Applying for disability with depression in Illinois

Individuals who list depression on their applications for social security or SSI disability tend to fall into 2 separate camps. The first group comprises those individuals who are actively being treated for depression and are expressly filing for disability based on depression.

The second group comprises individuals who are listing depression on their applications for disability, but consider other impairments that they have to be more fundamental to their claims.

In either situation, however, the simple fact that depression is listed on an application means that a disability examiner (examiners make decisions on disability claims at the initial claim and reconsideration levels) or a disability judge (administrative law judges make decisions on claims at the hearing level in Illinois) will be forced to consider the viability of an approval based on depression.

And this can be problematic if, in fact, a disability claimant has A) not received actual treatment for depression, B) has received only sporadic treatment, or C) has not received recent treatment for depression. In all three of these scenarios, a disability applicant is likely to be sent to a mental consultative exam.

What is a consultative exam? Consultative examinations (known by the abbreviation CE) are what some claimants refer to as "social security medical exams". These are examinations that are paid for and scheduled by the social security administration and are conducted by independent physicians, psychologists, and psychiatrists. Generally, these exams are ordered for the purpose of gathering additional evidence for use by a disability examiner or a disability judge.

However, in most instances, a consultative exam is specifically ordered when a claimant has not been treated for an alleged impairment (i.e., one that was written on the disability application), or does not have a sufficient record of treatment to evaluate the 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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