The Social Security Administration (the “SSA”) typically requires objective evidence before approving a claim for Social Security Disability (“SSD”) benefits. The SSA also usually requires a hearing to assess a claimant’s credibility when evaluating that person’s subjective complaints. Therefore, is it possible for a claimant with depression or anxiety to obtain SSD benefits without a hearing since those conditions are based on subjective symptoms? The answer is yes of course; otherwise, I would not be writing this blog entry.
The strongest type of evidence that an SSD claimant can submit for any type of medical condition is evidence showing the medical condition meets a “listing.” If a claimant meets a listing, then he or she is presumed to be disabled. Like many other medical conditions, there are listings for depression and anxiety.
I represent a woman who had to stop working as a teacher and selling real estate because of her depression and anxiety. I succeeded in securing her SSD benefits without a hearing by submitting evidence that she met the SSA listings for both depression and anxiety. That evidence took two different forms. First, I obtained functional assessments from the treating doctors that matched the criteria of the listings. Second, perhaps just as importantly, I had each doctor explain in a brief narrative report why the claimant met the listings. That way, there is a medical opinion that the claimant met the listings, as opposed to my simply making a legal argument.Previous Next
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