Depression Treatment Essential When Filing for Disability Benefits

by Editorial Board on November 23, 2010 · 0 comments

in Treatment & Compliance,Mental Conditions

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Every year millions of Americans are affected by depression. This debilitating mental illness can have a devastating effect. Some people lose their jobs, their families and even their lives.

Applying for Disability Benefits Due to Depression

For some people depression is a manageable illness. With counseling, and in some cases medication, they are able to stay on top of their condition and live relatively normal lives. For others a normal life may be impossible. Many people with depression find themselves severely limited in their ability to function, with some unable to even get out of bed in the morning.

You may be eligible to receive both Social Security Disability and or SSI benefits if you are deemed to be suffering from depression at a severe enough level to keep you from working full time. Social Security will need to evaluate the severity of your depression and whether it prevents you from functioning in your normal life. They will analyze your medical records that relate to your depression. This could include notes from doctors, counselors, psychologists or psychiatrists, any stays in the hospital, or any other related treatment.

If Social Security is not able to make a decision based on your medical records, they will send you to a doctor that they pay for to get a mental status examination (MSE). This often occurs because the records that doctors and other health professionals keepusually  don’t contain a full psychological evaluation.  The MSE will include questions about how you feel about your own mental health, memory tests, judgment and concentration testing.


Staying in Treatment While Applying for Disability

To win benefits, a record of ongoing treatment lasting a substantial amount of time is very helpful. This shows that the applicant has battled the illness in treatment, that they have been unsuccessful in decreasing symptoms, and also that the illness shows little sign of improving in the future.

Doctors’ visits, sessions with psychologists and psychiatrists, hospital stays as an inpatient are all  part of being in treatment. Most claims for benefits which are based on a mental health disorder will end up at a Social Security hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ).  The ALJ has the authority to weigh the evidence from many sources, and decide whose opinion on your condition is controlling.  If you are claiming disability benefits for a mental illness such as depression, staying in treatment with a psychiatrist or psychologist and being compliant with taking your medication, is integral to your success.

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