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Depression is more than sadness. It is a significant illness that may qualify you for Social Security disability benefits in some circumstances.

As with all other serious mental illnesses, you may receive Social Security disability benefits for severe or chronic depression as long as the Social Security Administration (SSA) can verify that you are depressed and that your depression prevents you from working.

Medical Records Will Be Required: Know What Symptoms Are Important to the SSA

When the SSA considers your application for disability benefits, a thorough review of your medical records is going to be necessary. You may qualify for Social Security disability if your application proves that you meet the requirements of Section 12.04 of the Listing of Impairments or if your application proves that your disability makes it impossible for you to work.

The SSA will consider, for example whether your depression does any of the following:

  • Interrupts your activities of daily living.
  • Harms your ability to function normally in society.
  • Makes it difficult to focus or concentrate.
  • Has lasted for extended and repeated periods of time.

Some of the factors that may be relevant to the SSA’s decision include:

  • A loss of interest in activities you normally enjoy.
  • A lack of energy or problems with fatigue.
  • Insomnia or oversleeping.
  • Difficulty concentrating.
  • A lack of physical movement.
  • Feelings of low self-esteem or guilt.
  • Hallucinations or paranoid delusions.
  • Suicidal thoughts or tendencies.

If you experience any of these serious signs of depression that make it impossible for you to work, you might wish to consider applying for Social Security disability benefits.

Not Everyone With Depression Will Qualify for Benefits

Your depression must be significant and keep you from working. Sometimes, depression is not your only condition. If you have depression along with another disability, you should include all of your conditions on your application for benefits.

If you have questions or would like to speak with a lawyer confidentially about your application, please start a live chat with us now and download a free copy of our book, Social Security Disability: What You Need to Know. 

Morgan & Weisbrod LLP

by Paul B. Burkhalter
Managing Partner of Morgan & Weisbrod, Board Certified in Social Security Disability Law.


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