In some severe cases, mood disorders and other mental health conditions can significantly affect your ability to work. If you’re living with a mood disorder and are no longer able to hold a job, you may be eligible for Social Security disability benefits that can help you cover regular expenses. Contact Disability Advocates Group today for a free case evaluation to learn how we can guide you through the SSDI application process and advocate for your right to the benefits you need and deserve. 

Understanding Social Security Disability Benefits

The Social Security Administration (SSA) maintains two programs that provide disability benefits: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). SSDI provides monthly financial payments to workers who develop a disabling condition that prevents them from maintaining gainful employment. Eligibility for SSDI requires an applicant to have a sufficient work history demonstrating that they have paid into the Social Security system. Applicants must also have a recent work history to apply for SSDI.

Conversely, the SSI program provides financial payments to disabled or visually impaired individuals who have little or no income or resources, regardless of their assets. Applicants approved for SSI receive the monthly federal benefit rate minus earned income, other disability benefits, unemployment compensation, or pension benefits. 

How Does the Social Security Administration Determine Disability?

After the Social Security Administration reviews an application to ensure it meets basic requirements for disability benefits, they will forward the application to the state Disability Determination Services office. The Disability Determination Services office uses a five-step evaluation process to determine whether an applicant has a qualifying disability:

  • First, the office will review the applicant’s current employment activities and income to determine if they earn a monthly income above a specific threshold.
  • If an applicant does not work or earns less than the substantial gainful activity threshold, the office will consider whether the applicant has a severe condition. They will review how their condition limits their ability to perform basic work tasks and determine if the condition has lasted or will last for 12 or more months or will result in the applicant’s death. 
  • If the office finds that an applicant has a severe condition, the state office will check if the condition matches a listed impairment or consider whether the severity of the condition equals or exceeds a listed impairment. 
  • If the office determines the applicant has a qualifying condition, it will evaluate the applicant’s ability to perform past jobs.
  • If the applicant cannot perform past jobs, the office will evaluate whether the applicant can perform other kinds of work that exist in substantial numbers in the national economy based on the applicant’s physical limitations, work experience, skills, and education.

An applicant who passes all five steps of the disability evaluation process becomes eligible for Social Security disability benefits.

Can Mood Disorders Qualify as a Disabling Condition?

Mood disorders and other mental health conditions may constitute a disabling condition that may qualify an individual for Social Security disability benefits. Examples of mood disorders that may qualify for SSDI or SSI include:

  • Bipolar disorders
  • Depression
  • Dysthymic disorder
  • Substance-induced mood disorders
  • Panic disorders
  • Phobias

A mood disorder can qualify a person for Social Security disability benefits if the disorder’s symptoms interfere with the person’s ability to perform basic work tasks, including remembering instructions, concentrating, or having social interactions with coworkers, supervisors, or customers. Furthermore, the disorder and its symptoms must have lasted or will last for at least 12 months. 

Because Social Security disability benefits programs have limited resources, the SSA carefully scrutinizes applications to determine whether applicants have a qualifying disabling condition. For mood disorders, case reviewers will evaluate the applicant’s capacity to perform cognitive tasks or have social interactions. Reviewers may also consider whether treatment, including medication or talk therapy, can mitigate an applicant’s symptoms to the extent they can perform work.

Proving that your mood disorder qualifies you for Social Security disability benefits may require various evidence, including medical and mental health records, testimony from your treating providers, and medical and psychological examinations. 

How Can Our Social Security Disability Benefits Lawyers Guide You Through the Application Process?

Unfortunately, most people who apply for Social Security disability benefits have their applications denied on an initial review. Many denials occur because applicants need more information or documentation to establish eligibility. Hiring experienced legal counsel can give you the best chance at securing approval for disability benefits. When you turn to the team at Disability Advocates Group for help with your Social Security disability application, you can expect our attorneys to:

  • Thoroughly investigate your situation to recover all available evidence to help build a compelling benefits application
  • Evaluate your eligibility for SSDI or SSI
  • Work with your medical providers to determine the nature of your disability and explain how your condition prevents you from working
  • Explain your legal options and ensure you know what to expect during the application process
  • Prepare and file your application
  • Communicate with case reviewers at the SSA or state Disability Determination Services office
  • Advocate on your behalf through the appeals process if the SSA initially denies your application

Why Choose the Legal Team at Disability Advocates Group?

Obtaining dedicated legal counsel can help relieve the anxiety and stress of applying for Social Security disability benefits. Disabled individuals have turned to Disability Advocates Group for dedicated advice and representation during the benefits application process because:

  • Our full-service firm assists clients with completing the application forms needed to apply for disability benefits and gathering the records and information needed to support their applications.
  • We take the time to prepare clients for the application process so they have no surprises.
  • We maintain close communication with clients throughout the application process to keep them updated and answer their questions.
  • We charge no fee unless we secure benefits.

Contact Us Today for an Initial Consultation to Discuss Your Legal Options

After becoming disabled from work due to a mood disorder, Social Security disability benefits can provide you with the financial resources you need for living expenses. Get the legal help you need to apply for benefits. Contact Disability Advocates Group today for a free, no-obligation consultation with our experienced Social Security disability benefits lawyers to discuss your options for obtaining financial benefits.