Manring & Farrell

Does depression qualify me for disability benefits?

Getting out of bed in the morning may be one of the most difficult things you have to do each day. Your day may also hold little promise of anything better coming along. In fact, you may feel overwhelmed with thoughts of hopelessness, low energy, difficulty remaining focused, agitation or fatigue. Your family and friends may be frustrated that you can't just get over it, but all your efforts to do so have failed.

You may be suffering from a depressive disorder that prevents you from functioning at a normal capacity. This may include your daily chores around your home, interactions in social settings and meeting other obligations. Your depression may also prevent you from maintaining gainful employment. If this is the case for you, it may be time to consider applying for disability benefits through the Social Security Administration.

Improving your chances for approval

Unlike a visible disability or an illness such as cancer, you may have difficulty convincing others that you are ill. However, this does not mean it will be impossible to obtain the financial support you need through disability benefits. In fact, the SSA lists depressive disorder as a qualifying condition for benefits. You will still have to provide ample supporting evidence to make your case, and this may include the following:

  • Documentation that the symptoms of your depression make it impossible for you to work
  • Confirmation from past employers that your depression created a hardship that prevented you from fulfilling the duties of your position
  • Documentation of your struggles to return to school, receive job training or in other ways improve your ability to obtain and keep a job to no avail
  • Reports from your doctors and therapists describing your condition, treatment plan and prognosis

The reports from your medical team will be most important to the SSA. Agents will want to know that your doctor has given you a diagnosis of depression and that you are under medical care. The medical report should confirm that you exhibit at least five of the most common symptoms of depression, that those symptoms have not improved with ongoing treatment, and that they limit your ability to work in any job not just work you have done in the past.

While the steps to obtaining disability benefits through the SSA may seem overwhelming, it is worth it if it can help you with your financial obligations while you are unable to work. You may find the process less stressful if you enlist the help of an Ohio attorney who has experience in disability law.

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