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Overview of Disability

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Mental Disability Benefits

Denials for Disability

Appeals for denied claims

Disability Benefits from SSA

SSI Benefits

Child Disability Benefits

Qualifications and How to Qualify

Working and Disability

Disability Awards and Notices

Disability Lawyers, Hiring Attorneys

Social Security List of Conditions

What Social Security considers disabling

Medical Evidence and Disability

Filing for Disability Benefits

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Facts about Major Depressive Disorder (Depression) and Filing for Disability




 
These selected pages answer some of the most basic, but also some of the most important, questions for individuals who are considering filing a claim for disability benefits.



Facts about the condition

1. Major depressive disorder is a serious illness that can affect a personís health, relationships, work life, and school life.

2. Those with major depressive disorder, also known unipolar disorder, major depression and clinical depression, have a very low mood that affects their ability to function in life. They lose interest in once pleasurable activities, and feel worthless, hopeless, guilty, and helpless.

3. Many people with major depressive disorder withdraw from society, experience insomnia, have a reduced sex drive, and have thoughts of suicide or death.

4. Major depressive disorder affects women more often than men. That being said, anyone can have major depressive disorder: women, men, children, and teenagers of any age or race.

5. The cause of major depressive disorder is not known, though it is thought that it is caused by imbalanced chemicals in the brain. The imbalance is thought to be hereditary, or brought on my stressful or traumatic events in oneís life, or a combination of both.

6. Psychotherapy and antidepressants are the most common treatments for major depressive disorders. Types of antidepressants most commonly prescribed are SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors), SNRIs (serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors, NDRIs (norepinephrine and dopamine reuptake inhibitors), atypical antidepressants, MAOIs (monoamine oxidase inhibitors), and tricyclic antidepressants.

7. In some cases, anti-anxiety or antipsychotic medications, as well as mood stabilizing medications or stimulants, depending upon the patient and their needs.

8. Lifestyle changes can help improve quality of life, but cannot cure major depressive disorder; it is important to seek medical advice. Getting plenty of sleep each night, avoiding drugs and alcohol, getting daily exercise, and sticking to psychotherapy treatments and medications, can help relieve symptoms.

9. It is believed that some alternative medicines can help relieve symptoms of major depressive disorder, such as SAMe or St. Johnís Wort, though it is important to let your doctor know if you are trying alternative medicines. There can be dangerous interactions between medications and herbal or dietary supplements.


Qualifying for disability benefits with this condition

Whether or not you qualify for disability and, as a result, are approved for disability benefits will depend entirely on the information obtained from your medical records.

This includes whatever statements and treatment notes that may have been obtained from your treating physician (a doctor who has a history of treating your condition and is, therefore, qualified to comment as to your condition and prognosis). It also includes discharge summaries from hospital stays, reports of imaging studies (such as xrays, MRIs, and CT scans) and lab panels (i.e. bloodwork) as well as reports from physical therapy.

In many disability claims, it may also include the results of a report issued by an independent physician who examines you at the request of the Social Security Administration.



Qualifying for SSD or SSI benefits will also depend on the information obtained from your vocational, or work, history if you are an adult, or academic records if you are a minor-age child. In the case of adults, your work history information will allow a disability examiner (examiners make decisions at the initial claim and reconsideration appeal levels, but not at the hearing level where a judges decides the outcome of the case) to A) classify your past work, B) determine the physical and mental demands of your past work, C) decide if you can go back to a past job, and D) whether or not you have the ability to switch to some type of other work.

The important thing to keep in mind is that the social security administration does not award benefits based on simply having a condition, but, instead, will base an approval or denial on the extent to which a condition causes functional limitations. Functional limitations can be great enough to make work activity not possible (or, for a child, make it impossible to engage in age-appropriate activities).



Why are so many disability cases lost at the disability application and reconsideration appeal levels?

There are several reasons but here are just two:

1) Social Security makes no attempt to obtain a statement from a claimant's treating physician. By contrast, at the hearing level, a claimant's disability attorney or disability representative will generally obtain and present this type of statement to a judge.

Note: it is not enough for a doctor to simply state that their patient is disabled. To satisy Social Security's requirements, the physician must list in what ways and to what extent the individual is functionally limited. For this reason, many representatives and attorneys request that the physician fill out and sign a specialized medical source statement that captures the correct information. Solid Supporting statements from physicians easily make the difference between winning or losing a disability case at the hearing level.

2) Prior to the hearing level, a claimant will not have the opportunity to explain how their condition limits them, nor will their attorney or representative have the opportunity to make a presentation based on the evidence of the case. This is because at the initial levels of the disability system, a disability examiner decides the case without meeting the claimant. The examiner may contact the claimant to gather information on activities of daily living and with regard to medical treatment or past jobs, but usually nothing more. At the hearing level, however, presenting an argument for approval based on medical evidence that has been obtained and submitted is exactly what happens.















Return to:  Social Security Disability Resource Center, or read answers to Questions





























Related Body System Impairments:

Medical Documentation when you apply for disability with depression
Can I Qualify For Disability and Receive Benefits based on Depression?
Should I List My Past Depression Medications on My Social Security Disability or SSI Application?
How do you apply for disability if you have depression?
Is it hard to qualify for Social Security benefits if you have depression?
Can disability be awarded for depression for a time until I am fully recovered?
Depression, Social Security Disability, and Applying for Benefits
Dysthymia and Filing for Disability
Major Depressive Disorder (Depression) and Filing for Disability



Information on the following topics can be found here: Social Security Disability Questions and in these subsections:

Frequently asked questions about getting Denied for Disability Benefits | FAQ on Disability Claim Representation | Info about Social Security Disability Approvals and Being Approved | FAQ on Social Security Disability SSI decisions | The SSD SSI Decision Process and what gets taken into consideration | Disability hearings before Judges | Medical exams for disability claims | Applying for Disability in various states | Selecting and hiring Disability Lawyers | Applying for Disability in North Carolina | Recent articles and answers to questions about SSD and SSI


These pages answer some of the most basic questions for individuals who are considering filing a claim.

How to Apply for Disability - What medical conditions can you apply and qualify for?
How long does it take to be approved for SSI or Social Security disability?
What happens if I file a disability application and it is denied by a disability examiner or Judge?
How do you prove your disability case if you have a mental condition or impairment?
Social Security Disability Back pay and How Long it Takes to Qualify for it and receive it