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Social Security Disability


Depression can often contribute to a person’s claim for disability benefits. Depression is almost always associated, at least in some measure, with a disability claim simply because the claimant has suffered a dramatic change in their life. If people cannot physically or mentally do what they used to do this results in conflicts with spouses, children or family members.

People who have depression are often reluctant to admit that they have depression or that they have any mental issues. Most commonly people will react to a suggestion of mental health treatment by saying “I’m not crazy, I just can’t work. If you could fix my condition, I could work.”

Surprisingly, the Social Security Regulations, in particular, a specific group of Regulations called the “Listing of Impairments” do not deal with depression.

Whether depression by name (but usually evaluate it as an “Affective Disorder”) is a basis for Social Security Disability is usually evaluated in concert with other psychiatric problems such as an Organic Mental Disorder, a Psychiatric, Paranoid or Psychotic problem or a variety of mental problems.

The most common “catch all” in the Social Security system for people with depression is normally what is termed, from a psychiatric perspective, “Affective Disorder.”

The insidious problem with depression is it can be progressive. It is natural for a person who suffers from a disability that seriously affects their ability to be gainfully employed, whether it is physical or mental in nature, to become depressed as their situation with their condition can be prolonged into weeks, months and years. Sometimes depression takes on a life of its own and increases in severity as time goes on.

Probably one of the most common depressive conditions is Agoraphobia, in which the person withdraws, is afraid to be around people or crowds, avoids leaving their house, or in some cases, even their room. People with profound depressive disorders often become insensitive to personal appearance and refuse to bathe regularly in advanced stages.

When developing a claim around a depressive disorder, first we must show it exists by obtaining competent and clear evidence from a mental health professional. For Social Security Disability purposes, the statutory definition of an acceptable medical source for a mental condition is either a Psychiatrist or a Psychologist. This means counselors, Nurse Practitioners and the like are specifically excluded, by Social Security, from being considered an appropriate medical source. What this means is simply going to a counselor is not going to usually be enough to have a successful disability claim for your depressive disorder or for that matter, any other mental illness.

At Drummond Disability, we urge our clients to treat aggressively with a Psychiatrist or Psychologist in addition to the more routine counselors or Nurse Practitioners. Counseling notes and notes from a Nurse Practitioner can be helpful to show a continuation of treatment and to get a longitudinal history of problems, however, they are not acceptable by the Social Security Administration in diagnosing the mental condition itself. In order for the Social Security Administration to find a person is disabled due to depression it is almost always necessary that it be determined that the affects of the depressive disorder must either be “marked” or “extreme” either in the activities of daily living, in maintaining social functioning or maintaining concentration, persistence or pace.

For our assistance with your Social Security Disability (SSD) and/or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) claim, please CALL Drummond Disability TODAY at 800-842-0426.

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