Can You Get Social Security Disability for Depression?

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Anyone who has ever lived with severe depression knows that it can make simple, day-to-day tasks seem nearly impossible. It is not uncommon for this difficulty to become so severe that it affects your ability to work.

You may be wondering, “Is depression a disability?” or if you can’t work because of depression, you may be wondering whether you could qualify for Social Security Disability (SSDI) payments.

The good news is that some people living with depression may qualify for SSDI. However, the Social Security Administration (SSA) has very stringent guidelines for what degree of depression is debilitating enough to qualify for benefits. Proving that your symptoms satisfy these requirements can be challenging, but an experienced disability lawyer can help.

Requirements to Qualify for SSDI Due to Depression

The SSA classifies depression as an “affective disorder,” which is listed in the Social Security “Blue Book” separately from physical disorders. According to Section 12.04 of these guidelines, in order to qualify for SSDI, your depression must be causing the following symptoms:

At least five of the following:

  • Depressed mood
  • Decreased interest in almost all normal activities
  • Change in appetite and weight
  • Disturbance in sleep habits
  • Observable agitation or retardation of psychomotor function
  • A decrease in energy
  • Feeling guilty or worthless
  • Thinking of death or suicide,


“Extreme limitation” of one or “marked limitation” of two of the abilities to:

  • Understand, remember, or apply information
  • Interact with other people
  • Concentrate, maintain pace, or persist in doing something
  • Adapt or manage yourself


Evidence that your depression is “serious and consistent,” meaning both that:

  • You have been treated with some form of therapy, psychosocial support, or “highly structured environment” that has made your symptoms diminish.
  • You have a very limited capacity to adapt to changes in your living environment.

As you can see, the requirements for qualifying for SSDI due to depression are strict, and many people living with very serious cases of depression may not qualify.

Why You Need a Lawyer to Help You Receive Your Benefits

Does all of this sound difficult and confusing? Unfortunately, it can be. Proving to the SSA that you tick all of these boxes can be a nightmare, and certainly more than many people living with debilitatingly severe depression can handle.

Fortunately, help is available. An experienced disability lawyer will be familiar with which symptoms of depression are recognized by the SSA, which forms of medical documentation are necessary, how to package all of the evidence most effectively, and how to build a persuasive claim. With skilled legal assistance, you will have a better chance of securing the disability payments you need.

Contact a Social Security Disability Lawyer for Assistance

If depression has left you unable to work, you are not alone. The South Carolina disability attorneys of Schiller & Hamilton are ready to fight for you. We will work hard to help you get the disability benefits that can change your life.

For more information on how we can help, call us or contact us now for a free consultation.

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