Los Angeles Social Security Disability Attorney
Depression is a serious medical condition that involves more than just feeling blue. It is a mental affliction that can disrupt a person’s entire life, making that person feel disconnected from society and anxious over otherwise trivial or unavoidable matters. For some people, their depression is so bad that it can even interfere with their ability to hold down or find a job.
While research into depression has come a long way in helping people cope with the affliction, there has yet to be discovered a one size fits all solution. Some people respond to medication, but others don’t. Some respond to therapy, others don’t. While science continues to work toward a viable, effective cure, those who are suffering from depression today have little recourse when they are unable to get the signs and symptoms of their depression under control.
DEPRESSION AND SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY BENEFITS
Depression is possibly the top cause of disadvantage in the United States, but it’s extremely difficult to prove to the Social Security Administration. If you lost your arms and legs in an accident, you’d likely be approved for SSD, but if you lost your family and suffered depression as a result, your fight for SSD benefits might be much tougher. Depression is usually characterized by sadness, gloominess, and feelings of bleakness and inadequacy. Those with depression also typically suffer from fatigue and extremely low energy.
Almost everyone “feels depressed” at some time, but it’s usually a reaction to negative events in the environment, and most of us “bounce back” in a quick period of time. Anyone suffering deep depression for more than several weeks may require medical attention; for some, the brain chemicals become imbalanced, and clinical depression sets in. Clinical depression can result in an inability to cope with the simple routines of daily life. It can affect eating, personal hygiene, and the ability to work at a routine job.
To qualify for SSD, a person suffering from depression must either meet specific disadvantage criteria established by Social Security, or a person must be approved for a medical-vocational allowance based on their depression and other personal data such as other disabilities, age, work history, and education level.
To qualify for SSD because of depression, Social Security requires you to prove at least four of these symptoms: reduced interest or enjoyment of most activities; lowered appetite (or overeating); difficulty with thinking or focusing; feelings of guilt or worthlessness; too much sleep (or insomnia); delusions or paranoia; low to no physical energy; and suicidal thinking.
Social Security also requires that your depression causes you difficulty with social functioning, daily living activities, and focusing on tasks at hand. Even if your depression improves with medication and counseling, you may qualify for SSD if your improvement is tentative and relapse is possible.
If you are disabled due to depression, be sure that you have medical records from a recognized mental health treatment source. Acceptable sources might include licensed or certified psychologists, licensed physicians including psychiatrists, and hospitals. Without adequate medical documentation, you may be asked to submit to a consultative examination performed by a physician who is paid by Social Security. A consultative examination usually does not lead to approval for disability benefits. It really does help to have an established history of treatment and to have records that document the severity of your condition.
Meeting these requirements isn’t the only way to receive disadvantage approval. Most approved disability claims are approved as a “medical-vocational allowance.” Social Security determines how your condition impacts affect your capacity for unskilled work, which includes: responding properly to supervisors and colleagues; understanding and following simple instructions; making work-related decisions; and handling changes in a job routine.
To be approved for SSD coverage, benefits applicants will have to prove to the satisfaction of the SSA that a condition or disability exists and that it, in fact, prevents or will prevent a person from working. Unfortunately, proof requirements are considerably strict, and many of the applications which the SSA denies for failing to provide adequate proof belong to those with serious and legitimate medical conditions.
You will need to be very diligent in proving that your depression is so severe that you simply cannot work and you will need evidence and a lot of documentation. There is so much red tape involved that it is just easier and less painstaking to hire an attorney who knows how to maneuver around the Social Security Disability laws. Have you seen a doctor? When? Has the doctor put you on medication, if so, what kind? Do you expect your depression to continue for at least 12 months? Does your doctor think there has been any improvement in your depression? The list of redundant questions can go on and on.
There is an extremely lengthy waiting period to find out if you were approved for benefits or not. Sometimes, those who are suffering from depression wait patiently only to open the long awaited letter from Social Security and see the word, DENIED, at the top of the page. You feel hopeless and all the while the bills are stacking up, you have maxed out your credit cards, and exhausted your loan options. At this point, an aggressive and experienced lawyer is your only hope.
Receiving disability benefits isn’t easy. Most initial applications are usually denied, and most applicants have to appeal. The paperwork is complicated. The more medical documentation you can produce, the better your chances are of winning benefits. Don’t even begin the process without help from a disability attorney who knows what is required to win your disability benefits. In southern California, if you’re unable to work, contact an experienced Los Angeles Social Security disability lawyer as quickly as possible.
AN EXPERIENCED LOS ANGELES SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY ATTORNEY
Tony Adderley is an experienced Los Angeles social security disability attorney backed by a team of diligent legal professionals who will work as hard as they can to help their clients seeking SSD coverage – even if those clients have already been denied for coverage before.