Home » Is Depression A Disability? Getting Disability for Depression - Is Depression A Disability?

Is Depression A Disability?

  • Home
  • /
  • Is Depression A Disability?

According to the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), yes. The ADA qualifies depression and other mental impairments as disabilities. Thus, employees can request accommodations at work if they have these conditions. Anxiety and depression are two of the most common mental illnesses, and they can even lead to permanent disability.

Depression can be a lifelong disability issue for many people throughout the world. It is among the most common medical conditions for which the Social Security Administration (SSA) receives applications. Depression disability is also one of the more commonly ignored issues in our society.

Types of Depression

Social Security bases its disability listings on the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). And according to the most recent edition of the DSM, there are three different types of depression. The symptoms may vary depending on a variety of factors.

If a low mood continues for several weeks or longer, it can be a point of concern. Feeling low, hopeless, inefficient, fatigued, and weak, consistently for many days can be a sign of major depressive disorder (MDD). MDD is the most common form of depression. It represents a biochemical imbalance in the brain and is also known as clinical depression or severe depression. Following are the three main types of depression:

  • Major Depressive Disorder
  • Dysthymia
  • Bipolar Disorder (formerly known as manic depression)

In case your disorder has long-term side effects, you may be able to claim disability for depression. However, you must experience severe symptoms of one or more types of depression.

Major Depressive Disorder

Major depressive disorder is also known as Clinical Depression In the DSM. Major depression is diagnosed on the basis of symptoms, including:

  • Lack of sleep
  • Lost interest in any daily activity
  • Lack of concentration
  • Fatigue and apathy
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt 
  • Irritability
  • Constant sadness for an unknown reason

Can you get disability for depressionIndividuals with depression might not take part in social activities. They may remain in isolation and seem unreactive to things happening around them. However, someone can be depressed without it being evident to others.

If someone you know is behaving in this manner, please do not avoid the situation. Try to talk to them about how they are feeling or obtain professional help if possible. Untreated depression can lead to worsening symptoms or even suicide.

Depression can be considered mild, moderate, or severe. Each individual case of depression should be diagnosed by a healthcare professional. Usually, people who receive disability benefits for depression have severe depression with potentially dangerous symptoms.


Dysthymia is also known by the terms “dysthymic disorder” and “chronic low-level depression.” This type of depression may have outward symptoms, just like major depressive disorder. However, they are less severe.

Bipolar Disorder

Individuals with depression will have multiple periods of mania and depression. They may feel extremely low or extremely high. Some of the common symptoms include the following:

  • Inflated sense of self-esteem
  • Extreme talkativeness
  • Irritability
  • Lack of sleep
  • Increased participation in drugs, alcohol, or other risky behavior

Manic episodes range in length and frequency. Manic states can potentially lead to psychotic episodes like delusions and hallucinations. Some patients with bipolar disorder may require hospitalization. 

Various kinds of psychotherapy and medications can treat patients with bipolar disorder. The correct combination of treatments plays a crucial role in the management of the disorder. 

Depression can lead to or co-occur with many other conditions. People with depression may also experience Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), arthritis, Type 2 diabetes, and other health problems.

Can You Get Disability For Depression?

Depression is a mental condition that can impact your thoughts, emotions, weight, energy levels, sleeping habits, mood, and overall functioning. If your depression is interfering with your ability to work, you may be able to receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI).

Details of depression disability benefits are in the Blue Book’s impairment listing 12.04,. The Social Security Administration (SSA) details various serious illnesses that worsen due to prolonged depression. If you meet those criteria, getting SSDI or SSI for depression will be easier.

Having at least five of the symptoms listed at the beginning of this article is mandatory to qualify for Social Security disability for depression. Slowing down physical movement and reactions is a prominent sign of disability due to depression. Many people have issues with their speech and show increased physical agitation such as pacing, or hand wringing.

Medical Vocational Allowance for Depression

If you are unable to meet the listing specified in the Blue Book of the Social Security Administration (SSA), medical-vocational allowance may be able to help you. To qualify, you first need to download the Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) form on the SSA website.  

The form will be filled out by your doctor who will provide detailed information about your impairment. They will also specify your limitations at home and at work. 

The SSA will investigate thoroughly to analyze what, if any, work you are capable of performing. If they determine that you’re unable to do any job, your chances of getting aid will increase.

VA Disability for Depression

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), nearly 350 million people experience depression across the globe. Nearly 16 million adults in America experienced one major depressive episode in the year 2012. 

Veterans are a group that commonly experience the condition. To seek VA disability for depression, however, you should be aware of how ratings are provided.

Depression VA Ratings Depressive Disorder Rating Criteria
100% Total social and occupational impairment. Displaying symptoms such as impairment in thought process, hallucinations, inability to perform daily life activities, memory loss, and more.
70% Deficiency in social and occupational impairment. Symptoms experienced are suicidal thoughts, illogical or irrelevant speech, difficulty in adapting to new situations, and more.
50% Reduced reliability and productivity in social and occupational impairment. Some of the signs are panic attacks, short-term and long-term memory loss, abstract thinking, and more.
30% Decrease in work efficiency in social and occupational impairment. Depressed mood, anxiety, sleep impairment, and mild memory loss are some of the exhibited symptoms.
10% Mild social and occupational impairment. Symptoms can be controlled with medication.
0% The beginning of the problem; symptoms are not at all severe. Little to no interference in social and occupational areas.

What Benefits Can You Claim For Depression?

Someone who has depression disability may be able to qualify for SSDI or SSI aid. The eligibility for SSDI is determined based on credits gathered throughout employment. Whereas, SSI is generally for people at a low income level. 

For all disability cases, the SSA will examine medical records to know your medical history and to see to the extent which your disability is affecting you. Every aspect will be judged carefully so that those in need get sufficient aid to handle the difficult conditions that the disability causes them.

Depression and disability Benefits significantly depend on the severity of the symptoms, the form of depression from which the applicant is suffering, the treatments they received or are receiving, and many other factors.

If you have any doubts about disability for depression, you can get in touch with a disability attorney. They can assess the likelihood of your possible eligibility to receive monetary aid. If your symptoms match the terms in the listings, you can begin with the application process.