For many injuries and illnesses, you can clearly tell if they are debilitating or not, but depression is a bit more complicated. 

Depression is far too common. In fact, an approximate 16 million adults in the United States have had major depressive episodes. For some, depression can be so severe that it keeps them from going to school, working or even seeing their friends or family. In cases like these, it seems clear that disability benefits should be granted, but unfortunately, proving that depression actually keeps you from working isn’t always easy.

What the SSA is looking for.

To meet the SSA’s requirements, you must be able to show medical documentation of your depression symptoms, which may include:

  • Anhedonia, which is a persistent loss of interest in your day to day activities.
  • Sleep disturbance.
  • Loss of energy.
  • Feelings of guilt or worthlessness.
  • Suicidal ideation.
  • Delusions, paranoia or hallucinations.
  • Weight loss or gain due to disturbances in appetite.
  • Psychomotor agitation, which is purposeless, unintentional movement.
  • Retardation, which is an inability to physically perform with day to day activities.

Unfortunately, it isn’t enough to simply describe your symptoms, you have to provide documentation that shows that you have these symptoms and that they have lasted for at least a year. If you can get medical records from a mental health professional, preferably a psychologist or a psychiatrist, you will have the best chance at getting your benefits.

Want to learn more about applying for disability when you have depression? If so, stay tuned for our disability attorney’s next blog.