Some days are good, and some are bad. You may be tired of having to explain yourself to others, or perhaps you don’t even bother. You are not upset or feeling blue. You are not weak or a hypochondriac. You have one of the most frequently misunderstood mental health conditions: depression.
If you have found a doctor who recognized your symptoms and is providing the level of care you need, you are fortunate. Many struggle for years without a diagnosis and end up overmedicated or left to suffer on their own. However, a diagnosis is not enough if your condition is debilitating. If your depressive disorder makes it impossible for you to earn a living, you may be eligible to seek disability benefits through the Social Security Administration.
How do I prove my case?
As you may have learned from your own experiences, depression is a complex condition. Depending on the type of depressive disorder you have, your symptoms may vary, may be difficult to describe, and may come and go in cycles. This makes it challenging to gather sufficient evidence to prove your case to the SSA so you can obtain the benefits you need if you are unable to work. The key to any disability case is documentation. Some of the documentation that will help your case includes:
- Records of your symptoms, including decreased energy, low mood, lack of interest, changes in appetite, thought of suicide or others
- Your medical records, including your diagnosis, treatment, medication, therapies and any events that may help your cause
- Evidence that shows how long you have suffered with your symptoms of depression
- The reports of your doctors and therapists
- Documentation of your efforts to hold a job, go to school or obtain training that you could not complete because of your depressive disorder
- Testimony from previous employers or co-workers who can attest to your inability to function at work
The SSA will examine your evidence and look for assurance that you are following orders from your medical professionals and taking every possible step to improve your health. If SSA agents approve your application, you will begin receiving your benefits within a few months. If the agency rejects your application, you have the right to appeal. At any stage of your application or appeal, you may wish to seek the counsel of an Alabama attorney who can guide you through the process and advocate for you.