The Social Security Administration (SSA) doesn’t always make it easy for those with depression to get the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income benefits they deserve. Many claims are denied because SSA says:
(1) Your depression doesn’t meet the requirements of or is the equivalent of a Medical Listing,
(2) You can return to the lightest job you held in the 15 years before you became disabled, or
(3) There is other work you can do in the mythical national economy based on your age, education, transferable skills and your residual functional capacity.
Not all cases of depression are severe enough to make you eligible for Social Security Disability benefits, but Nancy Cavey has successfully represented many SSA applicants with depression. She works to overcome the claims denial by working closely with you and your physician to show that you:
She offers a free initial consultation and welcomes the opportunity to speak with you about your Social Security disability claim.
Depression is a mood disorder that causes a persistent sense of sadness and loss of interest in life. It can affect how you feel about yourself and others, how you think and even how you behave. It is not uncommon to see depression in those who have pain.
People who are depressed may have:
Depression is included in Listing 12.04 Affective Disorders in the SSA’s “Listing of Impairments.” If you meet or have the equivalent of a Listing, your Social Security disability benefits will be awarded at Step 3 of the Five-Step Sequential Evaluation.
Your medical records must establish that you meet every element of the Listing for your depression to be considered disabling. SSA will review your medical records for evidence that you have severe depression by having at least four of the following symptoms:
Also, your symptoms of depression cause you serious difficulty in the following:
It can be difficult to get the medical proof you need. Those with depression often get treatment at mental health clinics. Mental health clinics often refuse to release your clinical notes that the SSA uses to evaluate the severity of your condition. Instead, the clinic will offer a letter summarizing what they think SSA wants to know. That is not helpful.
Others with depression disorders are treated at the VA. While the VA records do have some detail about your symptoms, VA doctors refuse to fill out any RFC forms.
Many times your medical records don’t include the necessary detail to establish that your depression is disabling enough to meet or equal a listing.
As a result, SSA is forced to have you undergo, at their expense, a consultative mental status examination. This is a one-time short examination by a consultant who doesn’t know you and who won’t take the time to develop the details about how your depression impacts your ability to function on a daily basis.
If possible, have your family or friends provide your treating provider and any consultative examiner with detailed information about what you can and can’t do. Unfortunately, because of these medical proof problems, many claims are denied at a Listing level.
Don’t worry! SSA then will determine your entitlement to benefits based on medical and vocational criteria at Steps 4 and 5.
If your depression doesn’t meet a listing, you will have to prove that you:
SSA or, ultimately the Administrative Law Judge, will answer those questions by determining your residual functional capacity. Your RFC is what you can do despite your depression.
The SSA will review your medical records at the Initial Application and Reconsideration stage of the claims process and determine your functional capacity to perform work.
SSA medical consultants often opine that a Social Security Disability applicant with depression still can work because there isn’t a significant interference with your ability to do normal activity. For example, if you are anxious but can still shower, get dressed, make meals, go grocery shopping and interact with the public, you are probably not eligible for benefits. There must be a marked interference with your ability to function.
The more limited you are in your ability to function on a daily basis the lower your RFC will be and the more likely that you can’t return to work. SSA doesn’t tell applicants or mental health providers about the existence of RFC forms for each of the anxiety disorders and the importance of properly completed RFC forms that explain the severity of your symptoms and impact on:
This is not an exhaustive list of all of the questions on anxiety disorder RFC forms. But you can see that having an explanation of what you can do physically, cognitively and emotionally is key to winning your case.
Winning a case on the basis of severe depression alone is hard. I’s more likely that you will be awarded benefits if you have psychiatric or physical medical conditions.
Many SSA cases are lost because the applicant did not obtain an RFC or the right RFC form, because their treating physician didn’t properly complete the RFC form, or because it wasn’t signed by the supervising physician. Those are just some of the reasons you should have an experienced Social Security attorney like Nancy L. Cavey represent you in your claim.
Many claims are denied both at the Initial Application and Request For Reconsideration stages of the claims process.
At the hearing stage, the Administrative Law Judge will determine your mental RFC and give hypotheticals to the vocational evaluator (VE) who will testify at your hearing. The judge will ask the VE to take into consideration your RFC, as determined by the judge, your age, education and prior work experience in determining:
It is crucial that you are represented at a hearing to make sure the right questions are asked of the VE.
Depression can interfere not only with your daily activities but with your ability to work. If you no longer can work or your doctor has told you to apply for Social Security disability, you should hire Nancy Cavey to help you:
The SSA is in the business of denying claims and will use any reason to deny your benefits. The odds of getting your Social Security benefits are greater when you are represented by an experienced Social Security Disability attorney like Ms. Cavey.
Depression can make it difficult, if not impossible, to work. You owe it to yourself and your family to get help today! Ms. Cavey can explain the Five-Step Sequential Evaluation process used in every claim, the claims process and how to get your disability benefits for depression. Call today for a free consultation at 727-894-3188.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]