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Can You Get Disability Benefits for Depression

  • Publish Date : 2011/02/18 - (Rev. 2015/11/18)
  • Author : Disability Group, Inc.


When filing for Disability benefits for Major Depression you must understand what information the Social Security Administration considers.

Main Document

About 19 million Americans live with major Depression. Major depression can be debilitating and require medication, therapy, and treatment.

For many, depression affects the ability to function and prevents people from holding a steady job. When filing for Disability benefits for Major Depression, you must understand what information the Social Security Administration considers. (For more detailed information visit: www.ssa.gov)

What Social Security is looking for

Depression Must be Severe: Unlike physical impairments that can be proven with blood tests and x-rays, mental impairments are largely based on patient's complaints to mental health doctors. To prove depression, one should:

  • See a mental health professional regularly
  • Obtain and keep records of office visits
  • Don't miss appointments or leave gaps in medical records
  • Comply with treatment!

Lack of treatment suggests that the person is able to manage the depression and that it is not severe. Do not contribute to impairment by avoiding care.

Records Must Show Symptoms:

Records must be consistent and show that 4 of the following symptoms have continued to exist despite treatment:

  • Anhedonia or pervasive loss of interest in almost all activities;
  • Appetite disturbance with change in weight;
  • Sleep disturbance;
  • Psychomotor agitation or retardation
  • Decreased energy, feelings of guilt or worthlessness;
  • Difficulty concentrating or thinking
  • Thoughts of suicide, or hallucinations
  • Delusions or paranoid thinking

Symptoms Must Persist At Least 12 Months: Valid claims for depression must show symptoms have lasted or will last at least 12 months


The effect that depression has on a person's ability to function is crucial! Applicants must show that the depression is affecting daily function and that they are not contributing to the disability.

  • Sustain sobriety from drugs and alcohol at least 6 months prior to applying for disability
  • Visit doctor regularly and obtain a supportive statement
  • Take proscribed medication and comply with treatment

Proving disability with mental impairments is often more difficult than physical disabilities. Consult an attorney for more information.

About Disability Group, Inc:

Disability Group, Incorporated is a national law firm representing disabled clients in obtaining benefits under U.S. Social Security Laws. Disability Group, Inc. is currently the largest Social Security Disability Law Firm in the U.S., handling cases nationwide. The mission of Disability Group Inc., is to secure benefits for disabled Americans in an environment of dignity and respect. In 2009, the firm was nominated on the prestigious Inc 500 list as one of the fastest growing privately owned companies in America.

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