Can You Collect Social Security Disability Benefits for Depression?

July 27, 2017

The Social Security Administration (SSA) has a list of disabilities, which it officially recognizes and for which it provides benefits to people who have said disabilities. Depression is included on the SSA’s list of disabilities, but in order to get disability benefits due to depression applicants must meet some or all of the SSA’s criteria or satisfy its assessors.

What is depression?

Depression is a mood disorder associated with pessimism, unhappiness, hopelessness, feelings of unworthiness, tiredness, and the like. There are a wide variety of subtypes of depression, which the SSA may recognize. However, the three primary subtypes of depression are:

  • Major clinical depression
  • Persistent depressive disorder (Dysthymia)
  • Bipolar disorder

Depression also has a variety of causes, but broadly speaking depression often results from family genetics and environmental influences.

How does depression disable a person?

Many people experience temporary depression due to death, divorce, and/or other emotional pain. Fortunately, that kind of depression often is not permanent and may leave as quickly as it arrived. However, serious and persistent depression blocks a person’s ability to deal with changes, even minor ones, in everyday activities, such as work and play.

Chronic depression may manifest with over or under-eating, chronic fatigue, the inability to make decisions, and pervasive feelings of hopelessness. Feeling of frustration, anger or sadness, brought on unexpectedly or by matters which normally do no elicit such a reaction, may also indicate a person has depression. Many people with depression admit to feeling “worthless,” and others experience frequent, recurring thoughts about death or suicide.

How can a person with depression get social security disability benefits?

In order to get disability benefits for depression, a person with depression must prove that he or she has depressed moods, decreased interest in any activity, decreased movement and reaction, and/or increased irritability. Even if the person exhibits some of the signs we discussed, he or she also must prove he or she has trouble:

  • Thinking
  • Focusing
  • Comprehending, recalling, and using information
  • Behaving properly in social settings
  • Doing tasks
  • Using practical skills, such as making payments, cooking, and grooming himself or herself

Even if you’re unable to prove any of that because of your living arrangement, therapy, and/or other factors that help manage your depression, you still may get Social Security Disability benefits. You must prove you have the proper documentation and/or some ability to adapt to changes not part of your routine or environment. If you are unable to provide any of the proof, the SSA still may grant you disability benefits after assessing your ability to follow basic instructions, make job-based decisions, react to supervision and colleagues properly, and adjust to changes in routine.

If you and/or a loved one are having trouble getting disability benefits around Philadelphia, contact the Philadelphia Social Security Disability attorneys at Larry Pitt & Associates, or call us at 888-PITT-LAW. We are proud servants of our clients in Berks, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia Counties.