Depression, also known as Clinical Depression, is a medical and mental condition which can severely affect many areas of your life, including your ability to perform meaningful work. In severe cases, those who suffer from depression find themselves unable to perform daily tasks required of those in the work force, and may find it difficult or impossible to maintain gainful employment.
Depression is different than the sadness we feel when we have suffered a loss. Such sadness is generally short term, and lessens with time. Depression, on the other hand, is marked by a sense of profound sadness or melancholy that affects not only how you feel, but also what you do. Depression can disrupt your daily routine and cause you to lose interest for things you once enjoyed, marked by long periods of hopelessness.
In some cases, those suffering from clinical depression may qualify for Social Security Disability benefits. Whether or not you qualify for Social Security Disability benefits because of your depression is largely due to the actual symptoms and their severity. No two people react exactly the same way to depression; different people suffering with depression may respond in very different ways. For example, one person with depression may sleep 17 hours per day while another finds herself unable to sleep.
If you are applying for Social Security Disability benefits due (entirely or in part) to your clinical depression, it is critical that you make sure to include thorough documentation from all medical and mental health professionals who are working with you. It’s also a good idea to employ a Social Security Disability lawyer who can help you put your claim or appeal together in the manner which is most likely to result in the SSA’s approval of your claim.
Depression and Your Ability to Perform Physical Work
The Social Security Administration’s standard regarding Social Security Disability benefits is that you must be unable to perform any kind of work that you have done previously or for which you could be retrained. This includes being unable to perform any kind of physical labor.
Of course, depression does not directly affect your ability to perform physical tasks in most cases. However, it can make it impossible for you to endure an eight hour work day, five days per week. In looking at the severity of your symptoms, the SSA will largely be trying to determine whether your symptoms are severe enough to hinder you from full time gainful employment.
Symptoms of depression that typically hinder a person from performing physical work include the loss of interest in all or most activities, significant loss of weight or physical health due to appetite changes (i.e., overeating or under eating), difficulty concentrating, hallucinations, and severely decreased energy. Thoughts of suicide can also make it difficult to safely be involved in any kind of work, especially if the work seems to make the problem worse by causing undue stress.
Depression and Your Ability to Perform Sedentary Work
Like many conditions which affect mental or emotional capacity, it is often easier to prove that those with depression can’t be reasonably expected to perform sedentary work than it is to prove that they can’t perform physical work. Sedentary work often involves specialized skills, concentration, high manual dexterity, and working with other people. None of these (with the possible exception of manual dexterity) are reasonable to expect of someone who is severely depressed.
However, it can be difficult to prove that depression is debilitating enough to cause you to be unable to perform any kind of gainful work. Having a Social Security Disability lawyer who is familiar with mental disorders can make the whole Social Security Disability claims and appeals process less stressful and more likely to end in a granted Social Security Disability benefits claim.