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Obtaining SSDI benefits for depression and related disorders

Depression and bipolar disorder afflict many people in the Houston area. In the more severe cases, persons with the condition may not be able to work or lead normal lives. Social Security Disability Insurance benefits are available if the conditions of the illness are especially severe.

As with all disabling conditions, the person seeking benefits for depression or bipolar disorder must present written medial evidence of both the disease and its disabling effects. For depression, the medical evidence must show one of three conditions. For a depressive disorder, the evidence must show the presence of five out of nine conditions, including depressed mood, lack of interest in almost all activities, change in appetite with corresponding change in weight, sleep disturbance, feelings of guilt or worthlessness or thoughts of death or suicide.

For bipolar disorder, the medical evidence must demonstrate the existence of three out of seven conditions, including pressured speech, flights of ideas, inflated self-esteem, diminished need for sleep, distractibility or involvement in activities that are likely to result in painful consequences that are not recognized by the patient.

In addition to medical evidence of behavioral symptoms as outlined above, the applicant must also demonstrate one of two effects on behavior. The first such effect is extreme limitation in understanding, remembering or applying information, interacting with others and managing oneself. The second effect is a medically documented history of the condition persisting for at least two years.

Establishing a qualifying disability based on depression or bipolar syndrome can be difficult because the diseases are not susceptible to empirical medical diagnoses. Anyone considering seeking benefits for mental disability for themselves or a loved one may wish to consult an attorney who is experienced in handling disability claims for help in assembling the medical evidence, completing the application or undertaking an appeal if the claim is denied.

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