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Can you get disability for depression?” is a question that gets a lot of attention from people with depression. Let’s explore criteria & how to get disability benefits for depression according to Social Security Disability Insurance.

In general, depression is a severe mental illness that affects millions of people all over the world. Depression symptoms such as anxiety, tiredness, and a sense of despair can make it difficult for people with depression to work. If you’ve been suffering from depression for a year or more and are unable to work, you may be eligible for government support. However, proving a social security disability claim based on a mental disorder can be challenging for you.

Can you get disability for depression?
Can you get disability for depression?

This article will clarify whether depression is a disability or not, guide you through evaluating your eligibility for Social Security disability benefits, and how to get disability for depression.

Is depression a disability?

According to Social Security, a disability is any medically determinable physical or mental illness that has prevented a person from working for twelve months, is anticipated to continue to occur for twelve consecutive months, or is anticipated to cause death.

Therefore, to qualify for disability benefits, an applicant’s depressive disorder must have lasted or be expected to last at least one year, according to Social Security. Furthermore, your depression must substantially restrict specific areas of mental functioning and prevent you from working and earning more than $1,300 per month.

What types of depression are disabilities?

To be eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits due to an affective disorder, your medical records must meet at least one of the two sets of criteria listed below.

The first set of criteria is as shown in:

A. Your depression must cause significant restrictions or difficulty in at least two of the following areas:

  • Daily living activities
  • Social interaction
  • Your ability to maintain focus, perseverance, or pace
  • Your condition has deteriorated repeatedly and for an extended period.

B. Your depression must also cause at least four of the following symptoms, either infrequently or regularly:

You are unable to enjoy pleasure or have a general lack of interest in almost all activities.

  • Significant dietary and weight changes
  • Sleep disorder
  • Psychomotor function agitation or retardation
  • Loss of energy
  • Guilt or a sense of worthlessness
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Having trouble focusing or thinking
  • Delusions, hallucinations, or suspicious thoughts

If you are unable to fulfill the first set of criteria, you may still get disability for depression if you meet each requirement in the second set of criteria:

If you pass the above-mentioned criteria, you may be eligible to receive either medical vocational benefits or complete disability benefits. Under this section, medical-vocational allowances are the most common kind of disability payment received by claimants.

A. You must have a minimum two-year history of depression that has been medically verified. 

B. Your medical records must prove that your depression has interfered with your ability to work (although there may be some improvement as a result of counseling or medication prescribed by your doctor). 

C. Your medical records must prove that you experience recurrent, protracted periods when your symptoms worsen.

  • OR your medical records must supply proof that your symptoms deteriorate in response to even a slight increase in mental strain or a change in the environment brought on by a disease’s aftereffects.
  • OR your medical records must show that your depression is so severe that you need to continue living in a “highly assisted living environment” for at least a year.

How to get disability for depression

If you can verify that you fit the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) standards for depression by giving copious amounts of medical data and other supporting documents, your claim will be approved.

You must provide exam notes, any records of mental testing, reports from therapists or counselors, and notes from any psychiatrists or psychologists who have dealt with your illness. Your chances of having a successful claim increase with the amount of support and proof you can offer. The more evidence and documentation you can give, the more probable it is that your claim will be successful.

To successfully file a disability claim, your doctor may need to send a residual functional capacity (RFC) form. It will specify what you are incapable of mentally and physically. If you struggle with concentration, your ability to focus, memory, social skills, and general mental health will all be discussed when it comes to depression

How to get disability for depression

It will enable the disability examiner to fully understand what you are capable of. Your eligibility for disability payments can be figured out by the disability examiner with the use of the RFC.

You must present medical records describing your treatment and whether it was effective. For instance, you could mention any prescription medications you’ve used, whether you’ve had counseling, and how effective it was.

You must prove that despite your best efforts to seek therapy and recover, you remain incapacitated despite following the doctor’s recommended treatment regimens. Your disability claim for depression must be supported by documentation.

How to file disability for depression

Steps for SSA benefit applications

You can submit an online, in-person, or telephone (800-772-1213) application for depression disability benefits:

First step: Gather your information.

The following details may be required to apply:

  • Birth dates, Social Security numbers, marital status, financial institution information, and details about your healthcare team to confirm a diagnosis
  • Name, address, and employment data for up to five prior jobs information on benefits you’ve received detailed information about the disability you have and the treatments you’ve received legal documents like your birth certificate, military ID, W-2 forms, and benefit certificates name, address, and employment data for your past five jobs

Second step: Apply for the application

The only thing you need to do is fill out and submit your application.

Third step: The review

  • Following your submission, the SSA will analyze your application to make sure you satisfy the minimum standards for a disability.
  • Your employment history will be examined as part of the assessment process to determine whether you are currently employed or eligible for SSDI benefits.

Fourth step: Processed application

If your application is accepted, the Disability Determination Services office in your state will receive a copy. The office that will ultimately decide on your benefits is this one.

Fifth step: Notification

  • Wait for the response from the SSA’s letter to know whether you can get disability benefits for depression or not.
  • You can contact 800-772-1213 or access your account online to find out the status of your application (TTY 800-325-0778).

Consider speaking with a disability attorney if you receive a refusal letter and believe your claim is compelling enough to succeed on appeal. The approval rate of applicants who are represented by counsel at an appeal hearing is higher than that of those who are not.

Can you get disability for depression? Key Takeaways

It is common for everyone to endure times of anxiety or depression, especially before big life events such as death, divorce, or job loss. Depression and anxiety that continue for more than two weeks, on the other hand, are causes of clinical depression. You should get immediate therapy from medical professionals such as a psychologist.

Furthermore, if you have been depressed for an extended period and are unable to work, you should apply your application to get disability benefits for depression. Hopefully, this article written by Depression Open Talks will be useful in helping you gain a thorough understanding of depression and help you in applying for disability benefits.



Boland, M. (2021, August 23). Depression: How to Claim Disability. Psych Central. Retrieved November 10, 2022, from https://psychcentral.com/depression/is-depression-a-disability#ssa-financial-benefits

Can I Get Social Security Disability for Depression and Anxiety? (2022, June 10). Benefits.com®. Retrieved November 10, 2022, from https://www.benefits.com/social-security-disability/social-security-disability-depression-anxiety

Depression and Social Security Disability. (n.d.). Disability Benefits Help. Retrieved November 10, 2022, from https://www.disability-benefits-help.org/disabling-conditions/depression-and-social-security-disability

Guarnotta, E. (2020, May 12). Can You Get Disability for Depression? GoodRx. Retrieved November 10, 2022, from https://www.goodrx.com/conditions/depression/can-you-get-disability-for-depression

Morton, D. (n.d.). Social Security Disability and SSI for Depression. Disability Secrets. Retrieved November 10, 2022, from https://www.disabilitysecrets.com/win-can-you-get-disability-for-depression.html

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