Getting Social Security Disability For Your Depression

With depression affecting an estimated 14.8 million people in the United States, it should not be surprising that this debilitating illnesses also affects some people's ability to work. If you are unable to do your job, you should know that you may be able to qualify for monthly payments from the Social Security Administration (SSA). Getting Social Security benefits for your depression can be challenging, so read on to find out how the SSA determines your eligibility.

What qualifies as depression under the SSA rules?

The SSA lists depression under the heading of affective disorders, and you must have experienced the below symptoms for a minimum of 12 months and be expected to experience them for at least another 12 months. To qualify for benefits you must suffer from at least 4 of the following:

  • Sleep problems

  • Lack of energy

  • Little to no interest in activities such as social, recreational, and work

  • Appetite and weight changes

  • Psychomotor retardation issues

  • Suicidal thoughts

  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt

  • Paranoid thinking, delusions or hallucinations

  • Difficulties with thinking and concentration

Additionally, you must display at least two of the following:

1.  Difficulties with social functioning

2.  A restriction in daily living

3.  Marked difficulties maintaining persistence, pace or concentration

4.  Episodes of decompensation (an episode of increased symptoms) of an extended duration.

What you need to do to get your SSD claim approved.

The key to approval is proving that your depression is bad enough to make it difficult, if not impossible, to do your job. To show the SSA that your depression is truly affecting your ability to work, make sure that you:

  • Consistently seek and follow through with mental health treatments and don't refuse any treatments or miss your appointments.
  • Keep careful records of all treatments, appointments and medications.
  • Procure copies of your treatment records.

Keep in mind:

Getting approved for mental health-related conditions, such as depression, can present an additional burden of proof for SSD claimants. The SSA need to see that your condition is severe enough, has lasted long enough and has impacted your ability to work at your job. Unlike physical conditions, mental health conditions can only be proven by your record of professional treatment, and the SSA will deny claims in which the treatment record has gaps and inconsistencies.

Being approved for payments with the initial application is very rare, so do not be deterred by a denial. Seek the help of a social security attorney to assist you in proving that your depression qualifies you for benefits.