Can you get disability for depression? • Benefits and How to apply

In the United States of America, according to general statistics, more than 16.1 million American adults suffer from depression, which would be 6,7% of the country’s population in a given year.

At some point in our lives, we have experienced moments or situations that make us feel sad or hopeless, but that does not mean we suffer from depression or a mental disorder.

Medical depression is a serious mental health condition that must be treated clinically and cannot be taken for granted. However, to get disability for depression, a person must fulfill specific criteria set by the Social Security Administration (SSA).

What is a disability?

The term disability refers to a specific medical condition that makes it impossible for you to complete your assignments.

Also, the Social Security Administration (SSA) explains that a disease will be considered as a “disability if it is expected to last at least one year or result in death. This requisite is very important; otherwise, your claim would be denied.

Disability definition according to the SSA

But, if you have a condition that does not comply with these criteria, this article can help you: How to apply for short term disability

What are the benefits of disability for depression?

Almost all employees in the country pay Social Security Taxes if they eventually need Social Security benefits.

Consequently, the SSA pays a monthly stipend to citizens who have been selected to obtain disability benefits. This amount should be enough to fulfill their financial and medical needs, since they are incapable of working optimally.

In case you are considering to apply, some members of your family may get benefits because of your disability, such as:

  • Spouse, age 62 or older.
  • Unmarried child, adopted child, or, in some cases, a stepchild or grandchild.
  • Unmarried child, age 18 or older, if he or she has a disability that started before age 22.

To get further information about this topic, you can read this document about Disability Benefits, specifically on page 10.

Main document of Disability Benefits

How to get disability benefits for depression?

If you are suffering from medical depression, that does not mean you will have disability benefits automatically. You will have to apply for it with the SSA.

Something you have to consider when applying is that the more convincing your medical history is, the more likely the request will be approved.

These are some of the things you should consider when organizing the paperwork:

  • The severity of your symptoms.
  • The effectiveness of treatment options.
  • Your medical evidence.
  • Your age.
  • Your educational level.
  • Your previous works.

The SSA does an extensive and rigorous evaluation process to determine if you are qualified to get the disability benefits. During the process, you will have to demonstrate that you genuinely suffer from a medical depression and that you are incapable of working because of it.

How to apply?

There are two ways to apply to get disability for depression:

  1. Go to the SSA official website and apply online. This application is only available in English; if you want to complete it in another language, you may need to schedule an appointment.
  2. You could make an appointment to file a disability claim at your local Social Security office by calling this number: 1-800-772-1213. You can also set up an appointment for someone to deliver the application for you.

Once you applied, the SSA will send you a “Disability Starter Kit,” a document to prepare yourself for the interview that lasts about one hour.

Disability Starter Kit

How does the Social Security Administration decide?

There are five particular things the SSA consider to obtain disability benefits:

Your work

Basically, you can work or start working and still receive disability benefits. However, the amount can change depending on your monthly earnings.

To get more information about this, read page 4 of this booklet: Working While Disabled: How We Can Help.

The severity of the condition

Your medical condition has to be significantly severe and limit you to do your assignments at work (but remember, it has to be expected to last at least one year).

Listing of Impairments

The SSA has created a “list” with the severe medical conditions qualified to obtain the social benefits; depression is under listing 12.04.

Each case is different from another; that is why you must collect your medical records with all the valuable information about your case. It is essential that you demonstrate you are suffering a severe mental condition; otherwise, your claim will be denied.

Your past work

In this part of the procedure, the agency staff verifies if your mental condition does not allow you to perform any of your previous work.

If you can do it, you will not get the benefits.

Other work

The agency staff verifies if you are capable of doing any other type of work (different from the one you have) despite the mental condition. If you cannot do it, you might get the benefits.

Final decision

In case your application is approved, they will send you a letter with the amount of your monthly benefit and the effective date.

And if it was denied, you can start and appeal process if you disagree with the decision.