Will a new diagnosis of depression help on a disability appeal after being denied on the initial disability application?

Since filing my initial request for disability I have been diagnosed with Depression. I just received my initial denial today. On my appeal, will it help me with this new diagnosis of Depression? The doctor prescribed me medication for the depression. My initial request was with back arthritis with bone spurs, high blood pressure, carpal tunnel, osteoarthritis in my knees. I am currently only able to work 15 hours a week and I feel very depressed, in pain, and on several medications for this problem. Any help would greatly appreciated.

Re: "On my appeal, will it help me with this new diagnosis of Depression?"

It may. An approval for disability benefits under SSD or SSI (the programs are identical with regard to how medical eligibility is determined and disability examiners and judges alike make no distinction between the two, i.e. the same rule and procedures for making decisions apply) will be made after determining:

A) whether a person has a listing-level impairment (the "listings", or "blue book" is essentially a list of physical and mental impairments for which there is specific approval criteria) or

B) the individual has sufficient functional limitations as a result of their various imapirments so as to rule otu the ability to return to their past work, or perform some type of other work.

Obviously, the more conditions a person has, the more potential limitations they may have. Also, mental limitations can effectively rule out certain types of job-related capabilities and functions.

When a person alleges depression on their claim for disability, there is always the possibility that they may be approved on the basis of meeting the listing for this listing (12.04 Affective disorders: Characterized by a disturbance of mood, accompanied by a full or partial manic or depressive syndrome. Mood refers to a prolonged emotion that colors the whole psychic life; it generally involves either depression or elation).

However, even if this listing is not met, the additional limitations posed by depression can effectively push an otherwise unwinnable claim into a medical vocational allowance, a type of approval that evaluates a person's education, age, work history and job skills, and, as we noted, functional limitations.

And, in fact, the majority of people who list depression on their disability claim are not approved via a listing but, rather, through this process. Which is why it is very important to provide detailed information regarding your work history for the 15 year period prior to filing your claim, in addition to providing information about your medical treatment. Note: this page What does social security mean by past work? provides more on the 15 year "relevant period".

Good luck on your appeal and claim.

About the Author: Tim Moore is a former Social Security Disability Examiner in North Carolina, has been interviewed by the NY Times and the LA Times on the disability system, and is an Accredited Disability Representative (ADR) in North Carolina. For assistance on a disability application or Appeal in NC, click here.

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