Depression as the basis to obtain social security disability benefits

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The Social Security Administration considers depression as an affective disorder characterized by a disturbance of mood with full or partial manic or depressive symptoms. In this case, mood means a prolonged emotion that affects your whole mental and emotional life.

Most social security disability claimants with severe depression will have difficulty with their daily activities and with working. Severely depressed people may find it hard to make or keep friends, to be around other people, to tolerate crowds and/or stress, to concentrate and to focus or finish a job. This obviously intereferes with a person's ability to work in many cases.

Most people with a social security disability claim are depressed. It is understable that when someone is affected by a severe illness and can no longer work or take of themselves and their family, the person might become depressed. If a person does claim that depression prevents them from working, the social security administration will consider how severe the depression is and how it keeps the person from working or keeping up with his/her daily activities.

Some common examples of medical evidence that the social security adminsitration considers in evaluating the medical evidence is whether the claimant suffers from:

Loss of interest in all activities, appetite disturbance with a change in weight, sleep disturbances, decreased activity, feelings of guilt or worthlessness, hyperactivity, pressure of speech, high risk activities, hallucinations and other possible symptoms.

To show disability, a claimant has to prove through the medical evidence that the symptoms are so severe as to result in at least two of the following:

1. Marked restriction of activities of daily living;

2. Marked difficulty in maintaining social functioning;

3. Marked difficulty in maintaining concentration, persistance or pace;

4. Repeated episodes of decompensation, each of an extended duration.

Although a social security disability hearing judge will listen to you about your illness and the problems it causes you, you will need medical records from a mental health professional to prove your case. This might be a psychiatrist or psychologist but it also can be your primary care physician or some other medical professional that provides care for your mental health issues. An experienced social security disablility attorney can help you get these records and organize them for review by the judge hearing your case.

If a claimant is not seeing a psychologist or psychiatrist when they first come to my office for consultation, I will usually suggest that the person get mental health treatment from a qualified professional. It helps the case of course, but almost always helps the claimant understand their situation and can provide a pathway to improved mental health or at least better coping with lifelong symptoms.

Depression that comes from things happening in your life that are basically beyond your control such as other illness, financial hardship, family problems and other sources is known as reactive stress. Reactive stress is the normal human reaction to situations that cause stress, but in people with other severe illness, the reactive stress itself can become disabling.The reactive stress can also become disabling due to lack of treatment or simply existing over a long period of time and causing the victim of the stress to deteriorate and become worse and worse.

Depression is a valid reason to claim social security disability benefits. The proper presentation of your case and medical history is essential to obtaining benefits.

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