Can I qualify for SSDI if I have depression?

On Behalf of | Jan 31, 2023 | SSDI Mental Impairments

Depression is one of the most common illnesses in the United States. The CDC reports that at least 4.7 percent of American adults aged 18 or older experience regular feelings of depression. Symptoms of depression, formally known as major depressive disorder or clinical depression, include:

  • Regularly feeling sad, empty or hopeless
  • Loss of interest in favorite hobbies
  • Disturbed sleep, such as insomnia or sleeping too much
  • Lethargy
  • Changes in appetite leading to weight loss or gain
  • Frequent, recurring thoughts of dying or committing suicide
  • Suicide attempts

With treatment options like medication and therapy, millions of Americans are able to manage their symptoms well enough that it usually does not affect their day-to-day lives. Unfortunately, finding the right treatment plan can take a long time, perhaps years. Then there are people whose symptoms are so severe and resistant to treatment that earning a living would be virtually impossible.

Getting approved for SSDI

Fortunately, the Social Security Administration recognizes depression as a disabling mental condition for Social Security Disability (SSDI) benefits. To qualify, you must show that your condition causes at least five symptoms from a list maintained by SSA rules and that you are experiencing “extreme limitation” of one, or “marked limitation” of two of the following list:

  • Understanding, remembering or applying information
  • Interaction with others
  • Concentrating, persisting or maintaining pace
  • Adapting or managing oneself

If none of these limitations apply, you can alternatively show that your depression is “serious and persistent.” SSA requires at least two years of medical history as evidence for this.

How an SSDI attorney can help

Getting approved for SSDI benefits based on a mental condition can be challenging because the disability is not necessarily as obvious as, for example, paralysis or lost limbs. Rejected SSDI claims are very common. You have the right to appeal, but the process can be confusing and overly complicated without experienced legal guidance.

FindLaw Network