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Depression and Social Security Disability

 

  Affiliated COUNSELING AND REFERRAL SERVICES (ACRS) 

 DR. Michael Shery, clinical psychology

  2615 Three Oaks Rd. Ste 2A; Cary, IL 60013

 www.carypsychology.com  847 275 8236 (24 Hrs);  drmike@carypsychology.com 

 

 

      

                                                                                    

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Depression and Social Security Disability Income

Here is an explanation of Social Security's five-step process to determine if depression qualifies for Social Security Disability Income:

STEP ONE simply determines if an individual is "working (engaging in substantial gainful activity)" according to the SSA definition. Earning more than $810 a month as an employee is enough to be disqualified from receiving Social Security disability benefits.

STEP TWO implies that the depression disability must be severe enough to significantly limit one’s ability to perform basic work activities needed to do most jobs. For example:

  • walking, standing, sitting, lifting, pushing, pulling, reaching, carrying or handling 
  • seeing, hearing and speaking 
  • understanding/carrying out and remembering simple instructions 
  • use of judgment 
  • responding appropriately to supervision, co-workers and usual work situations 
  • dealing with changes in a routine work setting 

STEP THREE asks if the depression disability meets or equals a medical listing. Depression is listed under mental disorders. To satisfy the listing criteria for depression a number of variables are considered:

  • anhedonia 
  • appetite disturbance 
  • sleep disturbance 
  • psychomotor agitation or retardation 
  • decreased energy 
  • feelings of guilt or worthlessness 
  • difficulty concentrating or thinking 
  • thoughts of suicide and hallucinations 
  • delusions or paranoid thinking 

In assessing depression relative to a listing level impairment, the following areas of functioning are evaluated:

  • Restrictions of activities of daily living 
  • Maintaining social functioning 
  • Deficiencies of concentration 
  • Persistence or pace 
  • Repeated episodes of decompensation--each of extended duration. 

An individual who has four symptoms present from the depressive syndrome list, as well as extreme limitation two of the four functional areas, would probably be eligible for benefits.

STEP FOUR explores the ability of an individual to perform work he has done in the past despite his depression disability. If SSA finds that a person can do his past work, benefits are denied. If the person cannot, then the process proceeds to the fifth and final step.

STEP FIVE looks at age, education, work experience and physical/mental condition to determine what other work, if any, the person can perform. To determine depression disability, SSA enlists vocational rules, which vary according to age.

For example, if a person with:

Depression would warrant a finding of disabled at any age. The inability to meet any of the basic mental demands of work would entitle a claimant to disability benefits.

Social Security Rulings 85-15 and SSR 96-9p both describe how an individual must, on a sustained basis, be able to understand, remember and carry out simple instructions; make simple work-related decisions; respond appropriately to supervision, coworkers, usual work situations and to deal with changes in a routine work setting.

A substantial loss of ability to meet any one of these basic work related activities would severely limit the potential occupational base for all age groups and justify a finding of disabled. A person who has a medically determinable severe impairment of depression and is unable to unable to understand, remember or carry out simple instructions would be found disabled based on his/her mental residual function capacity.

 

 

Dr. Mike Shery is the director of ACRS and is a licensed clinical psychologist. He has practiced clinical psychology for approximately 24 years and is affiliated with almost all health plans, including:  ValueOptions, Medicare, Cigna, Cigna Behavioral Health, United Health Care, Aetna, First Health, Healthstar, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois, ComPsych, Magellan Health, HFN, Tricare, Humana, most union local plans, most school district plans, Unicare, ChoiceCare, CAPP, Multiplan, Mental Health Network, Managed Health Network, PHCS, PPONext, Humana Military-Tricare, United Behavioral Health and Beech Street.

 

He is board certified as a specialist in professional counseling by the International  Academy of Behavioral Medicine, Counseling and Psychotherapy. He a member of the American Counseling Association.

 

The office is located in Cary, IL, near Crystal Lake and Algonquin, northern Kane County and in southern McHenry County.  In select cases, phone consultations are available for those who don’t live locally> Telephone Counseling.

 

To make an appointment>New Patient Registration  or to learn more about the psychological services he provides call him at 1-847-275-8236 (24 Hrs).

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 To make an appointment, schedule yourself now; Click:  Make appointment for Cary Office: Therapy and Counseling

 

To receive:  Preliminary Evaluation for Disability Benefits

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To return to: Our Nationwide Disability Office

 

 



 

 

 

   
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