Can I Receive Social Security Disability Benefits for My Depression?

Posted on behalf of Phillips Law Group on Jul 28, 2017 in Social Security Disability

shadowed woman sittingDepression is an emotional disorder that causes people to feel perpetually sad, inadequate and helpless. Severe cases of depression can be disabling and may qualify a person suffering from such a crippling disorder to file a claim for Social Security disability benefits.

The Phillips Law Group’s experienced Social Security disability benefits lawyers understand what it takes for those suffering from depression to receive disability benefits for their condition.

If you or someone you love needs help with your depression disability application or appealing a denied claim, we are ready to help. Do not hesitate to contact us to schedule a free, no obligation consultation.

How Depression Is Disabling

Depression is a common disorder that most people have experienced in some form during their life. However, most cases of depression are situational and relate to a traumatic or challenging event in a person’s life.

For those who suffer from severe clinical depression, or major depressive disorder, the symptoms of depression last at least two weeks and significantly interfere with their ability to perform daily routines, work and enjoy life.

Depression can become a major impairment that prevents a person from interacting with others, meeting obligations and effectively managing their stress.

Depression Disability Requirements

According to the Social Security Administration (SSA), people who have been diagnosed with depression must meet specific requirements to qualify for Social Security disability benefits. 

You must have medical documents stating you have been diagnosed with depression and have experienced at least five of the following symptoms:

  • Depressed mood
  • Appetite disruptions, such as poor appetite or overeating, that cause weight change
  • A diminished interest in nearly all daily activities and interests
  • Difficulty thinking and concentrating
  • Sleep disruptions (insomnia or oversleeping)
  • Observable psychomotor agitation or retardation
  • Feelings worthless or guilty
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Lack of energy

The SSA also requires that applicants be extremely limited in at least one of the following areas or have a marked limitation in at least two of the following areas:

  • Understanding instructions, learning new information, remembering events, applying new knowledge to tasks and using judgement in decisions.
  • Interacting with others by using socially appropriate behaviors.
  • Concentrating, persisting or maintaining pace in performing tasks. This concerns the ability to complete a task.
  • Adapting or managing oneself, such as applying practical skills and responsibilities like paying bills, cooking, shopping and maintaining good hygiene.

Or, if an applicant does not have an extreme or marked limitation in one of these mental functions, he or she may be able to qualify if it can be proven that the applicant’s condition is serious and persistent.

This requires a medically documented history of the condition dating back at least two years.

You must be able to prove that you are living in a highly structured environment or currently receiving medical treatment, mental health therapy or psychosocial support that reduces the symptoms of your depression.

This will require you to show that you have a minimal capacity to adapt to demands that are not already part of your daily life or to changes in your environment.

Medical-Vocational Allowance

If the SSA finds that your depression is not serious enough to meet the requirements of the disability listing, it will consider you for a medical-vocational allowance, which simply means your disability does not meet the requirements of one of the listings in its Blue Book of impairment listings.

The SSA will consider how your depression symptoms affect your ability to perform unskilled work by reviewing your ability to:

  • Follow simple instructions
  • Make simple work-related decisions
  • Adapt to changes in work routine
  • Appropriately respond to your supervisor and co-workers

If the SSA decides the limitations caused by your depression prevents you from performing simple tasks or unskilled work, your claim will likely be approved.

If you are only filing a Social Security disability benefits claim for depression, it may be difficult to qualify for disability unless you are severely impaired by your condition.

However, if you have a physical impairment, or an additional mental impairment, you will have a greater chance of receiving these benefits.

Contact Our Disability Attorneys Today

If you are suffering from a form of depression that is so severe you no longer hold the capacity to function in a normal way that enables you to work or enjoy life, you may qualify for disability benefits.

The Phillips Law Group’s experienced legal team is ready to work with you to properly file a claim that reflects your disabling condition and how depression has affected your life.

We can discuss filing a Social Security disability claim during a free, no obligation consultation. We understand the difficulties you may be experiencing, and will provide our services on a contingency fee basis, which means you only have to pay us if we help your claim get approved.

Call or text 1-800-706-3000 if your Social Security disability benefits claim was denied.

Back to Top