Applying for Social Security Disability with Depression

Here is a wonderfully helpful post by guest blogger, Ram Meyyappan from The Social Security Disability Help website

Applying for Social Security Disability with Depression

Severe depression can make it impossible to maintain employment, or at least to maintain gainful employment. If you suffer from persistent depression despite receiving appropriate treatment and following prescribed therapies, you may be able to receive disability benefits through one of both of the Social Security Administration’s (SSA’s) disability Programs:

SSDI and SSI Basic Eligibility

Both SSD programs require you have a persistent and severe medical condition that prevents you from maintaining gainful employment. SSDI also requires you have work credits built up from your employment history. SSI, on the other hand, has no work credit requirements, but is instead a need-based program with strict income and financial resource limitations.

For more information on specific eligibility requirements for SSDI or SSI, please visit:

Qualifying Medically for Disability with Depression

To meet the SSA’s medical requirements to receive SSD benefits, your application and medical records must show your depression results from an organic mental disorder, which simply means there must be clinical evidence of a physical cause, like a chemical imbalance in the brain. You must additionally suffer from at least one of the following persistent and severe symptoms:

  • Disorientation
  • Impaired memory
  • Delusions
  • Hallucinations
  • Personality changes
  • Severe fluctuations in mood or mood disturbances
  • Issues with impulse control
  • Exaggerated and uncontrollable emotional outbursts
  • Loss of intellectual ability or IQ impairment

You must also suffer from at least two of the following severe limitations:

  • Issues completing normal activities of daily living
  • An inability to maintain relationships or interact socially
  • Trouble concentrating or completing tasks
  • Recurrent and lengthy episodes of decompensation when your previously controlled symptoms worsen significantly despite following prescribed therapies

You can also show the severity level required for receiving SSD benefits by proving your depression symptoms:

  • have been ongoing for two years or more despite consistently receiving treatment


  • result in at least one of the following:
  • recurrent and lengthy episodes of decompensation
  • inability to adjust to changes, even minor ones, without experiencing an episode of decompensation
  • an inability to function without consistent support and monitoring, with documentation that indicates you will continue to require that same level of support and monitoring on a daily basis for a significant period of time

It is also important to understand that depression is often accompanied by other medical conditions, like anxiety, drug addiction, and eating disorders. If can also commonly result from other chronic illnesses, like physical impairments such as fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, and lupus.

If you suffer from any other medical condition, whether mental or physical, your application for disability benefits must also contain detailed information about that condition and its effects on your everyday abilities. The SSA will take all of your impairments under consideration when determining if your meet the medical eligibility requirements to receive SSDI and/or SSI benefits.

More information on applying for disability with depression can be found here:

Applying for Benefits

Applications for disability can be completed and submitted online with the SSA’s website, or in person at your local SSA office. If you apply in person an appointment is required and you can set the appointment date by contacting the main help line at 1-800-772-1213.

Collect as many of your medical records and other documentation as you can before applying and be sure to submit that evidence to the SSA along with your application. You may additionally want to get help with your claim from an advocate or attorney that is more familiar with the application and review processes, including applications filed with a diagnosis of depression.

It can take several months for your application to be reviewed, so be patient. It is also common for claims to initially be denied. If you are denied, be sure you proceed with filing the required appeals to continue trying to get disability benefits. You should also consider hiring a disability attorney or advocate to help you with the appeals process.

Article by Ram Meyyappan
Social Security Disability Help

The Social Security Disability Help website


If you would like to be a guest blogger on this site, please contact me at langecarrie (at) gmail (dot) com. Guest posts must relate to suicide prevention, grief support, mental health, or in some way be pertinent to the content of this blog. Thank you!


9 thoughts on “Applying for Social Security Disability with Depression

  1. Thanks for posting this information, Carrie. I went through this process for my husband years ago, and it was one of the worst experiences of our long journey through depression. I can’t stress strongly enough that anyone applying for SSI or SSDI due to depression or other mental health issues should have an attorney at their side. We were denied three times, after jumping through endless and pointless hoops, before we got Legal Aid involved. Our awesome attorney had my husband’s previously denied benefits started within six months, AND he secured us two years’ worth of back payments because we had been falsely denied. It’s my belief that the SSA will find any way possible to deny a claim, at least in terms of claims of disability due to depression. -Amy

    • Hello everyone, I’m someone living with depression and several others mentioned above on SSI and to me SSI is a complete nightmare. I’ve been on it since I was 17 years old, almost 20 years ago, because of life long physical abuse from my own family and some friends of family. I recently went to SSI again about working and once again they won’t allow it. They give me $699.00 a month reduced from $720.00 to live on and I barely have enough after rent and bills even for transportation. I haven’t seen a doctor or a dentist in years. Yes I told them and they mentioned Masshealth. I have a dream business that will help me with the cancer cause as well as others and basically SSI is telling me my dreams and hopes are nothing and that I should just lay down and die already. Those of us with depression and anxiety the best jobs are a home business, it’s less stressful so they won’t flare up in the wrong places, like in public. Do they even understand my fight to live? Working is one of them in my opinion. I need some sort of self worth. I have to do “something” besides sleep and cry all day. I’ve had odd jobs like cooking, baby sitting and being a personal assistant and it makes me feel so good to help others. I also don’t want to be a statistic. I am black but West Indian/Caribbean descent, I am not a criminal, ghetto or lazy like how most people think from someone from the “hood” or being black in general. Being on SSI is like being on welfare and I hate it. I say this because they are telling me basically I should be on foodstamps instead of working and making a few pennies a week for food, I need Masshealth instead of getting a health plan with coverage I need and that I need section 8 and so on. You know I really don’t want other government “help”. I’m so tired and fed up! I have goals that aren’t met because of all the doors slammed in my face. Right now I feel so worthless and hopeless. I need to figure out a way to get off this SSI curse. I might just go ahead and follow my dreams and hope I get the help I need on my own because SSI will be the death of me. My comment asks even if you really do need help like I do. I genuinely suffer from several of which is mentioned in this blog. Do you really want it from SSI?

  2. Pingback: Auto Immune Complications: Can I Qualify for Disability with Lupus? | Natural Health

  3. An excellent post, fully informative – & great you added a link. I’m sorry it’s the US though!
    I know that depression has affected my working life, I know it. Yet, to “prove” it…. so impossible.
    I don’t think Australia has anything like this. Sounds very respectful of the reality for some people.
    Really great post.

    • so much of the time, Americans talk trash about our health care and government systems. But when I hear a comment like this, it makes me appreciate what we’ve got. I wish I could help you! thanks for sharing, hugs 🙂

  4. Thanks for the post, but SSA is a nightmare! It kills me when I see/hear of people abusing it because of those of us who need it and worked for it who can’t get it. I thought I’d lived through hell and back already until I got sucked in to the disability circus. It’s so bad lately that my thoughts are even more radical than usual. I wrote about it here:
    Good luck to any of you who need SSI and don’t have the resources to fight years for it.

  5. Pingback: Auto Immune Complications: Can I Qualify for Disability with Lupus? | ambw temp

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