicated. You should always get legal advice.

    To learn more, read our page on disability and employment rights.

    Comply With Prescribed Medical Treatment

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    Social security law provides that a claim can be denied if the claimant fails to follow prescribed medical treatment. This is particularly important in mental illness disability claims because treatments for depression such as talk therapy, counseling, medications and even Deep Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation are effective in at least lessening the severity of depression symptoms.

    Medications such as SSRIs remain the primary therapy mode for mental disorders. Medications can be expensive and often have unpleasant side effects. Many of the newer medications take some time before showing any benefits, and depressed patients must often try several medications before finding those that are effective. Since depressed patients are by the nature of their disease prone to easy discouragement, these claimants often given up when medications are not initially effective or have side effects. Because we now have many different psychotropic medications for the treatment of depression with new medications coming online , an administrative law judge will view your abandonment of medicine therapy in a negative light.

    Put simply: if you do not follow your psychiatrists advice, the ALJ deciding your case will wonder whether you would be able to work if you just followed doctors orders.

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    What Can I Expect At A Hearing

    The third stage of a disability claim is a hearing in front of an Administrative Law Judge. Unlike a typical hearing in court, this is a private and confidential proceeding, there is no opposing attorney, no rules of evidence, and no witnesses. Claimants can expect to find a Judge, a court monitor, and likely a Vocational Expert. The Judge will swear you in, ask about your work history, your medical treatment, and your daily life.

    After the hearing, most claimants can expect to get a decision in the mail within two weeks to six months.

    When Will I Find Out Whether The Judge Approved Or Denied My Case

    Judges typically do not tell claimants whether the case is approved or denied on the day of the hearing. Your decision will arrive via mail roughly one to two months after the hearing. There are limited circumstances in which the date of a disability hearing can be sped up. However, wait times are fortunately dropping due to Covid-19 for claimants willing to testify via telephone call our office today to discuss whether these limited exceptions apply to your case and to discuss the option of agreeing to a telephone hearing.

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    Ways Depression Can Qualify For Disability Benefits

    Many Americans struggle with depression, anxiety, or another mental health issue on a daily basis. When that struggle becomes intense enough to affect your ability to carry out day-to-day work duties, you may be eligible for disability benefits through the Social Security Administration. While its not a given, there are some cases where the SSA recognizes depression as a severe enough affective disorder to award benefits. If you think you might qualify, keep reading. Well walk you through how the SSA will determine whether depression qualifies for disability benefits.


  • 3.1 Related
  • You Can Do This: Work Incentives Made All The Difference

    Winning VA Disability for Depression | Everything You Need to Know

    After receiving benefits counseling, Lori worked with Paula at Employment Options on a new resumé. They created an Individual Work Plan a list of tasks and goals that would help her find a job. Loris IWP focused on jobs that would allow her to work from home, that would be engaging and challenging, and that would enable her to earn a regular, steady income.

    I knew I had the potential to do something and Paula kept telling me you can do this. I just needed a little help making it happen.

    Employment Options told Lori about Social Security rules called Work Incentives. Work Incentives make it easier for adults with disabilities to explore work while still receiving Medicaid or Medicare and some cash benefits from Social Security. Because Lori received SSDI benefits, she would be able to test her ability to work during a nine-month Trial Work Period , while still getting cash benefits.

    After Loris TWP ended, a 36-month Extended Period of Eligibility would begin. During the EPE, most people with a disabling impairment can receive cash benefits for all months in which they earn less than the Substantial Gainful Activity level for that year. Lori was relieved and felt less anxious when she realized that when she found a job, she would not suddenly lose her Medicare and cash benefits. She would have time to decide if and how full-time employment would work for her.

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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 âdepression,â is one of the most common mental illnesses, and it can significantly affect a personâs 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.

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