Social Security and Depression

Bill Weil , July 20, 2015

Social Security and DepressionMany claimants file for disability because they suffer from depression. Others, due to ongoing chronic pain or other symptoms, may became depressed and although depression may not be their main problem, it may became part of their disability claim. If you notice symptoms of depression because of your medical, and financial situation, you should seek treatment. SSA may set a consultative examination to evaluate the impact of your depression on your ability to work.

There is a range of testing for mental consultative exams, including a full psychiatric exam and a psychological exam which is essentially an IQ test. Very often, however, a claimant who has listed depression or anxiety on a claim will be sent to an abbreviated form of exam, known as a mental status exam.
A mental status exam will include data regarding your appearance, the way you speak, apparent physical limitation, your ability to sustain eye contact, how well you remember things, your concentration. They will also ask a claimant the date, time and place of the examination. They will also evaluate your ability to interpreter proverbs and your ability to deal with social situation.

Can your disability be granted based on a mental status exam? Likely not. However, that does not mean that a claimant who is sent to a mental status exam cannot be approved. Sometimes, psychological testing is scheduled simply to obtain recent additional medical evidence and in many cases the existing medical evidence is sufficient to warrant an award of benefits.

For this reason, individuals who file for disability on the basis of depression, or, really, any mental impairment, should strive to maintain a record of continuous and ongoing treatment. They should also stay compliant with their prescribed medications as a failure to do so may contribute to the basis for a denial.

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