This Could Help You

You need a reason to hope. When you can’t work because of severe depression, Social Security Disability benefits could provide financial—and mental—relief.

The monthly checks can keep you going while you tend to your own well-being.

But most people don’t understand what it means to have truly debilitating depression. Can you really expect the government to approve you for benefits?

Depression absolutely is an impairment that can qualify for disability benefits.

In recent years, over 1 million workers receiving disability benefits had depressive disorders. That adds up to over 13 percent of everyone who got benefits because they have to stop working, according to Social Security numbers. Washington State is home to thousands of SSDI recipients with depression.

And if you consider all forms of mental disorders, the number rises to 2.4 million workers with disability benefits, or over 29 percent.

It is true, though, that Social Security denies most people—people with all kinds of physical and mental health impairments.

A Social Security Disability lawyer can be your guide and support through this process. A lawyer with experience knows what you need to be approved with depression.

It’s also not unusual to include depression along with other health problems when you make your disability claim.

If you live in Yakima, Kennewick, Sunnyside, Spokane, Richland, Ellensburg, Wenatchee, Walla Walla or anywhere in Central Washington, talk to the Bothwell & Hamill disability attorneys for help with your case.

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What Do I Need to Qualify for Disability Benefits with Depression?

Your doctor may say you have depression, but that doesn’t mean Social Security will approve your disability benefits.

To win benefits under Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), you must have a substantial record of working and paying Social Security taxes, your depression or other health conditions must make it impossible for you to hold any job, and your condition and inability to work must last at least a year.

You start the process of claiming disability benefits by showing that your symptoms rule out working. Social Security gives you two ways to do that.

One way to win Social Security Disability for depression is to show that you have signs of depression like these:

  • Low mood
  • Lost interest in most activities
  • Eating and weight changes
  • Poor sleep
  • Low energy
  • Guilty feelings
  • Worthless feelings
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Slower or agitated movement
  • Thoughts of death
  • Suicidal thoughts

Along with those symptoms, you’ll need to show that you struggle in your ability to use information, interact with others, persist in completing tasks, or manage and control your emotions.

The second way to qualify for disability benefits with depression is to show a long history of medical treatment for depression.

For Social Security that means you’ve had at least two years of therapy and other supports that help you feel better, but you continue to have difficulty coping with changes in life or new demands on you.

Social Security calls this the “serious and persistent” standard for a mental disorder.

You can tell a disability lawyer at Bothwell & Hamill about your depression, and find out FOR FREE what your disability benefits claim might require.

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How Do I Prove My Depression Qualifies for Social Security Disability?

You can’t just tell Social Security you have symptoms like the ones listed above and get approved for benefits.

You have to PROVE that you have debilitating depression.

How do you do that?

With medical evidence.

Social Security will review records from doctors, psychologists, mental health counselors, social workers and other health care providers.

This evidence can take these forms:

  • An official record of your diagnosis
  • Results and observations from physical and mental examinations
  • Psychological test results
  • Medical imaging
  • Lab test results
  • Details of your medications
  • Side effects of medications and other treatments
  • Description of your therapy and its effects
  • Documentation of changes in your speech
  • Documentation of changes in your movement
  • Explanation of how your cultural background could affect evaluations
  • A history of your treatment, including course changes
  • How long medical professionals expect your symptoms to last

Some non-medical evidence can also support your claim for benefits. Social Security calls it, “evidence from you and people who know you.”

This evidence comes in the form of statements from you and others about your symptoms and daily functioning.
This can help your claim when your own statements match what friends, family, neighbors, clergy, community support workers and others say about the state of your mental health.

But when you’re under a crushing depression, it doesn’t seem fair that you have to jump through hoops to “prove” that what you’re feeling is real.

Let your disability attorney take that burden off of you. Your attorney can gather and present all of this evidence.

And if you receive disability benefits to pay for your essentials, you can truly focus on your bigger needs, feeling better and moving forward.

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More Questions?

You might have a lot of questions. Bothwell & Hamill has answers.

Common Questions »
Yakima man who won Social Security Disability benefits with the help of Tom Bothwell.

Mr. Bothwell and his staff were not only knowledgeable and to the point, but took the time to answer all of my questions and kept in touch with me during the entire process.”


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