can i get ssi for depression

Mariah Brown

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Mariah Brown

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can i get ssi for depression

Are you wondering, “Can I get SSI for depression?” If you’re struggling with depression and it’s affecting your ability to work and earn a living, you may be eligible for Social Security disability benefits. At times, understanding the eligibility criteria and application process can be overwhelming, but don’t worry — I’m here to help simplify it for you. As someone with experience in navigating the process of obtaining SSI benefits for depression, I understand the challenges you may be facing. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into the details of how depression is considered a disability and the steps you can take to file a successful claim.

Depression – Condition and Symptoms

Depression is a mental health condition that affects millions of individuals worldwide. It is characterized by persistent feelings of sadness, loss of interest or pleasure in daily activities, changes in appetite or weight, difficulty sleeping or excessive sleep, lack of energy, feelings of worthlessness or guilt, difficulty concentrating, and even thoughts of death or suicide. While it is normal to experience occasional sadness or to feel “down,” depression differs in its intensity and duration. It can significantly impact different aspects of a person’s life, including their ability to work and function on a daily basis.

Depression can manifest differently in each person. Some individuals may experience mild to moderate symptoms and continue working, while others may face more severe symptoms that make it impossible for them to maintain employment. If depression is hindering your ability to work and earn a living, it’s important to understand the potential options available to you.

Is Depression A Disability?

Yes, depression is recognized as a disability according to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Social Security Administration (SSA). The ADA is a federal law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities, including mental health conditions like depression. The SSA, on the other hand, administers two separate disability programs — Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). If your depression is severe enough to prevent you from working, you may be eligible for either SSDI or SSI benefits.

It’s important to note that not all individuals diagnosed with depression will qualify for disability benefits automatically. The severity of your condition and its impact on your ability to engage in substantial gainful activity (SGA) will be assessed.

Can You Get Disability For Depression?

To qualify for Social Security disability benefits, you must meet the criteria outlined in the Blue Book, which is the SSA’s official listing of impairments. The Blue Book has specific criteria for evaluating mental disorders, including depression. The listing for depression requires medical documentation stating that you have five of the following symptoms: depressed mood, diminished interest in nearly all activities, appetite disturbance with a change in weight, sleep disturbance, psychomotor agitation or retardation, decreased energy, feelings of guilt or worthlessness, difficulty concentrating or thinking, and thoughts of suicide.

Additionally, your symptoms must result in at least two of the following limitations: marked restriction of activities of daily living, marked difficulties in maintaining social functioning, marked difficulties in maintaining concentration, persistence, or pace, or repeated episodes of decompensation.

It’s important to gather supporting medical evidence to demonstrate the severity and impact of your depression on your ability to work. This evidence can come from various healthcare providers who have been involved in your treatment, including psychiatrists, therapists, and primary care physicians. Medical documentation, such as treatment records, progress notes, and laboratory results, can provide a comprehensive overview of your condition.

Filing for Social Security Disability with a Diagnosis of Depression

The process of filing for Social Security disability benefits with a diagnosis of depression can be complex, but being well-informed can greatly increase your chances of success. Here are some important steps to follow:

  1. Consult with a healthcare professional: Schedule an appointment with a qualified healthcare professional, such as a psychiatrist, who can diagnose and provide the necessary documentation regarding your depression.
  2. Build a strong medical record: Collect all medical records related to your depression, including diagnoses, treatment plans, medications, therapy sessions, and any hospitalizations.
  3. Complete an RFC form: Request your healthcare provider to fill out a Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) form. This form provides a detailed assessment of your abilities and limitations related to your depression, helping the SSA evaluate your eligibility for benefits.
  4. Submit your application: Complete and submit your application for Social Security disability benefits online, by phone, or in-person. Ensure you provide all the necessary information and supporting documents to strengthen your claim.
  5. Follow up and cooperate: Cooperate with the SSA throughout the evaluation process. Respond to any requests for additional information promptly and attend any requested medical examinations.

Your Depression Disability Case

When building your depression disability case, it’s crucial to emphasize the severity and impact of your symptoms on your ability to work. In addition to the medical evidence, it can also be beneficial to include statements from colleagues, friends, or family members who can attest to the changes they have observed in your behavior and functionality due to depression.

Remember to keep seeking appropriate medical treatment and adhere to treatment plans. Continued documentation of your treatment and its outcomes will further support the severity of your condition.

Social Security Disability Benefits Table Breakdown

Benefit Program Eligibility Requirements Medical Documentation
SSDI Have sufficient work credits, meet the Blue Book listing for depression, and be unable to engage in substantial gainful activity (SGA). Medical records, treatment plans, RFC form, and other supporting evidence.
SSI Meet the financial requirements, have limited income and resources, meet the Blue Book listing for depression, and be unable to engage in substantial gainful activity (SGA). Medical records, treatment plans, RFC form, and other supporting evidence.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Can I get SSI benefits for depression?

A: Yes, you may be eligible for SSI benefits if your depression is severe enough to prevent you from working and you meet the financial requirements of the program.

Q: How long does it take to get approved for SSI for depression?

A: The processing time for an SSI claim can vary. It typically takes several months to receive a decision. However, expedited processing may be available for certain individuals with dire need or severe impairments.

Q: What evidence is needed to support a claim for SSI for depression?

A: To support your claim, you should provide medical records, treatment plans, progress notes, therapy records, psychiatric evaluations, and an RFC form completed by your healthcare provider.

Q: Can I work while applying for SSI for depression?

A: If you’re applying for SSI benefits due to depression, you can work as long as your earnings and employment hours do not exceed the Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) limit set by the SSA.

Q: Can I appeal if my claim for SSI benefits for depression gets denied?

A: Yes, if your claim gets denied, you have the right to appeal the decision. It’s important to review the denial notice thoroughly and submit an appeal within the given timeframe.

Q: What happens after I submit my SSI application for depression?

A: After submitting your SSI application, the SSA will review it for completeness and gather necessary medical evidence. They may also schedule you for a consultative examination if additional evaluation is required.

Q: Can a lawyer help with my SSI for depression claim?

A: Hiring an experienced disability lawyer who specializes in Social Security disability claims can greatly enhance your chances of success. They can guide you through the process, gather supporting evidence, and represent you throughout the appeals process if necessary.

Q: Can I receive SSI benefits for depression if I’ve never worked?

A: While SSDI benefits require sufficient work credits, SSI benefits are based on financial need. If you meet the financial requirements and the Blue Book criteria for depression, you may be eligible even if you have not worked.

Q: Are children eligible for SSI benefits for depression?

A: Yes, children with depression may be eligible for SSI benefits if they meet the SSA’s criteria for severe impairment and the financial requirements.

Q: What if I have other medical conditions in addition to depression?

A: If you have multiple medical conditions, it’s important to provide medical evidence and documentation for each condition to demonstrate the overall impact on your ability to work.

Q: Can I work part-time and still get SSI benefits for depression?

A: If your earnings and employment hours are below the Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) limit, you may still qualify for SSI benefits. However, your income and resources will be considered as part of the eligibility determination.


Navigating the process of obtaining SSI benefits for depression can be challenging, but understanding the intricacies of the system is crucial to maximize your chances of success. Remember to gather strong medical evidence, including treatment records, an RFC form, and any relevant supporting documentation. Adhering to treatment plans and seeking ongoing care will further strengthen your case. If your SSI claim for depression gets denied, don’t lose hope. You have the right to appeal, and hiring an experienced disability lawyer can help guide you through the appeals process. Stay informed, seek support, and persist in your pursuit of the benefits you deserve.

External Links and Sources:
• Social Security Administration:
• Americans with Disabilities Act:

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