Social Security Disability for Depression

Is Depression a Disability?

Depression is one of the most common mental illnesses. According to WHO data, over 300 million have one or the other form of mental illness. It is a severe disorder that may impact an individual’s way of functioning. Unlike physical diseases, it is a mood disorder that may affect how an individual feels, thinks, and behaves. The symptoms may vary from person to person.

Depression in its various forms affects the overall well-being of an individual. A person suffering from depression may develop feelings of fatigue, hopelessness, and sadness. The loss of interest in activities is a common symptom of depression. In severe cases, individuals even have suicidal thoughts. The symptoms can be cyclical or chronic, depending on person to person. Let us discuss if the Social Security Administration department considers it as a disability or not.

Different medical conditions that qualify for disability benefits have been listed under the Blue Book. It must be noted that the SSA department doesn’t have a separate listing for depression. However, it is considered a disability under Section 12.04 Affective Disorders. Therefore, if you’re suffering from depression, you can consider applying for disability benefits.

However, the condition must be severe that it prevents your ability to work and function properly. When depression is serious, a person may be unable to work. They may experience a lack of concentration, which hinders their ability to work. 12.04 listing consists of symptoms and functional problems that you must exhibit if you are suffering from the medical condition.

You must have at least five of the following symptoms to be eligible for getting disability for depression.

  1. Depressed mood
  2. Loss of interest in almost all activities
  3. Appetite disturbance (poor appetite or overeating)
  4. Sleep disturbance (either experiencing insomnia or oversleeping)
  5. Lack of concentration and thinking abilities
  6. Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
  7. Suicidal thoughts
  8. Slowness in physical activities

To receive Social Security disability for depression benefits, you must experience the above symptoms. In addition to these symptoms, it must limit your ability to work and function effectively.

If you have been experiencing these symptoms for a year or more than that, you can consider getting disability benefits. You will receive financial assistance from the government that will help you live a better life.

Can You Get Disability For Depression?

To get the disability benefits, you must fulfill the eligibility criteria set by the Social Security Department. There are two sets of standards for the eligibility process. You must meet at least one of them to get disability benefits:

The first set of rules includes the following conditions:

Your depression must limit your ability to work. It must be severe enough to create difficulty in at least two of the following areas:

  1. Daily life functioning
  2. Social functioning and socializing abilities
  3. Ability to concentrate, pace, or persistence
  4. Repeated occurrences of deterioration in your condition

Our medical condition must meet any two of the above requirements. Depression is a severe condition that affects the ability to concentrate and operate the normal functioning of life. A person often ends up isolating themselves. It leads to negative social interactions and can change an individual’s life to a great extent.

The part B of the first set of criteria talks about some of the common symptoms. To get SSI for depression, you must meet these criteria. Your condition must result in at least four of the following conditions. You must experience these symptoms, either consistently or occasionally:

Loss of interest in nearly all the activities

  1. Decreased energy levels
  2. Feeling of guilt
  3. Suicidal thoughts
  4. Changes in eating habits
  5. Changes in weight
  6. Unable to think and concentrate properly
  7. Hallucinatory episodes
  8. Paranoid thinking

The second set of criteria includes the following conditions:

You must have medical records to prove your disability. The condition must have lasted for at least two years.
The medical records and reports must show that it limits your ability to work. It must be clear that the reason behind your poor condition is depression. If you are suffering from any other problem that affects your working abilities, you might not benefit from disability. To receive SSI for depression benefits, depression must be the reason behind your lack of concentration and ability to work or function.
The reports must show that your condition is severe. The SSA department approves disability benefits for long-term disabling conditions. Your reports must show that your situation will get worse with time.

One thing to note here is that you will get disability benefits even if you don’t miss the first set of criteria. However, you must meet all the conditions from the second set of rules in such a situation.

If you meet the above requirements, the SSA department will consider your application. They will review your application and check your documents. The department will verify the authenticity and severity of your condition. If they find it severe enough, only then you will be approved for the benefits.

Common reasons why mental disability claims are denied

Mental health disorders are invisible disabilities. There is no physical test to prove that you are disabled. On the other hand, physical conditions are easier to prove. You can back your report with x-rays, data, and other diagnostic tests. In mental health diseases, there exists a lack of testing methods.

Therefore, you won’t be able to prove that you’re suffering from a disabling condition. You can minimize the risks of getting denied. Let us discuss some of the major reasons why your claim for social security disability for depression may get rejected. Here are some of the common causes:

No record of mental treatment – Sometimes, applicants have no medical records for treatment. To be eligible, you must get it treated from a psychologist or a psychiatrist. If you have never visited a psychiatrist, the department will consider that as a reason for denying your claim.

Poor treatment notes from your doctor – Visiting the doctor or seeking a psychiatrist’s consultation is necessary. However, if they are not maintaining proper documents and keeping records of your health. There are chances that the SSA evaluator will reject your application. Therefore, you must keep a check and ask your doctor to maintain proper records and keep documentation.

You did not follow the prescribed medications and treatment suggested by your doctor – The SSA department will state that the reason behind the worsening of your condition is you. Therefore, you must follow the prescribed medications and treatments suggested by your doctor. If you are not following anything, it could lead to trouble.

How can a disability lawyer help you?

As mentioned, these are invisible disabilities. Therefore, you will face a certain level of difficulty in proving your disability. To get depression and disability benefits, you can speak to a lawyer.

A qualified lawyer will help you understand the eligibility criteria. They will assist you at each step of the application procedure.
Mental illnesses are not easy to prove like physical illnesses are. Therefore, you must have all the medical documents and records that prove your severe condition. You need to have a psychiatric report.

Schedule a free consultation with us. Our team of experienced lawyers will help you get the disability claim for your medical condition. We take care of all the legal hassles, right from application process to final approval of your benefits.

Back to News


Free Disability Claim Evaluation

    Contact Us Today!

    P: 815-942-6700

    F: 815-942-6540

    Hanson & Fisher Law Office

    1802 N Division St

    Suite 304

    Morris, IL 60450

    Office Hours

    Mon - Fri: 8:30 AM - 5:00 PM

    Sat - Sun: Closed

    * Evening appointments available upon request