Social Security Disability Resource Center

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How do you apply for disability if you have depression?

The Social Security disability application process is the same no matter what your disabling condition is. If your depression problems have kept you from performing substantial gainful work activity for twelve months or you expect to be unable to work for at least twelve months due to the symptoms of your depression, you should contact Social Security for an appointment to file for disability.

Currently, you can file an application for disability benefits by phone, in person at your local Social Security office, or in some cases online (at this point in time you can only file for Social Security disability online not SSI).

If you chose to file your disability claim by phone or in person at your local Social Security office, your claim will be taken by a claims representative. This is true for disability claims filed online as well.

If you want to file for SSI, you will have to speak with a claims representative. Since many claims are concurrent (meaning they involve both SSI and Social Security Disability), it does make sense to skip the online process and file your claim by phone or in person.

The Disability Interview

During your disability interview, a claims representative will ask you questions about your medical treatment sources (i.e. physicians, psychologists, psychiatrists, hospitals, or any other medical professional who has treated you for your depression), the medications you are currently taking along with any side effects, and any medical testing you have had.

Preparing for the disability interview

You should come to your appointment prepared to give your doctor’s names, addresses, phone numbers, and your treatment dates.

In addition to medical information, the claims representative will ask questions about your previous fifteen years of work. You do not have to remember the names of all your places of employment but you do need to know the types of work you did, what you were paid, and how many hours you worked.

Social Security has to develop work information because it is part of the disability evaluation process. To be approved for disability, you must have a severe condition that not only prevents your return to any of your past work but precludes any other work performed in the national economy (other work evaluations involve your age, education, your functional limitations and the transferability of your work skills).

If you have problems with your memory, write your medical and work information on a piece of paper or on the green disability information sheet provided by Social Security to help you prepare for your disability interview (sometimes they do not get this to you so list them on paper if necessary).

If you are filing for SSI disability, you should come prepared to answer questions about your income and resources. The SSI disability program requires the same medical information and work information along with your financial information. Income for the purposes of your SSI disability application might include wages, pensions, rental income, investment income, short and long term disability benefits, workman’s compensation, or any other kind of income.

If you meet the income limits for SSI, you still have one other hurdle to get over to be eligible for this needs based disability program. You have to meet the SSI resource limit. SSI disability allows you to exclude your most valuable vehicle and your home and the land it sits on. If you own any other vehicles or land not connected to the land your house sits, on it will be counted toward the SSI resource (asset) limit.

Additionally, other resources such as bank accounts, stocks, bonds, 401k plans, burial plots, inheritances, heir land, or any other resource that can be easily converted to cash, are counted toward the resource limit as well.

Currently, Social Security allows individuals to have two thousand dollars in resources, while couples are allowed three thousand dollars in resources.

The claims representative uses all of this information to evaluate your eligibility for Social Security and SSI disability, and to complete all necessary disability report forms so that your disability claim can be sent for a disability decision.

If you meet the eligibility requirements of both disability programs, your disability claim will be sent for a concurrent decision (meaning they make a decision for both SSDI and SSI disability at the same time). If not, your disability claim will be sent as a SSDI-only or SSI-only only disability claim to a state disability agency for a medical decision.

Additional information:

Should I List My Past Depression Medications on My Social Security Disability or SSI Application?

  • Index of Social Security Disability SSI Questions and Answers

  • 56 Answers to Social Security Disability SSI Questions

  • SSDRC Homepage:

    Social Security Disability and SSI Resource Center

    The Most Basic questions about Getting Disability Benefits

    Social Security Disability and SSI Back Pay Benefits

    Social Security Disability SSI and whether or not you can work

    How long does it take for Social Security Disability or SSI?

    Social Security Disability SSI Awards and Award Notices

    Tips, Mistakes, How to Qualify, and How to Win Disability

    Tips and Advice for Social Security Disability and SSI Claims

    Common Mistakes to avoid after being denied for Disability

    Disability Qualifications and How to Qualify for Disability Benefits

    Winning Social Security Disability or SSI, How to Win

    Denials, Appeals, and Getting a Disability Lawyer or Representative

    What you should know about Social Security Disability and SSI Denials

    Social Security Disability and SSI Appeal Process - How to file appeals

    Questions about Disability Lawyers and Hiring a Disability Attorney

    Various Types of Benefits including SSI, Mental, and Child benefits

    SSI Disability Benefits, Questions and Answers

    Social Security and SSI based on Mental Disability

    Social Security Disability or SSI Benefits for Children

    Disability Benefits through Social Security

    Information to start with regarding Disability Claims

    An Overview of Social Security Disability and SSI

    What is considered a Disabling condition by Social Security?

    The Disability Requirements to be eligible for SSD and SSI Benefits

    Filing for Social Security Disability or SSI Benefits

    Social Security Disability and SSI Applications

    Social Security Disability SSI List of Conditions and Impairments

    Social Security Disability SSI: Medical Evidence and Records

    Filing your claim for disability benefits

    Eligibility for receiving disability benefits

    Resources on this site

    Social Security Disability, SSI Terms and Definitions

    Previously answered questions regarding SSD and SSI

    The SSDRC Disability Blog

    For Individuals living in North Carolina

    Disability in North Carolina

    North Carolina Disability Lawyer

    Getting disability in North Carolina

    Related pages:

    Medical Documentation when you apply for disability with depression
    Can I Qualify For Disability and Receive Benefits based on Depression?
    Should I List My Past Depression Medications on My Social Security Disability or SSI Application?
    How do you apply for disability if you have depression?
    Is it hard to qualify for Social Security benefits if you have depression?
    Can disability be awarded for depression for a time until I am fully recovered?
    Depression, Social Security Disability, and Applying for Benefits
    Dysthymia and Filing for Disability
    How long does it take to hear from SSI?
    Major Depressive Disorder (Depression) and Filing for Disability
    How long will it take to receive my Social Security Award letter and back pay?
    What conditions will qualify for disability in Missouri?
    How much can you get for disability in Missouri?
    Disability requirements and criteria in Missouri

    Information on the following topics can be found here: Social Security Disability Questions and in these subsections:

    Frequently asked questions about getting Denied for Disability Benefits | FAQ on Disability Claim Representation | Info about Social Security Disability Approvals and Being Approved | FAQ on Social Security Disability SSI decisions | The SSD SSI Decision Process and what gets taken into consideration | Disability hearings before Judges | Medical exams for disability claims | Applying for Disability in various states | Selecting and hiring Disability Lawyers | Applying for Disability in North Carolina | Recent articles and answers to questions about SSD and SSI

    These pages answer some of the most basic questions for individuals who are considering filing a claim.

    Filing for disability - How to file for SSD or SSI and the Information that is needed by Social Security
    How to Apply for Disability - What medical conditions can you apply and qualify for?
    Applying for Disability - How long does it take to get Social Security Disability or SSI benefits?
    What happens if I file a disability application and it is denied by a disability examiner or Judge?
    How to Prove you are disabled and qualify to win disability benefits
    How do you prove your disability case if you have a mental condition or impairment?
    Social Security Disability Back pay and How Long it Takes to Qualify for it and receive it
    Social Security Disability SSI - Eligibility Requirements and Qualifications Criteria