Social Security for Depression and Anxiety
When it comes to Social Security Disability benefits for depression and anxiety, understanding the process is essential. The journey can be complex due to the subjective nature of these conditions.
Social Security refers to a disability as a medical impairment or medically determinable mental impairment that has hindered an individual from performing substantial work for twelve months, with the expectation of lasting twelve more months or even resulting in death.
Navigating SSD for conditions like depression and anxiety can be daunting, given that the evidence supporting these diagnoses is rooted in personal experiences. Unlike physical conditions that can be measured with objective tests, the symptoms of these mental health disorders can be challenging to quantify.
To successfully qualify for SSD benefits for depression and anxiety, you need to be prepared to demonstrate a consistent medical treatment history. If you have not sought treatment from mental health professionals, your primary doctor can connect you with a social worker, psychologist, or psychiatrist. Read further to learn more.
Proving Eligibility for Disability Benefits
Those applying for SSD benefits based on anxiety-related disorders have multiple ways to establish eligibility. You can achieve this through comprehensive medical records, letters from healthcare providers, reports, and testimony.
Generally, there are two avenues to demonstrate eligibility for Social Security Disability:
Utilizing Social Security’s Set Criteria:
The Social Security Administration has a predefined list of medical conditions, often called “listings,” that automatically qualify individuals for disability benefits. Each “listing” comes with specific criteria that you need to meet to qualify.
Demonstrating Severe Impairment:
Alternatively, anxious or depressed people can show a severe impairment or a combination of impairments that render them unable to maintain full-time employment.
Criteria of Social Security Disability
For people pursuing SSD benefits, meeting Social Security’s criteria is vital.
In the case of Anxiety:
To qualify for SSD, the applicants need to meet the criteria in A and B or A and C below:
A. Provide medical documentation of one of the following:
1. Constant generalized anxiety with at least three of the following four symptoms:
· Motor tension
· Vigilance and scanning
· Autonomic hyperactivity
· Apprehensive expectation
2. Unreasonable fear of a situation, object, or activity leading to significant avoidance.
3. Frequent severe panic attacks occur at least once a week, characterized by intense fear and apprehension.
4. Repeated compulsions or obsessions causing marked distress.
5. Recurrent intrusive recollections of a traumatic experience causing distress.
B. The condition outlined in Paragraph A must result in at least two of the following outcomes or Paragraph C outcomes:
· Substantial difficulty maintaining concentration.
· Significant challenges in persistence or pace.
· Repeated extended periods of decompensation.
· Difficulty maintaining social functioning or routine activities.
C. The conditions described in Paragraph A must lead to a complete inability to function autonomously outside your home.
In the case of Depression:
To meet the listing, you must satisfy either criteria A and B or A and C:
A. Provide medical documentation according to either of the following requirements:
You have a depressive disorder if you have five or more of the following symptoms:
· Depressed mood
· Diminished interest in activities
· Changes in appetite and weight
· Sleep disturbances
· Observable psychomotor agitation or retardation
· Reduced energy
· Feelings of guilt or worthlessness
· Difficulty concentrating or thinking
· Thoughts of death or suicide.
B. Extreme limitation in one or marked limitation in two areas of mental functioning:
· Comprehension, memory, or application of information
· Interaction with others
· Concentration, persistence, or maintaining pace
· Adaptation or self-management
C. Your depression, as outlined in this category, must be “serious and persistent,” indicated by:
· A medically documented history of the disorder for at least two years.
· Evidence of ongoing medical treatment, mental health therapy, psychosocial support, or structured settings diminishing symptoms.
· Limited ability to adapt to environmental changes or unanticipated demands.
How to Apply for Social Security Disability Benefits?
The process of applying for disability benefits can be overwhelming for an anxious or depressed individual. However, breaking it down into manageable steps can make the process smoother.
Selecting the Application Method:
Decide whether to apply independently or with the assistance of a disability advocate. While legal support could be costly, you may only be charged if your case is successful.
Compiling Necessary Information:
Gather all relevant documentation, including medical records, proof of age, contact details of healthcare providers, information about medications, details of past jobs, and financial records.
Completing the Application:
The application can be submitted online, via phone, or in person at a Social Security office. Online submission is often the quickest and most convenient option.
What to do if the Application gets Denied?
If your initial application is denied, remember this is not unusual. Many SSDI and SSI applications face initial rejection. Fortunately, there are options for appealing the decision that helps to address your needs.
Reconsideration: Request a reconsideration if you disagree with the decision. A new reviewer, uninvolved in the initial determination, will assess your application and any additional evidence.
Hearing: If reconsideration doesn’t yield the desired outcome, request a hearing before an administrative law judge. You can choose between in-person or video hearing options.
Appeals Council: If you are not satisfied after the hearing, seek review by the Appeals Council, which can uphold or modify the decision.
Federal Court: The final step involves filing a civil suit in federal court within 60 days of the Appeals Council’s decision.
Throughout this process, remember that you are not alone. If the application or appeals process becomes overwhelming be sure to contact the experts at Disability Help Group.
The sooner you are able get assistance from an experienced Social Security disability benefits advocate, the better you will be able to ensure that you have provided the correct information necessary to establish your claim.
To learn more about how Disability Help Group can help you with your Anxiety or Depression Disability claim, call our team today at (800) or contact us here for a FREE consultation.