Affective disorders are the most common form of psychological illness in the United States. These mood disorders, which include depression, bipolar disorder, and dysthymic disorder, alter the patient’s emotional attitudes. They can undermine the ability to concentrate and the capacity to work—or sometimes, even to communicate—with other people.
Despite the obvious challenges posed by mood disorders, many clients of our Harrisburg Social Security attorneys report encountering huge obstacles in obtaining Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits on the basis of their depressive illness. Mental disorders in general receive heavier scrutiny from Social Security caseworkers than other illnesses, because the ailments have no physical symptoms. People who have not suffered from affective disorders often do not understand how disabling depression can be.
We’ve compiled a list of four tips for people who qualify for federal disability benefits based on a diagnosis of an affective disorder.
Four key points to remember when pursuing SSDI benefits in Pennsylvania
- You’re in this for the long haul. Social Security disability benefits are offered only for cases that are expected to last at least a year. If your affective disorder is only sometimes disabling, then you are probably not a strong candidate for SSDI benefits.
- Therapy can complicate your situation. Medication and counseling can be helpful for many cases of psychological illness. Every individual reacts differently to treatment, so it may require some time to find a mix of therapies that can relieve your symptoms. Affective illnesses are so serious that you must seek out treatment to ease your condition, if possible. But it can take a long time before your doctor can determine whether a particular therapy is working for you. You may have a stronger SSDI claim if your symptoms persist even after several months of treatment.
- Look to your mental health care provider for assistance with your claim. You should let your doctor or therapist know that you are applying for disability benefits. She will be able to document the progression of your illness. Her familiarity with your case can carry great weight with your Social Security caseworker.
- Don’t give up—get help. Depression naturally makes it challenging to overcome obstacles. When you face resistance to your disability claim, you may lack the fortitude needed to demand the benefits you need and deserve. Your instinct may be to give up. Having a trusted Pennsylvania disability lawyer at your side can be a tremendous advantage, from the initial application through the appeals process.
Need more help? Contact the Harrisburg office of Schmidt Kramer at 717-888-8888 or 888-476-0807 today. We offer free consultations to people who are exploring their options for a disability claim.