Filing for Disability with depression in Illinois

It is often the case that applicants who apply for disability benefits in Illinois do not have the best medical record profile. What do I mean by this? Simply the following:A) not having recent medical records; B) not having extensively developed medical records, C) not having a history of treatment for a particular physical or mental impairment.

For item A, this is often the result of not having access to medical treatment, due to a lack of health insurance coverage, and an inability to pay for treatment out-of-pocket. Regarding item B, this may be the result of deficient documentation, such as a physician who poorly documents a patient's treatment. Item C, however, often applies to individuals who file for disability based on depression, or file for disability on the basis of a number of conditions, one of which is depression.

As a disability examiner for the social security administration, I saw both types of applications. On applications for which depression was listed as a single or primary allegation, there was sometimes very little history of treatment, or a history of treatment that was either A) very short-lived and in the past or B) only recently begun. In cases involving a disability application for which depression was listed in a secondary sense, there was, very often, almost no history of treatment aside from a prescription being filled by a general practitioner.

As I said in an earlier post, a claimant's medical records are crucial and central, as they form the basis for every approval of a disability case, and, likewise, every disability denial. However, the specificity of one's medical treatment (and the medical records that are derived from such treatment) is important as well.

What do I mean by this? Simply that if you have depression, are being treated for depression, and are listing depression as an impairment on a disability application, you need to be in the position of presenting records from a psychiatrist to fully enhance your case. This may be conceptually problematic for some individuals who believe that they require nothing more than the prescriptions that are routinely filled by their treating physician, or who are averse to establishing a relationship with a qualified mental health professional. However, for a disability claim based on depression, a claimant needs to show:

1. A history of mental health problems (in this case, a medically documented history of depression).

2. A history of treatment provided by a qualified mental health professional (you may receive counseling from a Ph.D. level psychologist, but social security considers records from a physician to be pre-eminent. And that means records from a psychiatrist, as all psychiatrists are M.D.s

In brief, the office notes of a family doctor who prescribes an anti-depressant simply will not cut it for disability evaluation purposes because such notes will not sufficently document a claimant's psychiatric problems and history of mental health treatment. Such records will also generally fail to document a claimant's functional limitations as a result of depression. And lastly, of course, such records will not emanate from what is considered to be an appropriate source of treatment, i.e. a psychiatrist.

The post following this one (or possibly several posts from now) briefly describes what happens when a claimant files for disability based on depression and has little to no history of treatment for depression, or an insufficient record of documentation.

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.

Most popular topics on

Social Security Disability in North Carolina

Common Mistakes to avoid after being denied for Disability

Tips to Prepare for Filing for Social Security Disability or SSI

Advice to Win SSD and SSI Benefit Claims

Social Security Disability SSI Questions

What is the difference between Social Security Disability and SSI?

How to get disability for depression

Getting disability for fibromyalgia

SSI disability for children with ADHD

What is the Application Process for Social Security Disability and SSI?

Social Security Disability SSI Exam tips

More Social Security Disability SSI Questions

What makes you eligible for Social Security Disability or SSI?

Filing for disability in Illinois

Applying for disability in Illinois

How do you apply for Social Security Disability or SSI in Illinois

Filing for disability in Illinois, when to file

After you apply for Social Security Disability or SSI in Illinois

Are you automatically denied for SSDI or SSI in Illinois when you first apply?

Filing Illinois request for reconsideration after denied

Will I Qualify For Disability Benefits in Illinois?

Options after Social Security Disability is Denied in Illinois

Hiring a Qualified Disability Lawyer in Illinois

Do you need a lawyer for a Disability Claim in Illinois?

Disability attorneys, lawyers in Illinois

Choosing a Disability Attorney in Illinois

What will an Illinois disability attorney do?

Will hiring a disability attorney in Illinois get me a disability award?

Social Security Disability Representatives and help in Illinois

Social Security Claims and Disability Lawyers in Illinois

Illinois disability appeals

Filing a disability appeal in Illinois

Which disability appeal to file in Illinois

How many disability appeals do you get in Illinois?

Getting a Disability Appeal on time in Illinois

Eligibility, approvals, and qualifications in Illinois

How to Qualify for Social Security Disability or SSI in Illinois

Can a Specific Medical Problem get you Approved for Disability in Illinois?

Eligibility and Qualifications for Disability in Illinois

Can you get disability approved in Illinois at the reconsideration level?

Miscellaneous questions about SSD SSI in Illinois

Can you get disability in Illinois on your first try?

How many Social Security Disability and SSI cases get denied in Illinois?

Disability denial in Illinois, when to get a lawyer

Social Security Disability Waiting period in Illinois

Will I lose my SSDI SSI disability benefits in Illinois when my case is reviewed?

Illinois disability hearings

How to Prepare for a Disability Hearing in Illinois

Odds of disability approval in Illinois better at a hearing vs reconsideration

Illinois disability attorney representation after being denied

Illinois mental disability

Approved for disability in Illinois with a mental condition

Mental testing for an SSDI or SSI disability claim in Illinois

Filing for Disability with depression in Illinois

Illinois disability decisions

Who makes the SSD or SSI decision in Illinois

How long does it take to get a disability decision in Illinois?

What is the Social Security Disability decision making process in Illinois?

Illinois disability, working and work credits

Work credits in Illinois to be covered for Social Security Disability

How to get your disability status in Illinois

If you get and receive disability benefits in Illinois, can you work?

Can you apply for Social Security Disability or SSI in Illinois if you are working?

Illinois disability denials

Why is Social Security Disability and SSI Denied in Illinois?

Denied on a Disability Reconsideration in Illinois

Illinois Disability Claim was Denied, Should I Reapply?

Denied the second time for Social Security Disability in Illinois