Oct 5

Does Depression Qualify for Social Security Disability Benefits?


depression and SSDDepression does not discriminate. It hits people of all ages which explains why this mental health disorder continues to be the leading cause of disability for people between the ages of 15 and 44, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. When is depression so severe that it qualifies a sufferer to social security disability benefits?

The Social Security Administration defines “Depressive, bipolar and related disorders” as disorders characterized by “an irritable, depressed, elevated, or expansive mood, or by a loss of interest or pleasure in all or almost all activities, causing a clinically significant decline in functioning. Symptoms and signs may include, but are not limited to, feelings of hopelessness or guilt, suicidal ideation, a clinically significant change in body weight or appetite, sleep disturbances, an increase or decrease in energy, psychomotor abnormalities, disturbed concentration, pressured speech, grandiosity, reduced impulse control, sadness, euphoria, and social withdrawal.”

According to the Social Security Administration, in order to qualify for social security disability benefits for a depressive disorder, there must be medical documentation of five or more of the following:

  • Depressed mood;
  • Diminished 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.

In addition, the applicant must prove that their depression results in extreme limitation of one, or marked limitation of two, of the following areas of mental functioning:

  • Understand, remember, or apply information.
  • Interact with others.
  • Concentrate, persist, or maintain pace.
  • Adapt or manage oneself.


Your depressive disorder is “serious and persistent” – you have a medically documented history of the existence of the disorder over a period of at least 2 years, and there is evidence of both:

  • Medical treatment, mental health therapy, psychosocial support(s), or a highly structured setting(s) that is ongoing and that diminishes the symptoms and signs of your mental disorder; and
  • Marginal adjustment — you have minimal capacity to adapt to changes in your environment or to demands that are not already part of your daily life.

Depression can be disabling. It is important that if you are struggling with a depressive order that you get the treatment you need for you and your family. If despite treatment, you cannot return to the work force because of your depression, contact my team to discuss whether you may qualify for social security disability benefits.


Does depression qualify you for SSDAttorneys Matthew Noyes and Lorrie Robinson help those fighting for their social security disability benefits. They are the authors of two books pertaining to qualifying for social security disability benefits. Attorney Matthew Noyes is a named partner at the Tampa Bay law firm of Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes, P.A. For a free consultation about you qualifying for social security disability benefits, call us at 727-796-8282 or simply click here to schedule a free consultation.

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