A very depressed person may have problems leaving their home, being with other people, having normal friendly relationships or even having business relationships. With severe depression, it is difficult to concentrate. Sometimes depression can lead to suicide.
For Social Security Disability purposes, there are 2 main types of depression. The first type of depression is known as reactive depression. Reactive depression is caused by external factors such as illness, financial hardship, grief, or divorce. The second type of depression is called endogenous depression and there usually is no external factor causing the depression.
No matter which kind of depression the person has, the Social Security Administration will try to measure the severity level.
Factors used to measure the severity level of depression:
- Mood of the person
- Is the person socializing with others
- Interest in activities away from the home
- Feeling guilty over being sick
- Feelings of worthlessness
- Feelings of helplessness
- Large amount of weight loss or weight gain that is unexplained
- Suicidal thoughts
- Suicide attempts
The success or failure of presenting your case of depression will depend on how well the above mentioned symptoms are documented in the medical treatment records. The Social Security judge will look for how often you are seen by your psychologist or psychiatrist and the type and frequency of your medication. As soon as possible after you file for your disability, your doctor should complete a report, describing in detail the severity of your depression.
How your psychologist or psychiatrist rates you in the following areas will be most important:
- daily activities that are restricted
- problems with social functioning
- problems with concentration, persistence, or pace
- incidents of decompensation, each of long duration
Hospital admissions for depression add strength to your case and the more frequent the admissions are in a short period of time, the stronger the evidence will be of severe depression. This is one disorder in which old medical records showing the treatment are almost as important as recent records. Using old medical records to show a long treatment history helps fight against a judge’s desire to call the depression situational and helps establish severe depression.