Depression can be a debilitating condition that impairs a person’s ability to perform daily tasks, including work. There are many depressive disorders that someone may suffer from including bipolar disorder, seasonal affective disorder, dysthymia, manic depression, and many other disorders that cause depression. Chronic depression can cause fatigue, insomnia, weight changes, thoughts of suicide, feelings worthlessness, sleeping too much, and eating problems. Depression may qualify for disability benefits, but you may need a New York social security disability lawyer to assist you with your Social Security disability application.
What are SSDI and SSI?
SSI (Supplemental Security Income) and SSDI (Social Security Disability Insurance) are two forms of disability benefits administered through the federal government. The Social Security Administration (SSA) is responsible for approving and paying disability payments.
SSDI is a disability program for workers. If an applicant has worked enough years to earn the required work credits, the worker may qualify for SSDI disability benefits. The “work credits” are based on how many months you worked and paid taxes into the system. However, the worker must also meet other requirements such as income and disability requirements.
SSI is a disability benefits program for low-income individuals who have never worked or have not worked long enough to qualify for SSDI. The SSI program also has income requirements and disability requirements that a person must meet to qualify for SSI.
Qualifications for SSDI and SSI?
The first step is to determine if you have earned enough credits to qualify for SSDI. If so, you apply for SSDI benefits, but if not, you apply for SSI benefits. After that, you must determine if you meet the income requirements to receive SSDI or SSI. In both cases, you cannot earn over a certain amount each month to qualify for SSI or SSDI. In addition, SSI also has limits on the value of the assets owned and the sources of income available.
The most difficult requirement for obtaining SSDI or SSI for depression is proving the depression is a debilitating condition. The SSA has a different definition of disability than other agencies or organizations may use. For someone to be considered disabled, they must have a condition that is expected to result in death or will last at least one year or longer.
In addition, the condition must impair the person’s ability to perform a Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA). An SGA is simply some form of work that earns an income. Each year, the SGA sets a minimum amount of income a person must earn to be considered as engaging in an SGA. For 2018, earnings of $1,180 or more a month ($1,970 or more a month for someone who is blind) generally demonstrate SGA and the person’s application for disability benefits will likely be denied.
How Does Depression Qualify for SSI or SSDI?
If you meet all other requirements for SSA disability benefits, you must show that your depression is severe enough to impair your ability to work. Depression can make it difficult to work; however, your condition must be so severe that you are unable to work.
The SSA’s Blue Book lists many illnesses and conditions that may qualify for SSA disability benefits. Section 12.04 refers to depressive, bipolar, and related disorders. The evidence you submit with your SSDI or SSI application, any evidence gathered by the SSA, and the results of an independent examination must show that your condition causes at least five of nine symptoms:
- Depressed mood;
- Decreased interest in most activities;
- Changes in appetite accompanied by a change in weight;
- Sleep problems;
- Noticeable retardation or psychomotor agitation;
- Lower energy levels;
- Feeling worthless or guilty;
- Thoughts of death or suicide; or,
- Trouble thinking or concentrating.
In addition, you must have an extreme or pronounced limitation in the ability to remember, understand, or apply information; interact with others; concentrate; or, manage or adapt oneself. You may also qualify if your medical history demonstrates you have a serious and persistent depressive state that is only improved marginally by treatment.
Call a New York Disability Attorney Now for Help
You can receive SSDI or SSI for depression, but the application and approval process can be difficult and frustrating. A New York disability attorney can help you gather evidence and complete your disability application. Contact our New York SSDI lawyers today to discuss your case and see how we can help you get the benefits you are entitled to receive. We understand what the SSA is looking for when approving disability benefits for depression.