The Social Security Administration (SSA) considers a number of conditions to be severe enough to prevent you from working. Regardless of the condition, all are subject to evaluation and must meet certain criteria to qualify for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits.

Though most of the conditions listed by the SSA as disabling are permanent or expected to result in death, those that are not require evidence showing that the condition has lasted or is expected to last for at least one year.

Depression is considered an affective disorder and is characterized by a disturbance of mood, as well as a full or partial manic or depressive syndrome. “Mood” refers to a prolonged emotion that colors your whole psychic life. If feelings of intense helplessness, sadness, or hopelessness last for months at a time and keep you from normal daily life, it may be a treatable medical condition.

Depression That Qualifies for SSD Benefits

Depression is considered a disabling condition by the SSA and may qualify you for either SSD or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits dependent on the condition and your age. As depression is considered a mental disorder, it is classified with other conditions that are caused by depression.

According to the SSA, the required level of severity for affective disorders is met when the requirements in both A and B are satisfied, or when the requirements in C are satisfied.

    1. Medically documented persistence, either continuous or intermittent, of one of the following:
      • Depressive syndrome characterized by at least four of the following:
        • Anhedonia or pervasive loss of interest in almost all activities
        • Appetite disturbance with change in weight
        • Sleep disturbance
        • Psychomotor agitation or retardation
        • Decreased energy
        • Feelings of guilt or worthlessness
        • Difficulty concentrating or thinking
        • Thoughts of suicide
        • Hallucinations, delusions, or paranoid thinking
      • Manic syndrome characterized by at least three of the following:
        • Hyperactivity
        • Pressure of speech
        • Flight of ideas
        • Inflated self-esteem
        • Decreased need for sleep
        • Easy distractibility
        • Involvement in activities that have a high probability of painful consequences
        • Hallucinations, delusions, or paranoid thinking
      • Bipolar syndrome with a history of episodic periods manifested by the full symptomatic picture of both manic and depressive syndromes


    1. Resulting in at least two of the following:
      • Marked restriction of activities of daily living
      • Marked difficulties in maintaining social functioning
      • Marked difficulties in maintaining concentration, persistence, or pace
      • Repeated episodes of decompensation, each of extended duration


  1. Medically documented history of a chronic affective disorder of at least two years’ duration that has caused more than a minimal limitation of ability to do basic work activities, with symptoms or signs currently treated by medication or psychosocial support, and one of the following:
    • Repeated episodes of decompensation, each of extended duration
    • A residual disease process that has resulted in such marginal adjustment that even a minimal increase in mental demands or change in the environment would be predicted to cause the individual to decompensate
    • Current history of one or more years’ inability to function outside a highly supportive living arrangement, with an indication of continued need for such an arrangement

Our Social Security Disability Lawyers Want to Help

If you have moderate to severe depression, you know how difficult it can be to get out of bed in the morning, let alone perform well at work. Many people with depression end up losing their jobs due to their illnesses, and that means they lose the paychecks their families depend on each week.

At Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin, it’s our goal to help you get benefits for your depression, so you can get on the road to recovery. There’s no upfront fees for our services. To contact our Social Security Disability lawyers, simply dial (800) 477-7315 today.

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