Many people in West Virginia struggle with clinical depression. For some, the symptoms can be so severe that they interfere with a person’s ability to work. Individuals who are unable to work due to their depression might choose to file for Social Security disability benefits.
To qualify for disability benefits, a person’s condition must be expected to prevent them from holding a job for at least 12 months or be expected to end in death. A person who is applying for disability must also be able to provide proof about the nature and severity of his or her condition. This is typically done with notes and records from treating medical providers. Severity is determined by how the condition affects a person’s ability to perform daily living activities such as cooking, shopping or bathing as well as social functioning and concentration.
Depression is evaluated under the category of affective disorders. To qualify for disability, the condition must cause documented thoughts of suicide, difficulty sleeping, decreased energy or feelings of guilt or worthlessness resulting in severe restriction in daily living activities or repeated periods of decompensation. Alternatively, the condition must be documented to have existed for at least two years and limit the claimant’s ability to work, and it must improve with treatment.
A person filing for Social Security disability benefits for mental conditions may wish to consult an attorney. An attorney may be able to help clients understand the application process and help the client request an administrative hearing if his or her initial application has been denied. It is possible for applicants who were denied initially to have their claim approved at the hearing stage.