Social Security Claims for Depression and Anxiety

Can You Claim Disability Benefits for Depression or Anxiety?

The following is an email I recently sent to a person who called me seeking information about a potential claim for Disability benefits based on depression and anxiety. As this is a common response to the many questions I receive on the topic, I thought it would be a good email to share with those seeking disability based on a psychological disability.

Dear _______:

I am sorry that you have to deal with these issues.  I am writing to ask if you are seeing a psychiatrist, psychologist and or a counselor for your issues?  If so, how long have you been regularly seeing these folks?

The reason I ask is because the Social Security Administration requires that any applicant for benefits be able to prove they are disabled.  This proof necessarily takes the form of doctors records based on an ongoing relationship of treatment.  The reason for this is two- fold.  The first is that there is a general agreement among health care professionals that treatment for psychological issues is helpful to the person dealing with those issues.  If the treatment is successful it may help the patient avoid being placed on disability. The second reason is that the Social Security Administration has mandated that records be presented to prove the disability.  If the claimant is unable to present records of treatment, because of a lack of treatment, the Administration will deny the claim.

If you are dealing with these psychological issues without treatment, I encourage you to seek out a psychiatrist, psychologist and or a counselor and begin treatment.  If you have already established a relationship with one of these types of health care providers, and the treatment is not yet sufficient to allow you to return to work, please give me a call.

If you have not yet filed your application for benefits, that must be done as soon as possible.  If you are eligible for Title II SSDI, then you can file on line, or at your local social security office.  If you are only eligible for Title XVI SSI, then you must file in person at the local office.  If you are confused about which program for which you may be eligible, please give me a call and I can help you figure that out.

I wish you the best in coping with your anxieties and depression.

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