Depression is a serious medical condition. Depression can, for example, make it impossible to concentrate and make it hard to sleep—issues that can prevent you from doing your job or that could put your co-workers in danger.
The requirements for receiving Social Security disability benefits for depression are generally the same as those for any other illness, condition, or health problem: you must prove that you suffer from depression and you must meet the eligibility requirements for Social Security disability.
SSD May Be an Option If You Are Totally Disabled by Depression
Generally speaking, those with depression must either prove that they are unable to work because of their mental illness though specific criteria in the Social Security Administration’s impairment listing, or they can be granted a medical-vocational allowance. To secure a medical-vocational allowance based on depression, you must prove that depression affects your ability to carry out simple instructions, make work-related decisions, interact normally with colleagues, or understand changes in routine.
You may be able to obtain Social Security disability benefits for depression if you can prove to the Social Security Administration (SSA) that you qualify. To submit a successful application, it is important to:
- Have medical evidence proving that you qualify for SSD because of your depression. For example, you will need to prove that you have a minimum of four out of nine symptoms outlined by the SSA in the Blue Book and that your depression interferes with your activities of daily living, social functioning or focusing, or that you have repeated and extended periods with worsening symptoms.
- Get your application right the first time. Even a small mistake on your application can result in a denial.
- Understand if you qualify for SSD. Not everyone with depression will be able to obtain Social Security disability benefits. Therefore, it is important to understand your rights before you submit an application.
It is also important to know what to do if your application is denied and your depression symptoms change over time.
You May Need to Reapply
Depression is a condition that can change over time. While you may not have met the qualifications for Social Security disability when you first considered applying for benefits, you may qualify for Social Security disability now. Specifically, you should reconsider applying if your symptoms:
- Significantly interfere with your activities of daily living or social functioning
- Significantly interfere with your ability to focus
- Worsen during repeated and extended periods
If one or more of these things is true, you may now qualify for Social Security disability—even if you didn’t qualify when you were initially diagnosed with this serious medical condition.
Remember, Depression May Not Be Your Only Disability
Unfortunately, suffering from a serious illness or chronic health condition can often result in depression. However, many disabled people applying for Social Security make the mistake of neglecting to mention their depression when applying for unrelated disability benefits. If your depression is affecting your ability to work, and if your depression has been verified and treated, you should include depression on your list of disabilities when applying for benefits.
Get the Help You Need to Get the Benefits You Deserve
We will be honest: it can be more difficult to secure disability benefits for a mental condition like depression than it is for an obvious physical limitation. However, with the right medical evidence and approach, a person who truly suffers from chronic and severe depression should be able to receive the Social Security disability benefits he or she deserves. Get help today from an experienced, knowledgeable disability attorney and begin learning about your case today. Call 800-800-6353 to request a free case evaluation.
by Paul B. Burkhalter Managing Partner of Morgan & Weisbrod, Board Certified in Social Security Disability Law.