Depression affects the lives of more than 17 million adults each year. Depending on its severity, depression could prevent you from performing work activities. Therefore, it is one of the leading reasons for a claim for depression disability benefits through the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSD) programs.
If your claim for depression disability benefits was denied, you have the right to appeal the determination through the disability appeal process. A depression disability lawyer at NY Disability is an excellent resource to consult for legal advice and outstanding representation in the fight to overturn a denial of a depression disability benefits claim.
Proving your claim for depression disability benefits
Depression is a mental health impairment considered by the Social Security Administration (SSA) as a disability when it is severe enough to prevent you from engaging in work-related activities. In order to prove that you qualify for depression disability benefits, you’ll need a specific diagnosis from a mental health professional, such as a psychiatrist or psychologist.
Depression disability can be proven as a mental health condition contained in the Listing of Impairments maintained by the SSA as a guideline to use to determine if an applicant for benefits is disabled. You must have at least five of the following symptoms:
- Depressed mood
- Diminished interest in activities
- Weight changes caused by appetite disturbance
- Sleep disturbance
- Psychomotor agitation or retardation that is observable
- Decreased energy
- Feeling guilty or worthless
- Impaired thinking or concentration
- Thoughts of suicide or death
You also must have documentation of an extreme limitation in one or a marked limitation in two of the following areas:
- Remembering, understanding, or applying information
- Ability to interact with others
- Concentration, persistence or maintaining pace when performing tasks
- Adapting or managing yourself, which includes cooking, dressing, paying bills and shopping.
The documentation needed to prove the criteria for depression disability can come from your medical records and statements from people who know you, including co-workers and bosses, members of your family, and the social workers and mental health professionals involved in your care and treatment.
If you cannot meet the criteria for depression in the Listing of Impairments, you may be eligible through a medical-vocational allowance. The mental health professional treating you must complete a form to determine your residual functional capacity (RFC), which is an evaluation of the limitations that depression places on your ability to engage in work-related activities.
The RFC is used by the SSA to determine whether it permits you to do a type of work that you did in the past. If not, then Social Security looks to see if you can do other types of work based on the RFC and your age, education, skills, and other factors. If you cannot make the adjustment to doing other types of work, then you are disabled and eligible for disability benefits.
How to challenge when disability benefits denied for depression disability
Having an application for disability benefits denied can be demoralizing, but you should not give up the fight. You can fight a denial of benefits through the disability appeal process with the help of a lawyer from NY Disability.
You have 60 days after receiving a denial notice to appeal the determination through the four levels of the appeal process:
- Reconsideration: A reconsideration is a review of your application by a new examiner who was not involved in the original determination. You have the right to submit new evidence, including updated medical documentation, to support your claim.
- Hearing with an administrative Law Judge (ALJ): If a reconsideration request does not result in a favorable outcome, you may request a hearing presided over by an administrative law judge. Your lawyer can submit new evidence, a brief containing arguments supporting your claim, and call you and other witnesses to testify.
- Appeals Council review: If you are not successful at the hearing level, a request for a review by the Appeals Council is the next step. The Appeals Council can refuse your request, issue a new decision, or it can send the case back to the hearing level for further action.
- Federal Court review: If you receive an adverse outcome at the Appeals Council level, you may file a court proceeding in federal court for a review of the denial of your claim for depression disability benefits.
An NY Disability lawyer can improve your chance of a favorable outcome on appeal through the following:
- If the medical records do not clearly identify the severity of the depression, your lawyer will obtain statements from your mental health professionals providing details about your condition and how it affects your ability to work.
- It is essential to the success of your claim for depression disability benefits to have a prescribed treatment plan from your psychiatrist or psychologist. If one is not in your medical records, your lawyer can obtain clarification from your healthcare providers.
- Social Security will not approve your claim without evidence that you complied with the prescribed treatment plan. Sometimes, the medical records do not show compliance, so your lawyer will obtain additional documentation from your medical providers.
Your lawyer will review the denial to determine the evidence and arguments to present to win an appeal.
Contact NY Disability
If you had a claim for depression disability benefits denied, learn what to do next by speaking to a disability benefits lawyer at NY Disability. Contact us today for a free consultation.