If you are struggling with depression and are unable to work, you may be eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits. However, the process of applying for SSDI benefits can often feel overwhelming when you are in the middle of a mental health crisis.
In this comprehensive guide, we'll answer your frequently asked questions and provide information on how to apply for SSDI for depression with the help of a Louisiana disability benefits attorney. Let us help you get the financial assistance you need to manage your depression and improve your quality of life.
How Do I Know if I Am Eligible for SSDI Benefits for Depression?
To qualify for Social Security disability, you must meet the criteria for disability, have earned enough Social Security credits, and meet the duration-of-work-credit requirement. The Social Security Administration (SSA) uses a five-step process to determine eligibility for SSDI benefits. These steps include:
- Determining if you are engaged in substantial gainful activity
- Determining if your disability qualifies for benefits based on its severity
- Determining if your condition meets or equals a listing in the SSA's "Blue Book"
- Determining if you can perform your past relevant work
- Determining if you can perform any other work given your skills, education, and medical limitations
A Louisiana disability benefits lawyer can help you decide if you meet the eligibility criteria and guide you through your Social Security disability claim.
What Medical Evidence Do I Need to Provide When Applying for SSDI Benefits for Depression?
When applying for SSDI benefits for depression, you must provide medical evidence that supports your claim. This evidence should include:
- A diagnosis of clinical depression
- A medically documented history of treatment showing antidepressants you’ve taken, counseling you’ve received, and any specialists you’ve visited
- Medical records and reports
- A mental status exam
- A functional assessment demonstrating your depression is severe enough to keep you from working
How Do I Apply for SSDI Benefits for a Mental Health Disorder?
You can apply for Social Security benefits online, by phone, or in person at a Social Security Administration (SSA) office. When applying, you will need to provide information about your work history, medical condition, and treatment. You will also need to provide information about your education, work skills, and abilities. Since missing or incomplete information can result in delays or denials, you should work with a Louisiana disability benefits attorney throughout the SSDI application process.
Want to learn more about receiving SSDI benefits? Our free e-book, Your Guide to a Successful Social Security Disability Claim: What Claimants, Their Family Members, and Healthcare Providers Need to Know, explains what to expect from each step of your SSDI claim. Request your copy today.
What Happens After I Apply for Social Security Disability Insurance?
After you apply for SSDI benefits for depression or a related mental disorder, your application will undergo an initial review and determination. If your claim is denied, you can request reconsideration and provide additional evidence. If your claim is denied again, you can request a hearing from an administrative law judge. If you are still denied benefits, you can seek review from the Appeals Council and, ultimately, from a federal court.
How Long Does It Take to Receive SSDI Benefits?
The time it takes to receive SSDI benefits for depression can vary depending on the complexity of your case and the stage of the application process. On average, it can take three to five months to receive an initial determination on your application. If your claim is denied and you request a hearing, it can take an additional 14 to 18 months to receive a decision. A Louisiana disability benefits attorney can provide guidance on the timeline for your specific case.
Can I Work and Receive Social Security Disability Benefits?
If you are receiving SSDI benefits for depression, you may be able to work and earn income. The SSA has work incentive programs that allow you to test your ability to work while still receiving benefits. These programs include the Trial Work Period, Extended Period of Eligibility, and Ticket to Work. However, there are rules and limitations on how much you can earn and how it affects your benefits.
How Can I Find a Louisiana Social Security Disability Attorney?
If you need assistance with your SSDI claim for depression, you can find a Louisiana disability benefits attorney through legal directories, referrals from other professionals, or online searches. However, it’s important to choose an attorney who has experience with SSDI claims and understands the process and requirements. Testimonials from satisfied clients can help you determine if an attorney might be a good fit for your needs.
Applying for SSDI benefits for depression can be a complex process. However, with the help of a Louisiana disability benefits attorney, you can increase your chances of receiving benefits.