Does My Depression Qualify Me for SSD?
The short answer to this question is “maybe.” The Social Security Administration (SSA) does recognize depression as a possible cause of disability.
Not everyone who has been diagnosed with depression is eligible for Social Security disability benefits (SSD).
How Does the SSA Determine SSD Eligibility for Depression?
Depression falls under the Listing of Impairments in the Social Security Blue Book. The Blue Book lists specific criteria for each condition. To qualify for disability based on the listing, an SSD applicant must fulfill the requirements in paragraph A below AND the requirements in EITHER paragraph B or paragraph C:
- Suffer from at least five of a longer list of depression symptoms, which include:
- Depressed mood
- Diminished interest in nearly all activities
- Appetite disturbance with weight change
- Sleep disturbance
- Psychomotor agitation or retardation
- Decreased energy
- Feelings of guilt or worthlessness
- Difficulting concentrating or thinking
- Thoughts of death or suicide
- Show extreme limitation of one or marked limitation of two of the following:
- Ability to understand, remember, and apply information
- Ability to interact with others
- Ability to concentrate, persist, or maintain pace
- Ability to adapt or to manage oneself
- Show all of the following:
- A medically documented history of the condition existing for at least two years
- Ongoing medical care, therapy, and/or a structured environment that reduces symptoms
- Minimal capacity to adapt to changes in environment
What If You Don’t Meet The Blue Book Criteria?
If you don’t meet the Listing requirements above, don’t give up. People who don’t meet a Listing can still qualify for SSD if they can so that they are medically unable to engage in substantial gainful activity (SGA). This is a more complex assessment in which the SSA looks at what types of work you have done in the past, your educational level, and your age to determine whether you are capable of earning a living despite your disability.
Get Help with Your Social Security Disability Claim
Demonstrating that you are disabled by a mental health condition can be more difficult than securing benefits for some physical disabilities. That’s because an X-ray or more sophisticated scan will show exactly how deteriorated your spine is, but there’s no objective test to prove that you’ve lost energy or are feeling anxious.
Whether you’re just applying for SSD for depression or you have been denied and want to appeal, your best next step is to talk to an experienced disability benefits advocate. At Disability Help Group, our advocates know the type of documentation required to establish a claim and how best to prove the severity of your disabling condition.
To learn more about how we can help, call us at (800) 800-3332, or contact us here.