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Is Depression A Disability?

Yes. Depression is considered a psychiatric disability per the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). There is no doubt that depression can result in becoming disabled. Thus, you can receive Social Security disability payment for this condition if you can prove it has become disabling for you. 

Depression is the second most common medical condition listed on Social Security disability applications. A depressed person often feels sad, hopeless, and inadequate. They may feel tired and experience decreased energy levels nearly or all of the time.

Those with depression may lose interest in doing anything, including socializing with friends, performing in work situations, and even basic hygiene. They feel a lack of motivation and may think about ending their lives. Hence, they can become incapable of performing their core duties at home as well as at work.

What Is Depression?

Depression refers to a serious medical illness accompanied by a “blue mood” or low mood. It can exist for a few months or an entire lifetime. People who suffer from depression and disability begin to lose interest in doing activities. They may go through phases of low self-esteem. Furthermore, their sleep may become affected, either with insomnia or excessive sleeping.

Is Depression a DisabilityDepression has become more prevalent in our society than ever. People can get 

depressed due to losing a family member or a close friend, losing a job, or many other reasons. However, the diagnosis of “clinical depression” is different.

In clinical depression, you can become depressed without any known cause. The chemicals inside the brain that are responsible for controlling mood can become imbalanced, which results in depression. In clinical depression, you feel bad or sad, even if your life is going pretty well. People with clinical depression tend to suffer from more serious symptoms.

Different Types Of Depression

Types of Depression include Major Depressive Disorder, Dysthymia, and Bipolar disorder.

  • Major Depressive Disorder– Symptoms include a feeling of worthlessness, guilt, sleep deprivation, appetite changes, difficulty concentrating, suicidal thoughts, constant sadness, fatigue, and other related symptoms every day.
  • Dysthymia– A mood disorder with symptoms that are similar to Major Depressive Disorder, but less severe.
  • Bipolar Disorder– Formerly known as manic depression, one has periods of mania and depression with this disorder. The manic episodes can result in high self-esteem, extreme talkativeness, lack of sleep, irritability, racing thoughts, and more. Someone who is manic may also engage in risky behavior like drug use and unprotected sex. Prolonged mania can result in psychotic episodes, hallucinations, and delusions. Some people may have to be hospitalized.

As you can see, severe depression disabilities can lead to undesirable and even fatal outcomes. So, a person seeking benefits for depression or related ailments can seek Social Security disability.

Can You Get Disability For Depression?

Depression is a mental health impairment that can adversely affect your thoughts, emotions, mood, energy levels, sleep, weight, and more. If depression is preventing you from working for 12 months or more, you can file your claim to get Social Security disability benefits. Depression is mentioned in section 12.04 in the Blue Book. 

Even if you meet their requirements, there is a possibility that the Social Security Administration (SSA) will claim that your symptoms are not severe enough to approve your disability payment.

In such cases, the SSA will try to determine your eligibility by granting a “medical-vocational allowance.” For this, a Social Security Office near you will consider the extent to which your depression symptoms are affecting your ability to perform your core functions, such as:

  • Following simple instructions
  • Making basic work-related decisions
  • Responding to job situations

So, for disability approval in cases of depression and mental illness, the applicant should prove at least two limitations in some specific regions listed below: 

  • Reduced ability to understand, remember, learn, judge, make decisions, and use relevant information
  • Lack of ability to interact with others
  • Lack of personal capability to manage essential life tasks such as cooking, dressing, paying bills, shopping, personal hygiene, etc.
  • Inability to concentrate at a normal level

The listing of a physical impairment or any other mental impairment affects your chances of receiving Social Security disability (SSDI).

Eligibility Criteria For Depression

Disability for depression is possible if you can show proof of serious illness due to depression as defined by the SSA. Your depression may co occur with anxiety, insomnia, and other disorders. Regardless, you must show evidence of your disabling symptoms that make it difficult to function in daily life. 

Understanding your eligibility to get disability for depression can help you evaluate the issues the disorder is causing you. There are specific symptoms that can make you eligible for SSDI. To qualify for Social Security benefits for depression or related ailments, you must show at least five of the following symptoms:

  • Decreased interest in performing daily activities at home and work
  • Depressed mood 
  • Poor appetite or overeating, resulting in tremendous weight loss or gain
  • Insomnia or oversleeping
  • Issues with thinking and concentration
  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Impacted physical movement
  • Decreased speech capability
  • Physical agitation, such as hand wringing or pacing

To be eligible for Social Security for depression, you should also meet some functional criteria to prove your inability to earn a living.

Appealing A Social Security For Depression Denial

Even if your case is active, you may face denial. This can occur due to even very minor errors in supporting documents used to show your depression-related disability. However, if you have already applied for disability due to depression before and faced a denial, you can appeal the decision.

How To Start A Disability Claim For Depression?

An applicant can apply for disability benefits (SSDI or SSI for depression) online. Through online means, you can fill the application form anytime. You can even call the SSA to schedule an appointment if you are facing any problems in filling out the disability application form. 

In the form, you need to mention all the details of your depression and how it has affected your daily life activities, social communication, concentration, and inability to complete tasks on time. The form should also include how frequently your symptoms of depression are affecting your life.

Financial Assistive Programs If You Are Unable To Work

The claimant who is suffering from depression and is unable to work can go for financial aid programs. Three major programs from the SSA include:

  • Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
  • Medicaid      

SSDI: If depression has disrupted your capability to work, you can apply for SSDI. To qualify for SSDI for depression, you need to have worked legally for the equivalent of 5 years, full time, in the last decade. As of 2014, people receive $1,165 every month for the SSDI program.

SSI: SSI for depression is beneficial for those who have little assets and low income. If your assets are lower than $2,000 monthly, excluding your wedding rings, home, car, and burial savings, you can apply for SSI. If the claimant is married, the spouse must also have a low income, and combined assets must not exceed $3,000. In 2015, SSI disability benefits for individuals were $733 for individuals and $1,000 for couples.

Medicaid: Medicaid offers low-cost healthcare to those with low income levels. Medicaid health insurance kicks in after 2 years of SSDI. It may also be applicable if you are eligible for SSI for at least 1 month.

Interesting Facts About Depression

According to the American Journal of Psychiatry, exercise can be used to manage the effects of depression. Following are some other interesting facts about the condition: 

  • Depression can trigger everyone differently
  • It is estimated that almost 300 million people around the world are affected by depression
  • Depression is different from mood fluctuations
  • Depression is more than just prolonged sadness and affects the body
  • Children can also suffer from depressed moods
  • Depressed brains may look different from healthy brains

Depression can be exceedingly difficult to live with, and untreated depression can result in self-harm or even death. However, the SSA follows a strict procedure in issuing payments for depression. You must have proof of your disability to receive these benefits.

Get Legal Help For Disability For Depression

Chermol & Fishman is one of the most reputable disability law firms in the nation. Our staff can help you pursue the compensation you deserve for suffering related to depression and other mental disorders.

We have been representing those suffering from depression and other disabling mental conditions for years. Our Disability Lawyers in Alabama are aware of all the norms and hurdles related to disability approval. Get started on getting legal help right now by scheduling a free consultation.

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