Applying For Disability with Depression Over Age 50

Depression can be a debilitating and disabling medical condition. If you have been diagnosed with depression, and the symptoms make it impossible for you to work, you may qualify for disability benefits. When you are applying for disability benefits over age 50, the Social Security Administration (SSA) may use some additional factors to determine if you qualify for disability.

Grid Rules and Qualifying Disability with Depression Over 50

The Social Security Administration may need to use Grid rules to see if you qualify for disability benefits. When it comes to depression and disability benefits, not everyone will meet the requirements in the SSA’s Blue Book. If you are one of these individuals—meaning you do not meet the Blue Book’s requirements and you have a Residual Functional Capacity (RFC)—the SSA will use Grid rules to determine your eligibility.

Grid rules take into account your age, your work history, and your education as well as your physical limitations as described in the RFC. The SSA will look at your age, your skills, your education level, and your past work to see if they can find any work that you can do. Part of the reasoning behind SSA’s use of Grid rules revolves around determining whether you can do sedentary, light, or medium activity work. If you cannot do any type of work, then your application will likely be approved.

Medical Requirements for Depression and Disability Benefits

The SSA’s Blue Book does have a listing for Depression. So, in order to qualify for disability benefits with depression, you must meet the requirements of the Blue Book listing for depression. The requirements of this listing state that you need to have at least 5 of the following symptoms:

  • depressed mood
  • decreased interest in almost all activities
  • appetite disturbance (overeating or poor appetite) resulting in a change in weight
  • sleep disturbance (oversleeping or insomnia)
  • difficulty thinking or concentrating
  • feelings of guilt or worthlessness
  • thoughts of death or suicide, and/or
  • a slowing of physical movement and reactions, including speech, or increased physical agitation, such as pacing or hand wringing.

You also need to have an extreme or severe limitation in at least one of these areas of functioning:

  • understanding, remembering, or applying information
  • interacting with others
  • concentrating, persisting, or maintaining pace in performing tasks, and/or
  • adapting or managing oneself.

How to Apply for Disability Benefits Depression Over 50

When you are applying for disability over age 50, you will have to show that you have enough work credits to qualify for benefits. Work credits are earned each year that you work and are based on your income. You can earn up to four work credits per year. So, if you are applying for disability over age 50 you would need at least 20 credits to qualify. But if you have been working for a large portion of your life, you should almost certainly have enough work credits to qualify.

Get Help with Your Depression Disability Claim

Proving that you are unable to work because of depression can be a challenge. As such, talking to an experienced disability attorney can help you get the benefits you need. This is because an experienced attorney can guide you through the disability benefits application process and advise you what evidence you need to submit to the SSA that proves you cannot work.

Complete the form on this page to get connected with an independent, participating attorney who subscribes to our website and can provide you with a Free Case Evaluation today.

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