Parenting A Teen With Major Depressive Disorder? Apply For SSI & Medicaid

One in 5 teens experience depression during their adolescence. However, 8.3% of teens suffer depression for at least one full year at a time. Some forms of depression, particularly major depressive disorder, can lead to suicidal ideation, self-harm, and the inability to function and lead a normal life, all of which can throw the entire family into a tailspin, even financially due to the fact that these behaviors can limit parents' ability to work. 

If you are the parent of a teen who has been diagnosed with major depressive disorder and you are trying to keep up-to-date with your bills while attending to the needs of your teen, you may be relieved to learn that your teen may qualify for Supplemental Security Income from the Social Security Administration. Your teen may also qualify for Medicaid, depending on your state. Here's what you need to know. 

Major Depressive Disorder As A Disability 

Medical documentation of a persistence of depression in children, whether it is continuous or intermittent, may meet the Social Security Administration's requirements for classification of a disability as long as your teen meets at least 5 other criteria, such as: 

  • diminished interest in nearly all activities
  • change in appetite or weight
  • difficulty sleeping or inability to get out of bed
  • unable to concentrate on small tasks 
  • feelings of worthlessness
  • suicidal ideation or acts
  • paranoia or hallucinations 
  • loss of energy or feeling fatigued 
  • involuntary movements, such as rocking back and forth 
  • limited parental income 

The main requirement to meet is the medical documentation that shows the depression is persistent. 

Qualification for Medicaid 

In some states, Medicaid is provided to disability payment recipients and to those who qualify and fill out applications for assistance in paying their medical bills. Children with disabilities, which includes mental health illnesses, typically qualify for Medicaid, regardless of how much money their parents earn.

Medicaid can help cover medical costs that are not covered by your health insurance coverage plan. This also includes copays, which can be expensive for mental health inpatient treatment facilities and ongoing outpatient therapy counseling sessions. 

Consult with a Social Security Disability Lawyer

To determine if your teen qualifies for SSI, get copies of his or her mental health and therapy records to take with you to a consultation with a lawyer who specializes in disability. And along with all the records, ask your teen's psychiatrist and therapist to write letters stating their diagnoses, treatment plans, and prognoses for your teen's mental health. 

To learn more, contact a professional such as Todd East Attorney at Law.