How Severe Does My Depression Have to be to Get SSD?

Millions of Americans suffer from depression, which includes symptoms like fatigue, anxiety, and hopelessness. If you are living with depression so intense that you can’t hold down a job, you may be wondering if you are eligible for Security Disability (SSD) benefits.

There are hundreds of conditions that qualify for disability benefits, and depression is one of them. The key is that your symptoms must be severe enough to prevent you from working for at least one year. If this applies to you, you may qualify for benefits that can sustain you financially until your situation improves.

Blue Book Listing for Depression

Depression has a variety of symptoms, and almost all of them are debilitating. They include but may not be limited to a depressed mood, decreased appetite, and inability to sleep, concentrate, or even understand basic instructions.

In order for your claim for disability benefits to be approved, you will need to show that your depression prevents you from working. You can do this by meeting the requirements in the Social Security Administration (SSA) Blue Book listing for depression. According to this listing, you are eligible for benefits if you have at least five of the symptoms below:

  • Feeling depressed
  • A decrease in interest in almost all activities
  • Appetite changes that result in weight change
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Problems thinking or concentrating
  • Feelings of guilt or worthlessness
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Slowed physical movements and reactions or increased physical agitation

In addition, you need to provide documentation showing an extreme limitation in one of the categories below or a marked limitation in two of them:

  • The ability to understand, remember or apply information
  • Interacting with others
  • Concentrating, sticking with, or maintaining pace when performing tasks
  • Taking care of oneself (for example, cooking, cleaning, paying bills, and maintaining personal hygiene)

When reviewing your application, the SSA will consider evidence such as medical reports and statements from a psychologist, former bosses or co-workers, family members, social workers, or anyone else who can vouch for your inability to work due to depression.

How Severe Does My Depression Have to be to Get SSD?

Applying for Disability Benefits with Depression

Even when you qualify for disability benefits, it’s important to note that two-thirds of initial applications are denied. Common reasons include errors or missing information in the application or lack of sufficient medical information to show disability.

When you work with an attorney, they can help you understand the medical requirements of SSA’s designated conditions, confirm that you are indeed eligible, and complete an application that has the best chance of getting the benefits you need.

How Depression May Affect You and Your Family

Living with a disability can be hard for you and your family. Not only does the financial strain create excessive stress, but you can suffer mentally and emotionally and be unable to do the most basic tasks without help or engage in activities that once brought you joy.

If depression has left you unable to earn the income your family needs to survive and thrive, SSD benefits can meet this urgent need until your situation improves.

Next Steps

When your depression is so debilitating that you can’t work, disability benefits can help you meet your necessary living expenses. While getting approved can be challenging, working with an attorney can maximize your chances of getting the benefits you need, so fill out a free case evaluation today.

Additional Resources