October is Depression Awareness Month, although if you suffer from depression, you are likely already painfully aware of how serious this condition can be. Depressive disorders can be overwhelming, complicated and difficult to explain to others. The symptoms of a depressive disorder may make it difficult if not impossible to maintain relationships, carry out daily tasks and sustain gainful employment.
If your depression symptoms have prevented you from working for at least 12 months, you may be eligible for disability benefits that can assist you financially while you and your West Virginia doctors work to help you deal with your condition. While depression is listed under the Social Security Administration’s “affective disorders” approved for disability benefits, this does not mean the SSA will automatically approve your application. You must demonstrate your condition is serious and disabling.
Proving your disability
Depression is one of the most misunderstood conditions a person can have. Many refuse to understand that the symptoms are real and can be debilitating, lasting anywhere from two weeks to several years. Fortunately, there are methods available for treating depression, both through therapies and medication. Meanwhile, disability benefits may help you support yourself if you are unable to work because of these and any other depression symptoms:
- Low mood for significantly longer than two weeks
- Lack of interest in formerly appealing activities
- Changes in appetite, including weight loss or gain
- Insomnia or persistent sleeping
- Agitation or slowed motions
- Low energy
- Inability to concentrate
- Inappropriate feelings of guilt
- Thoughts of suicide, death or self-harm
Proving the severity of these symptoms will involve detailed and thorough documentation. You would be wise to collect relevant medical records, reports from your doctors and testimony from past employers who will confirm your inability to work due to your depression symptoms. You may also improve your chances of the SSA accepting your application for disability benefits if you provide evidence that you have tried to work, go to school or complete training for employment without success because of the severity of your symptoms.
The most important thing you can do for yourself is to seek appropriate medical treatment and follow the advice of your doctors. You can reach out for assistance in the preparation and submission of your disability application. It is wise to obtain that help from a professional who understands the Social Security laws and has experience in the complex process of applying for benefits and pursuing an appeal if the SSA denies your claim the first time.