Monthly Disability Benefits | Social Security Disability Benefits for Depression | SSD | SSDI | SSI
Depression is a common complaint mentioned by applicants for Social Security disability. Clinical depression is a mood disorder characterized by feelings of sadness, loss, anger, or frustration that interfere with a person’s ability to function in everyday life. Depression is not something a person can just “snap out of.” Depression is caused by an imbalance of brain chemicals and often requires medical treatment to recover time. Over 16 percent of Americans will suffer from major depression in their lifetimes.
Many people wonder if the Social Security Administration considers depression to be a disability that would qualify them for monthly SSI or SSDI payments. The answer is yes, although the outcome of your claim will depend on a number of factors, including the severity of your depression and its duration. Those who suffer from a mental illness such as depression are entitled to monthly disability benefits from the SSA, just as someone who cannot work due to a physical illness would be.
A licensed mental health professional or physician must evaluate your condition and determine if your depression is so severe that it will prevent you from working and persist for more than 12 months. A Social Security attorney or law firm can help you file your application for disability benefits and help present the evidence about your depression in the most compelling way possible.
The Social Security administration will want to review all of your medical records, including any pertaining to treatment for depression. These may include records from any psychiatrists, counselors, mental health clinics, hospitals or in-patient treatment facilities where you have received medication, counseling, therapy or other treatment for your mental illness.
The following symptoms are some of the hallmark signs of depression. You may be suffering from depression if you exhibit four of these symptoms.
Pervasive loss of interest in almost all activities;
Appetite disturbance with change in weight;
Psychomotor agitation or retardation;
Feelings of guilt or worthlessness;
Difficulty concentrating or thinking;
Thoughts of suicide;
Hallucinations, delusions, or paranoid thinking;
If the above symptoms are present and result in at least two of the following, the Social Security Administration is likely to classify your depression as being severe enough to qualify you for monthly Social Security disability payments in the form of SSDI or SSI benefits:
Marked restriction of activities of daily living; or
Marked difficulties in maintaining social functioning; or
Marked difficulties in maintaining concentration, persistence, or pace; or
Repeated episodes of decompensation, each of extended duration;
If you have a medically documented history of chronic depression for the past two years and this condition has limited your ability to work, you are likely to qualify for Social Security disability benefits. One of our Social Security attorneys can review your case and weigh your chances of having your disability claim for depression approved.
For more information about depression, visit the Social Security Administration’s website.
Tips for coping with depression
Build supportive relationships. Having a strong network of friends and family can do a great deal to help you lift the fog of your depression and keep it away longterm. Take the time to share with your network what you are feeling, be sure to schedule social activities outside of the house even when you are feeling blue, and consider joining a depression support group where you can meet individuals who understand exactly what you are coping with.
Nuture yourself. To help overcome depression, set aside time to engage in the activities you have always enjoyed. You could consider picking up an old hobby, such as biking or reading. You can also reach out to others to engage in this activity with you. You should push yourself outside of your comfort zone and back out into the world.
Adopt healthy habits. Simple things such as spending time outdoors, getting 8 hours of sleep a night, adopting a healthy diet, or engaging in yoga or other physical activity, are proven mood boosters.
Manage your stress. Stress can prolong depression, so it is important to identify the things that stress you out and find ways to cope with them. Once you’ve identified the problem areas, you can map out ways to avoid the stressors or otherwise minimize their impact.
Seek help. Some depression can only be combated with the help of a mental health professional. It is important to be open with your doctor about your depression and to follow their guidelines for treatment. The SSA will want to see that you have taken steps to treat your depression and is unlikely to approve your claim if you have not followed your doctor’s treatment plan. A Social Security lawyer can help evaluate your mental health records to see if more treatment might help your case.