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Depression and Disability

Have you ever felt down, gloomy, or depressed? Most people have. Like most people, you probably bounced back to your “old” self in a few days. However, some people struggle with these feelings constantly. People diagnosed with clinical depression oftentimes lose their enthusiasm for life. They lose all interest in hobbies, interacting with people, or even leaving the home. It is no surprise that someone suffering from clinical depression would have difficulty working a full-time position 8 hours a day 5 days a week. After all, it is difficult to get out of bed let alone shower, get dressed and leave the house. Those who suffer from severe clinical depression may qualify for disability benefits.

Condition and Symptoms:

Depression is a mood disorder that negatively affects the way you think, feel, and act. Depression causes feelings of sadness and loss of interest in activities that you previously enjoyed doing. Contrary to what some might think, this condition is not something an individual can simply “snap out of.” Depression is a serious medical illness. It is estimated that 19 million adults suffer from major depression in the United States. Common symptoms of depression include sadness, guilt, irritability, loss of energy, loss of interest, lack of sleep, and loss of appetite. Usually, depression is treated with counseling and medications.

How Depression is evaluated by Disability:

Social Security evaluates depression the same way it evaluates any physical condition, through a five-step process. The first step considers whether you are working full-time earning over SGA. If you are not working then you move on to step 2 which evaluates the severity of the condition. Your diagnosed depression must be deemed severe to pass step 2. Severity is based on having more than a minimal impact on your ability to work. This threshold is relatively low. Step 3 considers whether you meet one of SSA’s Listed impairments. Depression is evaluated under Listing 12.00. It considers your symptoms, your ability to perform ADLs, to maintain social function, and to maintain attention and concentration among other factors. If you do not meet a prescribed listing at Step 3 then the next step would be to determine your ability to perform your past relevant work. Past relevant work consists of the jobs you have performed in the past 15 years. If you are unable to do your past work then SSA considers at step 5 your ability to do any other type of work in the national economy.

Obtaining disability benefits based on clinical depression can be difficult. Not only because Social Security’s rules can be confusing and overwhelming but because depression is a difficult thing to prove. You need to have the appropriate medical treatment documenting the severity of your condition to prove the disability. If you are considering applying for disability benefits I recommend you call an experienced disability attorney. At the LaBovick Law Group we make sure you receive the representation you deserve so that you have the best shot possible of obtaining these benefits. Call us at (561) 623-3681 for a free evaluation.

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