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Disability for Mental

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Working and Disability

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Disability Conditions List

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SSDRC Disability Blog

Is it hard to qualify for Social Security benefits if you have depression?

Social Security law and regulations state that all impairments are evaluated equally whether they are mental impairments, such as depression, or physical impairments. However, the Social Security disability handbook makes it difficult to receive an approval for most mental impairments at the initial claim or reconsideration levels.

Many disability claims based upon depression will be have be appealed to the administrative law judge hearing level, because an Administrative Law Judge is not strictly bound by the criteria in the social security administration's blue book, titled “Disability Evaluation Under Social Security”.

That is not to say that if your mental health history includes multiple suicide attempts or hospital stays that you will not be approved at the disability application level, or at the reconsideration level. In fact, many individuals with depression problems have severe functional limitions. They are unable to get up in the mornings, have crying spells, or do not like to be around other people in social and work settings.

Unfortunately, very often Social Security disability claims examiners and physicians do not look at the symptoms and realize that these symptoms can dramatically affect an individual's ability to sustain work.

Additionally, Social Security does not address the special nature of many mental illnesses in that most forms of mental illness will allow an individual to work for short periods of time, however they cannot sustain their work activity over long periods and lose their jobs.

Additional information:

Are SSI and Social Security Disability Requirements Tougher For Mental Claims?

Can I Qualify For Disability and Receive Benefits based on Depression?

Return to:  Social Security Disability Resource Center, or read answers to Questions

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
Major Depressive Disorder (Depression) and Filing for Disability
How long does it take to get SSI Disability Benefits?
How long does it take to hear from SSI?

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