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5 Things You Need to Know About Depression and Social Security Disability

Posted on in Social Security Disability Medical Conditions

depression, Chicago Social Security Disability LawyerWe have discussed how major depressive disorder may qualify a person for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits. If you suffer from depression or any related mental disorder, you might still have a number of questions. Here are five things you should know about depression and disability benefits:

1. Depression Is a Serious Medical Condition

People often dismiss depression as “having the blues.” It is certainly not uncommon for people to feel depressed following a traumatic event, such as the death of a family member or the loss of a job. But when the symptoms of depression persist for several weeks and increase in their severity—the person has repeated thoughts of suicide, for example—that may be evidence of major depressive disorder.

2. Seek Treatment and Document Depression

Social Security will not simply take a person’s word that he or she suffers from depression. In any disability case, it is essential to provide evidence from your treating physician. Social Security will need to see a statement that not only includes a diagnosis of major depressive disorder, but a detailed explanation of how you are “functionally limited” in your daily activities as a result.

3. Depression May Not Be an Isolated Disorder

Major depressive disorder can be triggered or exacerbated by other physical impairments. It is not uncommon for a person suffering from a long-term medical condition to experience depression. Social Security must consider the cumulative effects of all of your disorders in assessing your disability claim.

4. Depression and Its Impact on Social Functioning

Even with a diagnosis of major depressive disorder, Social Security will still need to see evidence that a person’s mental disability prevents them from functioning in a workplace environment. For example, depression often affects a person’s ability to concentrate or focus, which can render them incapable of working even an entry-level job. Even if a person is receiving treatment for depression—such as receiving therapy or taking anti-depressants—their condition may still render them unable to work, as a job may disrupt their routine and recovery.

5. Expect Social Security to Say “No” the First Time

Social Security officials often reject an initial claim for disability benefits. This does not mean you should stop pursuing your claim. Social Security’s decisions are often reversed by federal courts. Sadly, the courts in Illinois have routinely criticized Social Security for failing to even offer reasons for denying claims based on disability or related mental disorders.

Just recently, an Illinois federal magistrate ordered Social Security to reconsider the disability claim of a woman suffering from major depressive disorder. The magistrate said Social Security’s administrative law judge “never mentioned” the applicant’s depression diagnosis in his opinion denying benefits. Indeed, the ALJ’s analysis contained “no facts” whatsoever, according to the magistrate.

Cases like these illustrate the importance of working with an experienced Chicago Social Security Disability attorney. A Chicago disability benefits lawyer understands how the system works and can help you fight the Social Security Administration’s initial efforts to dismiss your claim. Contact Pearson Disability Law, LLC, if you need to speak with a disability lawyer today.



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