Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, clinical depression is recognized as a disability. For the purposes of Social Security Disability benefits, however, individuals may only qualify for benefits when they meet certain standards regarding the severity of the condition.
Depression falls under Part A of the Social Security Blue Book listings. It can be found in category 12.00 Mental Disorders – Adult under subsection 12.04. This part of the chapter discusses depressive, bipolar and related disorders that have at least five of the following symptoms:
- Diminished interest in activities
- Sleep disturbances
- Decreased energy
- Thoughts of death or suicide
- Trouble thinking or concentrating
- Feelings of worthlessness
- Observable psychomotor agitation or retardation
- Depressed mood
- Appetite disturbances with changes in weight
In addition, you must have an extreme limitation (or marked limitation) of two of the following:
- The ability to adapt or manage yourself
- Being able to interact with others
- The ability to persist, maintain pace or concentrate
- The ability to remember, apply or understand information.
If these don’t apply to you but your depression falls into the category of serious and persistent, then it may still be covered. To be severe and persistent, you will need to show evidence of at least two years of mental health therapy or some type in a structured setting. Additionally, you should how that you have a minimal capacity to adapt to changes or demands that are not always a part of your daily life.
Should you apply for SSD if you don’t think you meet the requirements?
Yes, but it’s a good idea to get support when you fill out the paperwork. Even if you don’t meet the specific requirements, you may be able to show a combination of conditions or factors that will qualify you for benefits. If you cannot work or are unable to work regularly as a result of a disability or persistent condition, it’s worth looking into qualifying for Social Security Disability benefits.