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If you have depression, you need to know if you qualify for SSD benefits. If you have been off work for over 12 months or you think you will be, then should you apply for SSD and SSI benefits? Depression is a common mental ailment that most people suffer at some time during their lives.  Most depression is situational. That means the symptoms come about because of trauma or stress.  But, it is ongoing and keeps you from working, then file for benefits.

For example, if you spouse passes away, you may experience symptoms such as sadness, memory loss, and crying spells. These are all symptoms of depression and are a normal response to the death of a spouse.  With time, these symptoms abate for most people, and they are able to return to their normal emotional state.

It is when the symptoms of depression become a chronic, daily occurrence that interferes with the ability to perform activities of daily living, such as working, going to the store, and interacting with family and friends, that it becomes known as Major Depressive Disorder.

In order to win benefits from the Social Security Administration for depression, you must not be able to work due to your depressive symptoms.  For example, everyone experiences trouble with sleeping a few times a year, but if you cannot sleep night after night and you pace the house worrying about things you cannot control, that could be a symptom of severe depression or anxiety.


The SSA has divided depression into two elements. The first element lists the symptoms of depression.  The second element requires the severity of the symptoms to prevent you from working.  In order to be found disabling, depression must interfere with activities of daily living. It must also interfere with the ability to persist and finish tasks, like the laundry or cooking. You must also have problems with concentration and being around other people.  Millions of people have depression symptoms, but they still go to work.

However, if you have these symptoms and you are not able to work, you may qualify for benefits. Sure signs of depression are avoiding others and failing to keep appointments. You also know you have depression if you can’t take care of yourself or you are unable to eat or sleep.  Disability benefits also come with Medicare or Medicaid. These two programs provide you with the health insurance you need to get treatment.  Call our office or contact our law office and ask us now whether or not you qualify for SSDI and SSI benefits.

Millions of people suffer from depression, yet still manage to go to work and function in their daily lives.  Many people are found to have depression or Bipolar Disorder, but their symptoms are controlled with medication. Therefore, they are able to work.  When depressive symptoms become so severe you cannot work or function in daily life, then you should apply for Social Security Disability or Supplemental Security Income benefits.


In order to know if you qualify for benefits, you should know SSA’s definition of disability. The SSA defines depression by the severity of your symptoms. As such, if your symptoms are constant and impact working life, then you may meet SSA’s rules. The rules are below.

The SSA divides the symptoms of depression into three categories.  First, after a diagnosis of depression or Bipolar Disorder, the SSA looks at your medical records to determine if you have the symptoms listed below. Even if you have most of these symptoms, it is the severity that counts.

For example, you may have trouble concentrating. You need to show how that impacts your ability to work. Therefore, you could have a past employer write a letter about how you couldn’t follow instructions. Also, you could have your counselor confirm the problem in writing.

12.04 Depressive, bipolar and related disorders, satisfied by A and B, or A and C:


  1. Medical documentation of the requirements of paragraph 1 or 2:
    1. Depressive disorder, characterized by five or more of the following:
      1. Depressed mood;
      2. Diminished interest in almost all activities;
      3. Appetite disturbance with change in weight;
      4. Sleep disturbance;
      5. Observable psychomotor agitation or retardation;
      6. Decreased energy;
      7. Feelings of guilt or worthlessness;
      8. Difficulty concentrating or thinking; or
      9. Thoughts of death or suicide.
    2. Bipolar disorder, characterized by three or more of the following:
      1. Pressured speech;
      2. Flight of ideas;
      3. Inflated self-esteem;
      4. Decreased need for sleep;
      5. Distractibility;
      6. Involvement in activities that have a high probability of painful consequences that are not recognized; or
      7. Increase in goal directed activity or psychomotor agitation.

Next, the SSA determines how the symptoms of depression impact you in your ability to function in the workplace and in your daily activities by looking at the Part B and Part C criteria, which are listed below.



  1. Extreme limitation of one, or marked limitation of two, of the following areas of mental functioning (see 12.00F):
    1. Understand, remember, or apply information.
    2. Interact with others.
    3. Concentrate, persist, or maintain pace.
    4. Adapt or manage oneself .



  1. Your mental disorder in this listing category is “serious and persistent;” that is, you have a medically documented history of the existence of the disorder over a period of at least 2 years, and there is evidence of both:
    1. Medical treatment, mental health therapy, psychosocial supports, or a highly structured settings that is ongoing and that diminishes the symptoms and signs of your mental disorder; and

2.   Marginal adjustment, that is, you have minimal capacity to adapt to changes in your environment or to demands that are not already part of your daily life.



The Part B elements, which are about your symptoms, needs to be included in your treatment records. Treatment records are written by your psychologist or doctor. Your doctor must write about how severe your symptoms are. This is also true of proving the Part C rules for a Judge. You will need records that show treatment for two years. Likewise, during the five step SSA review process you will need to provide records for DDS.

If you are only being treated with medication, then it is important to find a counselor to treat you and support your claim. The SSA considers a doctor to be the best source of evidence about depression.  However, they also consider medical evidence from nurse practitioners and counselors. Having an ongoing relationship with your doctor, nurse, and counselor will help you win your case.

The SSA may send you to see a psychologist. This is a doctor the SSA hires. The exam is done at no cost to you. However, a mental health exam may not given as much weight by the Judge as evidence from your treating source. Your treating doctor sees you on a weekly or monthly basis. Therefore, they know more about your depression. If you do not have insurance or money to see a treating source, then we have a list of free and low cost health services.

Remember, without medical evidence, you will not be able to win your claim for SSD benefits. If you have any questions about whether your depression qualifies you for benefits, then contact us. The best thing you can do to help yourself through the process, is to obtain ongoing mental health treatment. Likewise, the next best think you can do is to hire an attorney to win your case.


At our law firm, we have 30 years of experience. During those 30 years, we have won over $100 million in SSD and SSI benefits for our clients. Don’t go to court without a Social Security attorney, because the SSA judge is not on your side.

For example, the judge may call a medical expert. The medical expert is there is testify as to whether your depression meets the 12.04 listing. Also, the judge may call a vocational expert to testify in court. The VE is a person who has gone to school to learn about jobs. Usually, the VE also has experience placing people in different kinds of jobs in the economy.

With experts in court, you need a legal team that is on your side. Your lawyer can question the experts that the judge calls to court. Also, your SSD attorney will prepare you to testify on your own behalf at your hearing. If you don’t have an attorney who has done to court before the SSA, then they don’t have the experience you need. We have won over 20,000 SSD cases in the last 30 years. Our goal is to help you win the SSD benefits you deserve.


We offer a free review of your case. Also, we represent clients from all over the western United States. Additionally, we represent clients in Utah and offer information about Utah SSD benefitsNevada SSDI and SSI information is also available. Likewise, so is information about California SSD benefits. We can help you file your application for benefits at Social Security’s website. No matter where you file your application for benefits, we can help. We also represent clients in Idaho, Colorado and Arizona.

Hire an attorney without worrying about whether you can pay attorney fees. At our law firm, we do not change an attorney fee until you win benefits. Our attorney fees are 25% of the back benefit with a cap of $7200. You pay which ever amount is less. $7200 is the most any attorney can charge in SSD cases. However, most cases do not cost $7200, because in most cases the 25% fee is less than the cap.

You will pay upon winning benefits. For example, if your past due benefits are $10,000, the attorney fee would be $2500. We do not charge an attorney fee out of your future benefits. And, if we do not win your benefits, you do not owe any attorney fee.

Therefore, hiring us to help you creates no financial risk for you. When we win benefits, the attorney fee comes from your past due benefits. If we don’t win, then you don’t pay an attorney fee. Hire the best Social Security legal team near you. Contact Cannon Disability Law today. Choose us to be your Social Security legal team.

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