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Do Clinically Depressed People Qualify for Social Security Disability Benefits?

By Matthew Golitko on June 05, 2015

A clinically depressed man sitting on the porch of his house, concerned about whether he qualifies for social security disability benefitsIf you or someone you love suffers from clinical depression, you know how debilitating the condition truly is. What you may not realize, however, is that people whose depression renders them unable to work may be eligible to collect social security disability benefits. In order to qualify for benefits, individuals must meet certain criteria, and even then getting your claim approved can be difficult. Many claims are denied, even those that are perfectly legitimate and, on their faces, strong. This is where the experienced workers’ compensation attorneys of Golitko & Daly can come into play.

Social security disability applicants who are represented by qualified attorneys at their appeal hearings statistically fare much better than those who present their appeals without legal representation. Our attorneys can make sure that you present the strongest case possible, including all relevant paperwork and medical documentation demonstrating that you meet the criteria for debilitating clinical depression. As experts in handling cases involving social security disability and depression, our Indianapolis attorneys have the resources, skill, and record of success to ensure that your rights are respected and that justice is properly served.

Criteria for Qualifying for Social Security Disability Benefits

As stated above, in order to qualify for social security disability benefits for clinical depression, an applicant must meet certain criteria. Most people go through periods of depression in their lives, especially when met with tragic events such as the loss of loved ones, long illnesses, and financial problems. In most of these cases, the depression eventually subsides. Clinical depression is a chronic condition that is evidenced by supportive statements from medical professionals and documentation over time, usually years.

For a disability claim on the grounds of clinical depression to be considered, the applicant must be experiencing four of the following:

  • Complete loss of interest in nearly all activities
  • Dramatic weight gain or loss
  • Change in sleeping habits
  • Loss of energy
  • Mental restlessness or sluggishness
  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Paranoia, delusions, or hallucinations
  • Inability to think clearly or concentrate

The presence of at least four of these traits must result in at least two of the following consequences:

  • Restrict the applicant’s ability to perform his or her daily activities
  • Make it extremely difficult for him or her to function socially
  • Make it extremely difficult for him or her to maintain concentration, persistence, or pace
  • Cause her to experience repeated, extended worsening of symptoms

As an alternative to meeting the above-listed criteria, an applicant may also present documented evidence of clinical depression lasting at least two years, during which his or her ability to work was moderately to severely limited, and he or she received medical or psychosocial support. He or she must also have experienced one of the following:

  • Repeated, extended worsening of symptoms
  • A “residual disease process” that has made it predictable that even a small increase in responsibility or change in the applicant’s environment would cause a worsening of symptoms
  • A current history of a year or longer of the applicant’s inability to function outside of a “highly supportive living arrangement” that must be continued

If you or someone you love has been denied disability benefits despite meeting either the first or second set of criteria, our attorneys can make sure that your appeal is as strong and unimpeachable as possible. We will fight for the benefits you deserve.

Learn More about Social Security Disability and Depression

For an evaluation of your social security disability claim, please contact Golitko & Daly today.

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