Depression affects the lives of many people. Scripps Research Institute reported that 16.5% of Americans struggle with at least one depression episode in their lifetimes. Depression can be characterized by gloom, sadness, and feelings of hopelessness and inadequacy. Most people already know that depression is accompanied by tiredness and a general loss of energy. What most people don’t know is that there can be SSD benefits for depression if it reaches an extent that the Social Security Administration sees appropriate.

The Social Security Administration follows a specific criterion in order to evaluate each specific case of depression that can be found in the Social Security’s impairment listing manual. When the SSA evaluates your claim for benefits for reasons of depression, they’ll look to see whether you have at least five or more of the following symptoms:

  • Depressed mood
  • Diminished interest in almost all activities
  • Appetite disturbance with change in weight
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Observable psychomotor agitation or retardation
  • Decreased energy
  • Feelings of guilt or worthlessness
  • Difficulty concentrating or thinking
  • Thoughts of death or suicide

What does the SSA need to further evaluate my SSD claim for depression? 

The SSA will also look at how your depression affects your daily activities. They may ask you to make lists of daily activities. Also, SSA may even ask your family and friends to submit letters describing how depression affects you.

Social Security will also need your medical records from all places from which you have sought help for your condition. Psychiatrists, doctors, psychologists, nutritionists, and other medical professionals may be consulted to make the determination on whether or not your depression is severe enough for Social Security benefits.

Social Security may request you attend a mental status examination if your medical records do not provide enough information about your depression. The SSA pays for this examination, and all other examinations they request for you to have.

Once Social Security gathers all the necessary documentation, your case will be reviewed. At this time, you may receive a phone call from Social Security asking for more information about your condition. A Psychiatric Review Technique Form that evaluates the severity of your depression will be completed, as well as the Mental Residual Functional Capacity Form that covers the degree to which your ability to perform work-related functions is impaired. More information about depression can be found on Social Security’s website.

Liebenhaut Law handles Social Security cases in and around the Tallahassee area. If you have any further questions concerning SSD for depression, Social Security benefits, or any other concerns, please do not hesitate to contact our office.