Depression And Social Security Benefits: Eligibility And Application

One of the most common conditions that the Social Security Administration (SSA) receives disability applications for is depression. The National Institute of Medical Health (NIMH) states that as of 2017, an estimated 17.3 million adults in the United States have had at least one major depressive episode during the previous year.

This number represents approximately 7.1% of all U.S. adults in 2017. The figures are huge and every year the numbers increase. You might think that depression is a normal part of life that could not possibly entitle you to disability benefits, but that is often not the case. 

Depression is a mood disorder that causes a person to suffer persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness, anxiety, and more. As a result of such feelings, people suffering with depression often experience fatigue or low energy. 

Depression can become so severe that a person may not be able to concentrate on work or even carry out routine daily activities. One of the more common symptoms of depression is a lack of interest in things that were previously enjoyed.

Who Are Eligible to Receive Disability Benefits With Depression?

Depression can be short-lived but it can also continue for weeks and months. Some people suffer from situational depression due to major life events, such as separation or divorce, or the loss of a loved one. This is normal and may resolve itself, but an episode of depression that continues for more than a few days, or frequent episodes of shorter duration over time, maybe cause for concern.  In those cases, an individual should seek the help of a trained medical profession who will determine whether there is a clinical diagnosis of depression that requires treatment. 

People affected with clinical depression are often eligible for Social Security disability benefits. Depression can be as disabling as other physical ailments.  Mental health conditions like depression can restrict a person’s ability to earn a living or their family life and the ability to maintain healthy relationships.  Severe clinical depression can lead a person to be bedridden, or worse, suicidal.

Social Security Disability Benefits for Depression

A person suffering from depression may be entitled to receive Social Security Disability Benefits if they meet specific criteria. This person may also be entitled to a medical-vocational allowance based on the severity of the condition and other qualifying factors.

The SSA provides a list of common, serious conditions that may entitle someone to disability benefits. The purpose of this list is to quickly grant disability benefits to qualified applicants with severe disabilities. An applicant with one of these conditions who meets SSA criteria will likely receive a faster decision on their disability application due to the severity of their condition.

Disability due to depression includes a list of symptoms and related functional problems that cause impairment. A person who is experiencing severe depression will experience functional problems that restrict their ability to work or perform normal activities of daily life. 

To be eligible for Disability Benefits For Depression, an applicant must be experiencing at least 5 symptoms from the following list:

  • Depressed mood;
  • Decreased interest in almost all activities;
  • Appetite disturbance with change in weight;
  • Sleep disturbance;
  • Observable psychomotor agitation or retardation;
  • Decreased energy;
  • Feelings of guilt or worthlessness;
  • Difficulty concentrating or thinking; or
  • Thoughts of death or suicide

The SSA will then rate the degree of an individual’s functional limitation based on the following four broad functional areas:

  • Remembering, understanding, and application of information – including understanding instructions at work, the ability to acquire new knowledge, and applying learned techniques at work. This also includes the ability to make appropriate judgments and decision-making abilities.
  • Social interaction – The ability to interact with others with socially appropriate behaviour. 
  • The ability to complete a task – The ability to concentrate on a job including persistence and maintaining an appropriate pace while performing a task.
  • Adapting or managing oneself – The ability to perform work like paying bills, cooking, shopping, practicing good hygiene, and dressing. 

A five-point scale will be used to determine whether the degree of functional limitation is: none, moderate, marked, and extreme, with extreme representing a degree of limitation incompatible with gainful activity.

Apply for Social Security Disability for Depression Using Reputable Attorneys

You may qualify for Social Security benefits due to depression. The SSA application process can be complex, time consuming and overwhelming, requiring a large amount of medical evidence and understanding legal jargon. That is why the knowledgeable attorneys are Berke Law Firm, P.A. are here to help. 

Contact a Disability Lawyers In Orlando who has the experience to navigate through the complexities of the SSA application process. Book your consultation today.