Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits have helped many California residents who are unable to work due to a disability.
When you think of a disability, you might automatically think of a physical disability. However, the American Psychiatric Association considers depression a psychiatric disability and you could qualify for SSD if your depression prevents you from working.
A formal diagnosis
Because there are sometimes no physical symptoms or outward signs of depression, knowing if your depression is enough to qualify you for SSD can be difficult.
Having a diagnosis of clinical depression from your doctor can help. Clinical depression is typically defined as having various symptoms such as persistent sadness, anxiety, hopelessness or sleeping problems on most days for at least two weeks.
Resistance to treatment
Your depression is also more likely to be considered a disability if you are resistant to treatment.
Applying for SSD benefits with a diagnosis of depression, but no evidence that you have tried to treat it could result in a denial of benefits.
The Social Security Administration (SSA) is probably going to want to see that you have tried to get help for your depression and have been unsuccessful.
Proving your case
The key thing to remember is that your depression must completely prevent you from working. Perhaps medication could hep and allow you to work, but you won’t know that until you try.
Alternatively, if you have tried medication or other types of treatments, such as counseling or therapy, and none of the treatments have worked, this strengthens your argument that your depression prevents you from working.
When you apply for SSD for your depression, be prepared to provide evidence of your doctor’s clinical depression diagnosis, as well as documentation showing why treatments will not work.
Seek advice before you apply
Giving full and accurate information about your diagnosis can increase your chance of receiving SSD benefits for your depression.
You can always appeal a denial of benefits if you believe an error was made, but that can take time. It is best to talk with an attorney experienced with SSD before you apply.